Last week we got the 2021 NASCAR season under way with a stunning underdog victory by Michael McDowell. He was someone we’ve had our eye on at Daytona for years, but when the flames and the smoke cleared it was him out front on the final lap, followed by Chase Elliott. Huge win for the Arizona native, his first career victory, and that has already punched his ticket to the postseason. By virtue of the Qualifying procedure, @Mc_Driver will start 2nd, road course favorite Chase Elliott will start 1st.
Here’s what to look for:
–Chase has been on a tear with these road courses lately. I say “lately,” but it has gone a few seasons. Watkins Glen, the Roval, the Daytona Road Course last year. Doesn’t matter. And we’ve got a schedule PACKED with them this year. This is actually a “bonus” road course of sorts as we were supposed to be in California for a race this year, but that has been replaced by this one because of COVID protocol. In any event, he’s the favorite..and starting 1st.
-You know, Michael McDowell could have ANOTHER great performance today! He has proven now that he has what it takes to perform at Daytona completely, and he isn’t a slouch on these road courses either. Quietly lurking, always, McDowell has a tendency to hang in the Top 10 on road course races. Watch for him today.
–Denny Hamlin ran runner-up last year, and he was a favorite at the 500 last week. He didn’t win, no, but he’ll be a contender again today. Hamlin has been in the news a lot for starting the 23XI team with Michael Jordan, a ride piloted by Bubba Wallace. He’s now a teamowner — as well as driving for another team — and appearing in some commercials, too. “Hey Hamlin; I like your PJ’s!”
–Martin Truex Jr. has combined with Elliott to win 8 of the last 9 road course races (Ryan Blaney is the outlier), and finished 3rd at this one in 2020. And he started 3rd, too. Today, he isn’t starting 3rd. He didn’t have the Clash or 500 that he wanted, but today could be different.
–Chris Buescher might be someone that not a lot of people have circled for today, but would you believe he finished 5th in this race last year? True story! He’ll have some work to do as far as digging out goes, but he started 21st in the 2020 one. Can Buescher rise to the top in this one again? Let’s find out!
Alright, and back to last year’s tradition, we’ve got some raceday food! Back in Daytona again, this week’s serving is:
Hooters wings! The first Hooters was in Clearwater, FL, and we’ve got some delicious wings with breading and sauces from Skip’s Meat Market here in Rochester. My gal Lisa has served ’em up today — what a beaut. Order up!
Coverage of the race starts on FOX at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:20pm.