It's difficult to overstate the importance of the Daytona 500 as a standalone race.
Rarely do sporting occasions deserve such lofty monikers, but there is something completely appropriate about calling the 500 the Great American Race -- a term coined by then-CBS NASCAR commentator
What is for sure, however, is that winning the 500 can cement your NASCAR legacy. On the back of one much-hyped 200-lap race, entire careers are forever immortalized. Winning a Cup title is the long-term goal of every aspiring Cup driver, but hoisting the 50-pound Harley J. Earl Trophy above your head in Victory Lane at Daytona is the next best thing. It's a feeling only 33 drivers have ever had, and there's no race the 43 in this year's field want to win more.
With the ballyhoo and hype of the biggest race of them all in the rear-view mirror, teams will held to Fontana knowing results there will play a far bigger role in the season -- and indeed, the race for the Chase.
K. Busch, M.Martin, K.Kahne, D.Hamlin, T.Stewart, G.Biffle M.Kenseth, J.Gordon, R.Newman, J.Montoya J.Johnson, B.Vickers, C.Edwards
Reutimann, McMurray, Ragan, Gordon, Keselowski, Papis, Sadler, Logano, Elliott, Said, Harvick, Burton, Bowyer Andretti, Bliss, Conway, Gilliland, lmendinger, Cook, Ambrose, McDowell, Truex Jr., Blaney, Labonte, Smith, Nemechek, Hornish Jr., S.Speed, Earnhardt Jr., Mears, Menard