Coke-Zero 400 Preview
This Saturday night is the Coke-Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway, which means the return of restrictor plates, and the return of the two-car draft. Whether the drivers or fans like it, the two-car draft is here to stay. The days of the big packs are gone. Drivers need to find a partner and stick with that partner if they want to be up front at the end of the 140 laps on Saturday night. So let's take a look at some drivers to keep an eye on late Saturday night.
Kevin Harvick: Harvick has won twice at Daytona. He won the 2007 Daytona 500, and is the defending champion of this race as well. Harvick also won at Talladega in April 2010 and finished in the top 10 at Talladega this past April. He blew an engine early in this year's Daytona 500, but I still would expect Harvick to be up front at the end of this race on Saturday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: We all know that Earnhardt hasn't won in a race in over three years. We also know that Dale hates the two-car draft. He clearly prefers the old pack racing at Daytona and Talladega. But, he did push his teammate Jimmie Johnson to the win at Talladega this past April and has made it clear that his teammate owes him one. Dale won this race ten years ago in his first visit to Daytona after his father died on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. He knows how to get it done here, and it doesn't matter what style of drafting is employed.
Trevor Bayne: Bayne may be a rookie, but he holds the best average finish of any driver at Daytona. That is because he has only started one race at Daytona, but he won it. Trevor won this years Daytona 500 to become the youngest winner of the Daytona 500. Bayne quickly mastered the two-car draft in the Gatorade Duel qualifying races before the 500 when he worked with Jeff Gordon. He used what he learned that day to win the 500. In his first return to Daytona since, Trevor will look to run up front again.
Kurt Busch: Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Shootout and his Gatorade Duel qualifying race this past February at Daytona. He just won last week's race at Infineon Raceway so he carries a lot of momentum with him into Saturday night's race. He also enjoys running the two-car draft. Kurt Busch will definitely be very strong on Saturday night.
My Pick: My pick to win Saturday night's race is Kevin Harvick. He always runs strong at Daytona and Talladega and he enjoys running the two-car draft. The man they call "Happy" should be very happy on Saturday night when he pulls into Victory Lane at Daytona.