2012 Daytona 500 Free Picks
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (The Spread) - The 2012 Sprint Cup season kicks off Sunday afternoon with the 54rd running of the Daytona 500 from Daytona International Speedway.
The 2012 running of the Daytona 500 will be the first plate race with the new package and if last Saturday's Bud Shootout is any indication, picking the winner this weekend could be difficult.
If the Bud Shootout taught us anything about what to expect, it's that just about anyone can come out victorious if they’re near the lead on the last few laps. Thanks to last year’s new surface the track is running fast, has better grip, and with all the new changes the race should come down to the last lap.
Because luck plays a significant role in the outcome, this is always a race we look forward to in terms of betting. But after watching the Shootout and the Duels on Thursday, we’re going to take a more conservative approach to picking the winner.
We think Harvick is not only the best driver on the restrictor plate tracks but is also one of the most consistent. His 42nd place finish in last year’s Daytona 500 was due to a blown engine, which affected all the cars from RCR. Thus, that race can be thrown out and if you look past that hiccup, his plate races here have been spectacular given how hard it is to finish at Daytona on a consistent basis. Harvick leads all drivers with a 13.8 average finish with four top-fives in his last six starts at Daytona. If you’re looking for a safe bet to be in the mix at the end, look no farther than Harvick.
Hamlin has a good speedweeks leading up to the 500, but doesn't have much to show for it if you look just at his results. All of the cars from Joe Gibbs have been fast and we think Hamlin has been the most impressive. He’s shown that his car is fast no matter what track he’s on and he made a big charge in the final laps of the Shootout. Last season was a down year for this team but with a new crew chief and one of the fastest cars this week, we look for Hamlin to surprise the field.
McMurray is another driver coming off a bad year and Daytona is the perfect place for him to get back on track. With two wins at Daytona and many good finishes McMurray has shown he is one of the best when it comes to plate racing. We think he had the car to beat in the Shootout until he was caught in a wreck that he had nothing to do with. We wish his current price was a little higher but we think it still offers a lot of value for someone that he can win this type of race.
2012 Daytona 500 Information
Race Date: Sunday, February 26
Location: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Pre-Race: Noon ET
Green Flag: Approx. 1:30PM ET
TV Coverage: FOX
Radio Coverage: MRN
Track Type: Oval (200 laps)