Daytona 500 Free Picks

The 2010 Sprint Cup season kicks off Sunday afternoon with the 52nd running of the Daytona 500 from Daytona International Speedway.

Rather than hold its biggest race at the end of the season, NASCAR has always started the year off with its marquee race at the beginning, which seems to make the event even bigger for its fans.
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NASCAR's decision to eliminate bump-drafting regulations this year and give the cars bigger restrictor plates seems to have stopped the constant complaining that usually comes from drivers after racing at Daytona and Talladega. It's hard to say exactly how much of an effect these changes will have come Sunday, but we think this will be a much better race than in years past.
Tony Stewart 8/1
Last year’s biggest surprise was Tony Stewart, since nobody gave him and his new team much of a chance to be competitive let alone win four races in his first year as owner and driver. Stewart is a three-time winner of the July race, but has yet to win the 500 despite coming very close on numerous occasions. He has nine top 10s in his last 12 Daytona starts and we think this is the year he finally gets his first win at Daytona International Speedway.
Kurt Busch 14/1
Kurt Busch has been the king of consistency at Daytona and Talladega in recent years, with five straight top 10s at Daytona, including four top-five finishes. Busch has never won at a restrictor plate track, but he is always in contention at the end and it’s only a matter of time before he finally wins one of these races.
Live Longshots
Kevin Harvick 15/1
After winning his second consecutive Bud Shootout, Kevin Harvick has a very legitimate chance to pick up his second Daytona 500. The 2007 winner finished second in last year's race and has finished in the top 15 in three of the last four Daytona events. After a dismal 2009 season, we look for him and all the cars from RCR to bounce back strong this year.
Kasey Kahne 25/1
No driver impressed us more in the Bud Shootout than Kasey Kahne. He has never shown much in previous restrictor plate races, but we think the relationship with Roush Fenway Racing is just what this team needed after a turbulent 2009 season.

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Posted: 2/10/10 1:00PM ET

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