Daytona 500 preview: If the top 32 drivers were NFL teams, then Jimmie Johnson would be the New England Patriots.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—It’s been almost three weeks since pro football officially deserted us, leaving us bereft. If you’re looking for a fix, one that promises considerably more action than what’s been on offer at the NFL scouting combine thus far, then look no further than NASCAR. Its season officially kicks off this weekend and peaks with Sunday’s Daytona 500, which airs at 1 p.m. Eastern time on FOX.
Who will take the checkered flag? Jeff Gordon, a three-time winner, has positioned himself as the favorite in what could be his last running of the Super Bowl of stock car racing. His Chevy has been quick throughout the fortnight on Daytona’s 2-1/2-mile oval. In fact, on Sunday, Gordon landed on the pole—for just the second time in his superb career.
Who will challenge him? How about his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, led by Jimmie Johnson and 500 defending champion Dale Earnhardt Jr.—who swept Thursday’s Budweiser Duel races and give Hendrick a 1-2-3 start for Sunday’s race.
Who should you support? That’s easy. If you already have a favorite NFL team, you then already have a favorite driver among the field of 43. To wit, here are the 32 most likely examples: