Race Weekend Central

2016 Frontstretch Cup: Staff Predictions for the Daytona 500

Welcome back for another year of staff predictions.  Each week our writers duke it out to see who will reign supreme, and with a few tweaks to the rules for 2016, it’s sure to be a closer battle than ever.

This week, racing is back, baby, and we’re ready!  Check out our picks for the Daytona 500 and see how yours stack up.

How we roll:

Each driver can be picked only twice each week.  We can’t pick the same driver two weeks in a row.  And if anyone is daring enough to pick from a pool of higher-risk drivers…well, he or she reaps some serious bonus points…but it’s not without its risks!

Win: +5 (High risk pick: +8)
2nd-5th: +3 (High risk pick: +5)
6th-10th: +1 (High risk pick: +2)
11th-20th: 0
21st-30th: -1
31st-36th: -2
37th-40th: -3

Daytona 500

High-risk drivers:
Robert Richardson, Jr.
Michael McDowell
Matt DiBenedetto
AJ Allmendinger
Michael Annett
Bobby Labonte
Landon Cassill

This week’s predictions:
Tom Bowles, Editor-In-Chief: Kyle Busch will bring Joe Gibbs Racing their first Daytona 500 win since 1993.
Amy Henderson, Senior Editor: I said earlier this week Casey Mears was one to watch, and he proved it in his duel right up until he ran out of fuel.  I don’t love his starting position, but I think he’s got a good enough car to make up a lot of spots.
Mark Howell, Senior Writer: I’ll take Kyle Busch for the win.
Clayton Caldwell, Contributor: I’ll take McMurray and hope he doesn’t wreck the field like he did on his Duel.
Jeff Wolfe, Senior Writer: Since I picked him earlier this week I will go with Ryan Blaney.
Zach Catanzareti, Contributor: I’ll have Jimmie J.
Huston Ladner, Senior Editor: Carl Edwards.
Kevin Rutherford, Managing Editor: Matt Kenseth.
Danny Peters, Senior Writer:
I’ll take the No. 11, please!
Jeff Meyer, Semi-retired Contributor: I got Carl Edwards.
Tony Lumbis, Financial Manager: Kurt Busch.
Mike Neff, Short Track Coordinator: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Sean Fesko, Contributor: Denny Hamlin breaks the Joe Gibbs Racing 500 drought by holding Junior off on the last lap.
Summer Bedgood, Senior Editor:
Kurt Busch.
Dan Greene, Webmaster: The website guy wants to play this year. I’ll take Joey Logano.
Joseph Wolkin, Assistant Editor: Greg Biffle.
Aaron Bearden, Assistant Editor:
Aight, give me @Keselowski.
Phil Allaway, Newsletter Editor: I like the new high-risk bonus.  It’s enticing.  Probably could have snagged those big 8 points at Talladega when David Ragan won in 2013.  On that note, I’m taking Landon Cassill.  I’m going ultra-aggressive this week.
Vito Pugliese: Senior Writer: Give me Dale Jr. for win #3….oh what a coinky!
Jerry Jordan, Contributor: I’ll take Joey Logano.
Bryan Gable, Contributor: I’ll take Brad Keselowski.

About the author

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Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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The gushing over Jr. and his daddy’s 15th anniversary death is huge. Never underestimate the sentimentality of Brian and his appeasement of all Earnhardt fans. What a great moment for him if the script goes according to plan to coincide with the ego monument “Daytona Rising”. How many stories could be spun from that! And the godlike Chase could be in the same category.

capt spaulding

Just kept in mind, a win tomorrow guarantees a starting spot in the Sprint cup Chase.


Absolutely!!!! Nascar is betting on it, unless the script is tampered with!!!!!! The agenda for the start of 2016 seems very clear!

Tim S.

I was hopeful that the Chase would not be forgotten. So few media members attempt to exploit its built-in drama, or even mention it at all.

I delivered that with a straight don’t.

Tim S.

Er, font. Either way, the sarcasm stands.

capt spaulding

Thank you


That not charter-eligible #21 car


Vickers for the obvious storyline and chase format mockery.


Nice idea, I like that. But – who shall be the sub if Vickers suffers health issues later in the season?


Why don’t the comments not appear??

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