Whenever money and pride is on the line without points in NASCAR, the outcome is sure to be chaotic and unpredictable. In this day and age of high tech race cars massaged within 1/1000th of an inch of tolerance to gain speed, the winning car look more like something you would find in the Street Stock Division at East Crashumup Speedway rather than at Daytona.
What did we learn from the Busch Crash, I mean CLASH? Less than usual, and that goes for the Daytona 500 pole qualifying as well, since superspeedway racing isn’t indicative of strength or weakness for the rest of the year.
Let’s see who is in the Top 16 heading into the Great American Race.
- Martin Truex Jr. – Nobody won more races in 2019 than the No. 19 team and nobody finds more ways to crash at Daytona. He was cruising along just fine until disaster struck as usual! He has been runner-up once in the Great American Race, and twice here, so there is hope.
- Kyle Busch – Rowdy suffered déjà vu all over again getting caught up in a mess caused by his favorite guy Joey Logano when the No. 22 once again tried his attempt at the concept of blocking. You can count on the usual top five or wreck from Kyle on Sunday.
- Kevin Harvick – Happy is one of three active drivers who has won more than once at Daytona International Speedway. It’s hard to believe it has been 13 years since he won the Great American Race, but then again, based on his luck in the Clash, maybe it’s more surprising he ever won the Daytona 500 at all.
- Denny Hamlin – Gets an assist for pushing his beaten and battered teammate Erik Jones to victory, which has to get the Hamlin fans pumped up for next Sunday. The defending champ of the Great American Race showed he has one of the cars to beat this year too.
- Joey Logano– Sad news for Logano, as on Sunday evening, his membership in the Kyle Busch Fan Club was revoked. Why is it that every time Joey goes to block he seemingly ends up wiping out Kyle Busch?
- Kyle Larson – Somehow and some way, Young Money managed to be one of the five cars left on the lead lap in the Clash. But as usual, he seemed to pick the wrong line when it mattered the most and had to settle for fourth place.
- Chase Elliott – At one point in the Clash it appeared that they might have to fire up the si-reeen over at the Dawsonville Pool Hall for the first time this year. But the last two wrecks finished him off, and he will try for better luck in the Daytona 500. Daytona has not been kind to him with only one lead lap finish in eight tries.
- Brad Keselowski – Brad might have had the best race in the Clash, but perhaps beer brand karma prevented him from having the luck needed to make it past the first of the Big Ones. He is 0-for-10 in the Great American Race so far, but NASCAR history is full of guys who needed many more tries for their first career Daytona 500 win.
- Ryan Blaney – Blaney grabbed a three-peat you don’t want to accomplish at Daytona, and the third wreck of the day was the end of his day. He does have two top-10 finishes in his last three attempts at the Great American Race, so maybe he was getting rid of all his bad luck at once last week.
- Erik Jones – That was probably the ugliest looking car ever to go to Victory Lane at a superspeedway in NASCAR history.
- William Byron – The Hendrick Motorsports cars are the chosen ones at the Daytona this year. The No. 24 car won the pole last year for the 500, while finishing runner-up in July.
- Jimmie Johnson – Perhaps the theme song for “seven time” comes from the old Hee Haw show. You old-timers will know what I’m talking about, and you younger folks need to do a search on your old Google machine. “Pain, despair, and agony on me … if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”
- Aric Almirola – Almirola is a very underrated superspeedway driver who is always in the hunt at the front of the pack. Unfortunately, he always seems to find carnage, although he has won a race at Daytona in the past.
- Clint Bowyer – Call PETA on NASCAR’s funniest driver because there is no doubt he was in possession of at least four rabbit’s feet last weekend in the Clash. How he avoided making harder contact in those wrecks was a miracle. Maybe Jeff Gordon will be seen sporting a Kansas City Chiefs jersey in Victory Lane on Sunday.
- Matt DiBenedetto – The guy they call “Guido” was not eligible for the Clash, and that might have been the best thing for the Wood Brothers. Six of their 99 career wins have come in the Great American Race, with 15 wins overall at Daytona.
- Christopher Bell – If there was any doubt that the No. 95 team will be getting the exact same JGR equipment this year that doubt is gone after qualifying for the Daytona 500. Bell was ninth fastest, smack dab in the middle of the JGR drivers.
Do you agree or disagree with our rankings? Let us know and we might even include your comment on next week’s edition of Power Rankings!
About the author
Dennis a.k.a. DMIC has been covering NASCAR racing since 1998. After spending 23 years as a professional weather forecaster, Dennis still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up, so he started covering auto racing full time. He is the moderator of the Race Track Business Conference - an all-day educational seminar covering the business of speed - and is the owner of DMIC Media & Marketing where he spends his time mouthing off about all kinds of sports. He is also the play-by-play voice for the professional Ultimate Disc team the Chicago Wildfire of the American Ultimate Disc League. Dennis can be heard every Saturday on The Final Inspection on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee, Wis. talking NASCAR, and you can listen on the Radio.com app.
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