DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Now that most of the preliminary stuff is behind us, the full focus for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is on the 60th annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The big storyline leading up to the season opener at the Daytona International Speedway is how the race itself will be run. Right now, no one really knows.
It’s a big question mark.
One thing that we do know, is that the Ford camp will be strong. They’ve been the class of the field during Speedweeks and look the most stable out of the three manufacturers. Also, Ford has won seven straight points paying plate races, to make them the clear favorites in Sunday’s race.
One thing I’m looking at though is a solid sleeper team – Front Row Motorsports.
Sporting News has odds out and the FRM duo of David Ragan and Michael McDowell aren’t even listed as the top 26 drivers. To me, that could be a mistake. I think Ragan will be a very good play this weekend.
Counting Thursday night’s Duels, Ragan has four straight top 10 finishes on restrictor plate tracks and five in his last six starts on them. Among those four consecutive top 10 finishes was a sixth place run in last July’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Furthermore, both of Ragan’s Cup wins were on restrictor plate tracks, including FRM’s only career Cup win at Talladega in 2013.
He’s always a threat at Daytona and his 15th place starting spot makes him one again.
Also, you can’t count out his teammate McDowell. He too is normally strong on plate tracks. He finished fourth at Daytona last July and 15th in the last two Daytona 500’s. With a strong Ford with FRM, I think he can compete in his No. 34 Ford this weekend.
If you want a strong sleeper pick, look no further than these two.