Daytona 500 predictions

Rachel Coleman

Taylor Swift in Jimmy Johnsons NASCAR car

The Taylor Swift of NASCAR

I know, I’m a weirdo. Yes, I understand that NASCAR races consist of cars driving in circles for hundreds of miles. I really, really love NASCAR and can’t wait for the season
to kick off on February 20th. So sue me!

The Daytona 500, or “The Great American Race” as it’s called, is my favorite sporting event of the year. By February, race fans have suffered for more than two months without a single Sprint Cup race, and we are just itching to hear some “Boogity boogity boogity” come out of Darrel Waltrip’s sweet lips. The Daytona 500 comes just two weeks after the Super Bowl, and though many may disagree, is pretty much better than the Super Bowl in every way.

FACT: The competitors in the Daytona 500 are moving at a speed about 180 miles faster than the competitors in the Super Bowl.

FACT: In the Super Bowl there is pretty much no chance that anything will explode. In the Daytona 500 car crashes are pretty much guaranteed and the chance is high that something will catch on fire.

FACT: No one competing in the Daytona 500 is a probable rapist.

Now both the Bud Shoot Out (I prefer Bud and a shot, am I right???) and qualifying for Daytona are behind us, so we can finally start making radical predictions about the race. Strangely enough, Dale Earnhardt Jr, the Black Eyed Peas of auto racing (in that he’s strangely popular despite lack of real racing talent), has captured the pole for Daytona. Junior hasn’t won at Daytona since 2001 and didn’t win a single race in 2010, so I’d say his chances of winning are pretty slim… though last year he started second and finished second, so who knows, maybe this will be the year that his fans are allowed to get super crazy.

On the other end of the spectrum, none of the top three finishers in the Chase last year qualified in the top ten. Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick will be starting the Daytona 500 in fifteenth, fourty-fourth, and fourteenth respectively. Reigning five time champion Jimmie Johnson, who is the Taylor Swift of autoracing (unoffensive and extremely sucessful), hasn’t had the best luck at Daytona in the past few years. Last year he started third and finished thirty-five, so maybe starting a little farther back in the pack will treat him well. Denny Hamlin has never won at Daytona, but after his stellar performance in last year’s Chase he’s definitely one to watch. Kevin Harvick performs well at Daytona and should not be counted out at all.

Now on to what’s really important: my favorite drivers. My main man Kyle Busch, the Kanye West of autoracing (in that he’s kind of a jerk but he rules), may have qualified thirtieth, but let’s be honest, he never lets that stop him. If there’s one thing Kyle is good at it’s working his way up from the back of the pack to contend for the win, but there’s also a good chance he’ll end up getting too carried away and wrecking.

Another favorite, Burger King spokesperson Tony Stewart hasn’t finished very well at Daytona on his last few outings, but was seen surging at the end of 2010’s season as Stewart-Haas racing starts to firmly get on it’s feet. Tony Stewart is kind of like Jack White (pretty indie but really rich).

Prediction for the Top Five: 1. Kyle Busch (18 Car) 2. Kevin Harvick (29 Car) 3. Jeff Gordon (24 Car) 4. Tony Stewart (14 Car) 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88 Car)

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