Predicting the Daytona 500 Results Based on Team Sponsors
The Daytona 500 lineup is locked in, following the completion of a convoluted process that involved combining the pole winner, qualifying times, and owner points. But why stop there? If all things were equal, we used a vague grasp of financial knowledge and a healthy dose of subjectivity to figure out which will win, based solely on their sponsors, from tiny resorts and waterbed makers to international conglomerates and the makers of your favorite fast foods. May the best brand win.
43. Kyle Larson, Target
It's been a rough few months for Target. They fired 475 employees in January, and during the holiday season, 110 million customers had their credit card info stolen by a 17-year-old Russian hacker. Hopefully Larson's pit crew is better at securing his lug nuts.
42. Brian Vickers, Aaron's Dream Machine
The lease-to-own retailer had its profit fall by 30% in 2013, and suffered through an embarrassing episode in which hundreds of customer-rented computers allegedly were infected with spyware. Those programs reportedly secretly recorded passwords, keystrokes, and social security numbers -- as well taking webcam photos of nude children and couples having sex -- and sent that information in 185,000 emails to the company's servers. Comforting.
41. Landon Cassill, Carsforsale.com
Buying a car online seems like risky business, but we have no axe to grind with Carsforsale. That said, they stepped up to sponsor Cassill less than three days before the race, which doesn't exactly scream "power!"
40. Justin Allgaier, Brandt
This sponsorship would've been a lot cooler if it was the German chocolate maker as opposed to a farming technology group.
39. Parker Kligerman, LendingTree
This online lending company's slogan, "When banks compete, you win," which in no way will help Kligerman hoist the checkered flag.
38. Bobby Labonte, Phoenix Construction
Never heard of 'em, though they get lots of credit for lending mobile homes to victims of Hurricane Sandy on Long Island.
37. Terry Labonte, C&J Energy Services
This company is a premium provider of hydraulic fracturing and coi...zzzz...
36. Kurt Busch, Haas Automation
Did we wake you? If you need to get back to sleep, try this: Haas is the leading maker of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools. Night night!
35. Martin Truex, Jr., Furniture Row
This furnishing company owns Bedroom Expressions, which sells Big Sur Waterbeds, "The name you have come to trust for your waterbed needs."
34. Brian Scott, Shore Lodge
This Idaho resort owns a NASCAR team. What's your excuse?
33. Michael Waltrip, PEAK BlueDEF/AAA
The first brand makes diesel exhaust fluid. If you can name the second, you probably watch too much NASCAR.
32. David Gilliland, Love's Travel Stops
With over 300 truck stops and convenience stores around the country, you very well may have purchased Corn Nuts from this corporation.
31. Trevor Bayne, AdvoCare
This nutrition and supplement business was founded by the late Charles Ragus, who briefly played defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs in the '60s. Also, Drew Brees is their national spokesman. Good for them.
30. Paul Menard, Menards
No, it's not just a funny coincidence. Menard's dad owns Menards, the country's third largest home improvement company, which is a little like James Dolan's kid starting at point guard for the Knicks.
29. Kasey Kahne, Farmers Insurance
Not a farmer? Not a problem. This insurance company has a lot of services, and is sponsoring a new football stadium in Los Angeles with the hope of a hosting an NFL team someday.
28. Josh Wise, Curb Records
The record label for Leann Rimes, Hank Williams Jr., the Judds, Neil Sedaka, and more! Yes the Neil Sedeka.
27. Aric Almirola, Smithfield Foods
The largest pork producer and processor in the U.S. = Bacon!
26. Brad Keselowski, Miller Lite/Würth/Alliance Truck Parts
To be fair, truck parts and a German company that specializes in screws are way more interesting after a few Miller Lites.
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Zest/Nationwide
Smell good and be insured by the company that brought hockey to Columbus, Ohio and has a great reputation for workplace equality.
24. Reed Sorenson, Golden Corral
What's more American than a restaurant that lets you fill up a container with whatever food items you want and then pay by the pound to take it to-go? Also voted by Extra Mustard as the most likely company to sponsor a NASCAR team.
23. Kyle Busch, Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries
Even if you prefer a different car battery, you can't mess with M&Ms, especially the peanut butter ones.
22. Michael Annett, Pilot Flying J/Accell Construction
Pilot Flying J has 550+ truck stops around the country, making it more likely that you purchased Corn Nuts there.
21. Cole Whitt, Speed Stick
A fine deodorant but when it comes to Daytona, it won't help your speed or your pits.
20. Clint Bowyer, 5-hour Energy
Stay awake long enough watch the entire race!
19. David Ragan, Taco Bell/Farm Rich/CSX
Only one car can represent thousands of miles of American railroad, plenty of bags of frozen appetizers, and some of the cheapest tacos you'll ever ingest.
18. Danica Patrick, Go Daddy
Moving on from spots with scantily clad ladies, the website domain corp has grown up with a series of ads starring Jean Claude Van Damme.
17. Jimmie Johnson, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
Behind Home Depot, ahead of Menards, with stocks selling at 47.06, a share, up 20.24% from a year ago. Kobalt is the house tool brand.
16. Alex Bowman, Dr. Pepper
23 flavors or get the hell off the track.
15. Austin Dillon, Dow/Cheerios
Dow Chemical's stock sits at 47.23, while Cheerios maker General Mills is at 49.51.
14. Carl Edwards, Fastenal/Aflac/Subway
So an industrial supply salesman walks into a bar, and he's carrying a $5 foot-long and a talking duck…
13. Joey Logano, Shell/Pennzoil
Pennzoil is a cool name.
12. Marcos Ambrose, Stanley/DeWalt Power Tools
Huge tools, selling at 81.60 a share.
11. Matt Kenseth, Husky Tools/Dollar General
Also huge tools (I'm senssing a theme...), courtesy of being the house brand for Home Depot, which sells at 77.74 a share. Dollar General's discount savings rate at 57.34 a share, making Kenseth a pretty affordable guy.
10. AJ Allmendinger, Kingsford/Clorox/Bush's Beans
In one car, you get the biggest charcoal manufacturer along with the top-selling bean company, along with the bleach that'll get those barbecue stains of your white t-shirt.
9. Ryan Newman, Caterpillar, Inc./Quicken Loans
The world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment commands 97.50 a share, and partners here with the largest online retail mortgage lender, one of the top companies to work for in the U.S., not to mention a great employer in the Detroit-area.
8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
Yeah, go ahead and root against the troops and an eminently popular soft drink, jerk.
7. Jeff Gordon, Drive to End Hunger/Axalta
The three-time Daytona winner rides for an AARP-backed charity that looks to help the hungry, especially senior citizens. Volunteers will be packaging meals before the race. But they do not sell large tools of any sort, so I had to dock them points.
6. Tony Stewart, Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1
The world's leading synthetic oil (95.03 a share) teams with an enormous chain that sells outdoor supplies and guns? The zombies don't stand a chance.
5. Greg Biffle, 3M/Bondo
The conglomerate and its special brand of plastic-filling putty sells at 132.12 a share.
4. Jamie McMurray, McDonald's/Cessna
With all that money you saved on the dollar menu, you can watch your racecar from the comfort of your private plane.
3. Kevin Harvick, Budweiser/Jimmy John's
This car is college.
2. Denny Hamlin, FedEx
They've never messed up one of our deliveries, they employed Tom Hanks in Castaway, they sponsor the Chinese badminton team, and they trade at 134.90 a share.
1. Casey Mears, GEICO
The gecko-repped insurance firm is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, which made $5.05 billion in one quarter of 2013. That's 14.5 times the amount of NASCAR's most valuable team, the $348 million Hendrick Motorsports.