2023 NASCAR Preview: Week 1 – DAYTONA 500


The green flag is about to drop on a brand new NASCAR season, just one week removed from the Super Bowl and the end of the NFL season. XFL kicked off yesterday, and today the engines fire for Race #1 — the DAYTONA 500 — of the Cup Series.

Here’s what to look for:

-Another year, another Pole for Alex Bowman. I feel like I’m typing about this guy every year…because I am! He’s got a wicked streak going, putting his car on the front row year after year after year..you get the picture. For all five years of his career with Hendrick Motorsports, he’s started 1st or 2nd for the DAYTONA 500. He’s yet to finish there (best of 7th), and brough the #48 home in 24th last February. He’ll be joined this year by Kyle Larson (started 1st last year) with teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron a little further back.

Austin Cindric took the checkers last year in a bit of a surprise…but was it a total surprise? Penske has been pretty formidable here, Joey Logano won the Championship and Ryan Blaney seems to always be up there towards the end of the 500. They’ve already shown what magic they can make together earlier this week, Joey Logano won his Duel race to ensure his 3rd place starting position.

-More Fords screaming up the track, Aric Almirola won his Duel, too, with Kevin Harvick in his final season, Chase Briscoe looking very strong, and Ryan Preece returning to the Cup Series and the #41 (driving by Cole Custer in ’22). Look for these two groups to do great things together.

-Joe Gibbs Racing is led by Denny Hamlin (multi-time DAYTONA 500 winner), Martin Truex Jr. (zero-time DAYTONA 500 winner), Christopher Bell, and Ty Gibbs (replacing Kyle Busch’s #18 with his own #54). There aren’t a ton of Toyotas in the field this year, but these guys are the cream of the crop.

-And then we’ve got the longshots. Jimmie Johnson has won the race twice, and returns as a part-owner of the newly named Legacy Motor Club (née Petty GMS Racing). He’ll be driving the #84 and has teammates Noah Gragson in the #42 and Erik Jones in the awesome Guns ‘n Roses #43. It is definitely tough to move up this field without any friends, and Jimmie Johnson has his employees here to help him out. Could we see something similar with Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher? Travis Pastrana joins Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace (who has finished 2nd twice in this race) and anything can happen in this race. We’ve laid out a lot of names here, but chances are your winner is somewhere on this page.

NASCAR food is BACK, and we’ve got a southern FL dessert headed your way:

Key Lime Pie! Lisa hasn’t had Key Lime Pie, I THINK I’ve had it before but I don’t even know for sure! Might I be mixing it up with Lemon Meringue? Who the heck knows! Safe to say that I’ve had some after taking a nosh here and…yum! Perfect blend of sweet and tart, definitely in the vein of the meringue but dare I say better? My gal sure knows her way around the kitchen, and she’s proven herself once more. She’s amazing. Great job, Leese!

The season starts with the green flag soon, coverage on FOX starts at 2:30pm.

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