DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – It should come to no surprise, but the Ford camp is dominating the 2018 Daytona Speedweeks thus far. After three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, they’ve won two of them.
In fact, Ford drivers finished 1-2-3-4 in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona last Sunday. Then, in the first Duel on Thursday night, they were 1-2 and had four drivers finish inside the top five. In the second Duel, they saw four more cars finish in the top eight.
That leaves six Ford drivers with top 11 starting spots for Sunday’s 60th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). To me, they’re the ones to beat.
The race will be run during the daytime hours and temperatures will soar into the low 80s. That will make the 2.5-mile high banked track hot and slick. So far, the Ford powered cars have had the most stability under them, as well as the most speed. It’s a combination that could be a winning one.
Rightfully so too. Ford has won the last seven restrictor plate points paying races. They’re the superior manufacturer at Daytona and Talladega.
Team Penske Flying High
If a Ford team is going to win, look no further than the Team Penske camp. Brad Keselowski won the Clash last Sunday with Joey Logano finishing right behind in second. In fact, throw in Ryan Blaney in there, and they had 1-2-3 for most of the season opening Speedweeks race. Blaney, would finish fourth in the end.
In the Duels, all three were found in the first twin 60 lap race. They’d run 1-2-3 again for most of the way, but Keselowski and Jamie McMurray had an incident on the backstretch with three laps left in regulation.
Blaney, would win though and Logano finishing second.
That leaves Blaney with fourth and first place finishes respectively and Logano a runner-up in each race. If not for a crash, Keselowski would have two top fives himself.
They’re the ones to beat.
Keselowski, has won three of the last eight plate races and has seven of his 25 career Cup wins on them.
They combined to win all but two laps in their duel and could dominate the ‘500.
Stewart-Haas Racing Repeat?
Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500 last year and is flying under the radar this season. He will start 11th on Sunday and has a car to win. Kevin Harvick has also been quick and will roll off sixth on Sunday himself. What about Clint Bowyer? He will start 10th.
Aric Almirola will have a backup car but he’s always good in plate races.
Don’t sleep on SHR and their Ford power either.