Daytona 500 Preview

NASCAR is finally back and we couldn’t be happier about it. After the success we enjoyed with our NASCAR picks in the 2007 season and just how much we love the sport in general it’s great to see the cars back on the track at Daytona. Compound that with the excitement of this being the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500 and you’ve got the makings of a magical weekend.

The Great American Race is actually just the culmination of about a month of testing, practice and exhibition races that have come to be known as Speed Weeks. Without question, Hendrick Motorsports has again set the tone for the 2008 Sprint Cup season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won two races in events leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500. Junior took the checkered flag in the Bud Shoot Out last weekend in his first race for his new team. He followed that up with another dominating performance in the first Gatorade 150 Duel race held Thursday. For those who said Dale Jr. was washed up need only look as far as his shiny new #88 Chevrolet Impala.

More Daytona 500

> Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

> Current Daytona 500 Odds

> Daytona 500 TV Guide

> Daytona 500 Drivers

2007 Nextel Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson also let his presence be known by qualifying on the Pole for the 2008 Daytona 500. Johnson’s fast lap sent a message to everyone that he intends to start the 2008 season right where he left off in 2007.

The biggest surprise of 2008 so far has without question been the performance of the Joe Gibb’s Racing Toyota’s. Gibb’s driver Denny Hamlin won the second Gatorade Duel 150 race Thursday which marked the first time a Toyota has been to victory lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Last season the Toyota Camry entered Cup Series competition and only two Toyota drivers even managed to crack the top 35 in owner points. This has to be a big shot in the arm for all of the Toyota teams, not just Gibbs.

Daytona 500 Picks

We should start off with a brief recap. In 2007 our team of NASCAR experts gave you 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series winners. We kept that success going into 2008 by giving you Dale Earnhardt Jr. as one of our free picks to win the Bud Shoot Out.

We feel we have done our due diligence in handicapping this year’s Daytona 500 but we still have concerns about the new car. There have been a lot of wrecks we feel would of never happened with the previous car and because of that we are limiting our selections this week to just two drivers. As we gather more data about the new car and how it performs moving forward we will be able to dabble in some driver matchups and other NASCAR wagers we feel can be profitable.

So without further delay, here are our predictions for the 2008 Daytona 500.

Take Dale Earnhardt Jr. Currently +350 at

Sure it seems unlikely that Dale Jr. can win the three races in a row to kick off 2008, or does it? Word on the streets is that Earnhardt Jr.’s new sponsor Adidas made him a racing shoe full of lead. We are joking of course but Junior has let it be known in a big way that he is back and we believe him.

Take Jimmie Johnson Currently +500 at

In our expert NASCAR opinion Sunday’s 50th Daytona 500 is gonna be a two man race. Meet the second man, Jimmie Johnson. Sure, Tony Stewart will probably lead some laps, maybe even Kyle Busch will also but if Johnson can dodge the wrecks and be around at the end he is most likely the one who will have something for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Also, still a great price here on the 2007 Champ and a previous Daytona winner. For the money, there is no better pick out there, even if Dale Jr. is your likely winner.

If you are new to NASCAR betting, here is a little primer we put together: How to Bet NASCAR. It tells you everything you need to know from what types of bets are available to how the payouts work. NASCAR isn’t just a great spectator sport but it also offers a lot of opportunities to make some money if you are a person who follows the sport closely.

We use Bodog for all of our NASCAR wagering, when you are ready to make your picks, we suggest you use them as well. For the 2008 season, all of our NASCAR picks will be graded using NASCAR lines from Bodog.

Now, gentleman: start – your – engines!!!

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