The start to the 2018 Daytona Speedweeks began last weekend with the 40th annual Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona (3 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The race was won by Brad Keselowski while his Team Penske teammate of Joey Logano came home second.
But, when you sit back and look at the upcoming few weekends, we always take stock in who the winners are in the Cup races during Speedweeks as a whole. If the past holds true though, it could be another big Speedweeks out of the Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske camps.
While most would point to Fords as being the ones to beat, rightfully so too, with Ford drivers winning the Clash, the Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last year, to go along with victories in both Talladega races too, but JGR (Toyota) and Hendrick (Chevrolet) always have something to say each Speedweeks themselves.
To me, these are once again going to be the top three organizations to beat.
If you go back to 2005, Penske, JGR and Hendrick have combined to win 39 of the 55 Daytona Speedweeks races over the last 12 years. That’s 69-percent of them.
In the Clash, JGR has won six times since ’05, with Penske three victories and Hendrick reaching victory lane twice.
In the Duels, they’ve combined to win 21 of the 28 races since 2005. Hendrick and Penske won the two twins on Thursday night too.
In the Daytona 500 itself, the trio of teams have won seven of the 13 in that same time period, including four of the last five years.
But, if you go to even more recent numbers, since 2011 in the Clash, the three organizations have won seven of the eight races. As far as the Duels go, JGR, Penske and Hendrick have combined to win every race since 2014. Kevin Harvick with Richard Childress Racing was the last non JGR, Penske or Hendrick driver to win a duel and he did so in the first duel in 2013. Kyle Busch in his No. 18 Toyota with JGR won the second duel to give them an 11 race winning streak heading into 2019 now.
Furthermore proof, if you use 2013 as the base and go for stats for all the Cup Speedweeks races from then on, Hendrick, JGR and Penske have combined to win 20 of the 22 Speedweeks races. JGR, has nine wins (5 Duels, 3 Clash, 1 Daytona 500), Hendrick has seven wins (5 Duels, 2 Daytona 500’s, 0 Clash) and Penske four (1 Daytona 500, 2 Clash, 1 Duels). The only other drivers to win was Kevin Harvick twice (Clash 2013, Duels 2013) with Richard Childress Racing and Kurt Busch’s 2017 Daytona 500 triumph just last year with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Coincidentally enough, both drive for SHR now and SHR is with Ford.
Other than that, would you take a bet on another organization to win any of the three major Daytona Speedweeks events left?
Numbers say that if you choose among the 11 combined drivers with those three organizations, you have a safe bet to win some money and look very smart. After all, they’re a perfect three-for-three during Speedweeks in 2018.
Superspeedway racing is so unpredictable, but one thing that is becoming predictable and has been for over a decade is that JGR, Hendrick or Penske cars are going to be strong during Daytona Speedweeks.