Brad Keselowski already has a Daytona win. That puts Logano at the front of the pack. He had driven the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports his first two full seasons in NASCAR's top series. Hopefully we can make it another one here on Sunday. Don't discount the guy in the No. 78 Toyota, however. Keselowski finished 16th, McMurray placed ninth.
Elliott won the duel a year ago, but he wasn't able to capture the win that matters the most during the week of racing in Daytona. The Penske Fords in particular (Keselowski, Logano, and Blaney) look especially strong when working together.
Bowman will race Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway in one of the two qualifying events that sets the remainder of the field. He'll start third on the grid Sunday, and has the vehicle and the skills to be there at the end.
Bowman's debut as the new driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet got off to a strong start when he won the pole for the Daytona 500. Bowman will need a little help - and plenty of luck - but he proved in qualifying that he has what it takes to tame Daytona. "I would love to have it there more throughout the season".
The race results were encouraging for the sport in general.
Thompson completed only eight of 200 laps in a race at Pocono (at a spry 40) and finished 25 laps in his Cup return past year at Talladega. Experience counts for something in "The Great American Race", and Kahne has that in abundance.
Thompson, thin, fit and looking younger than his years, failed in his attempts to qualify for the 1993 and 1994 Daytona 500. It's unlikely, but he's at least worth a look given his pedigree and knowledge of the track.
Elliott is 22 and one of NASCAR's budding stars. Danica Patrick has announced she will be retiring after competing at Daytona and Indianapolis. His realistic goal is to finish the race in the Ford he got from Richard Petty Motorsports and to stay out of the way of the leaders. He was 76 for the 2011 Truck Series race at Pocono. He'll go off from the second-last spot on the grid.
Can-Am Duel 1 results will set all odd-number starting positions (the inside lane), while Duel 2 decides the even-number positions (the outside lane) for the 60 annual Daytona 500 on February 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX). A 2-time victor at both Daytona and Talladega, McMurray's number 1 McDonald's Camaro is one of the fastest Chevrolets at Daytona. He also has 3 top 5 finishes at Talladega, so Menard is a very underrated plate racer.
Kurt Busch is the defending Daytona 500 champion, but the odds of a repeat are firmly against him if past history is an indication. But it was a good race back to the line. Busch is +1,200 to repeat.
Perhaps that marquee, splashy win occurs Sunday. Hamlin was the last to do it in 2016.
His only previous start in the Daytona 500 was in 2014 when he finished 23rd as a rookie. Harvick would team with the other Ford drivers late in the race to make a charge for the lead.
-He's the oldest pole victor for any Daytona race. Points. In 2012, Keselowski won the series championship with five victories.
Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola found trouble early in the qualifying race after left-rear tire trouble for Johnson triggered a three-car melee on Lap 13, leaving heavy damage on the No. 48 and No. 10.
Owning the pole position at Daytona has not necessarily been conducive to success in the race. "We're starting up front and that's where we want to end it".