Monday, April 15 2024

8. William Byron

Byron also has won at Daytona, grabbing the win in the summer race in 2020 for his first career victory. He is 0-for-6 in the 500, having been running at the finish twice.

And don’t tell the Hendrick driver this (although he probably already knows) — his best finish in the Daytona 500 is 21st.

9. Bubba Wallace

Wallace finished second in his first Daytona 500 (in 2018) and was second again in 2022. He also has a win at Talladega. What will it take to get that one final spot as the 23XI Racing driver tries for the seventh time to win the Daytona 500? Lots of friends and the right move at the right time.

10. Christopher Bell

Bell is crafty enough to put himself in the right position, as he showed last year when he finished third, his first top-10 in four Daytona 500 starts. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has led 52 laps in those four starts.

11. Erik Jones

Jones won the summer race at Daytona in 2018 for his first career victory and is considered a solid superspeedway racer. The Legacy Motor Club driver was third in the 2019 Daytona 500, his only top-10 finish in seven Daytona 500 starts.

12. Alex Bowman

Bowman has started on the front row for a record six consecutive years at the Daytona 500. But that doesn’t mean a great deal when it comes to the race — Bowman was fifth from the pole last year, the only pole-winner to finish in the top-five in the last 22 Daytona 500s.

That finish was the Hendrick driver’s only top-10 in seven Daytona 500 starts.

 Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including over 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass.

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