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Daytona 500 NASCAR Preview

DAYTONA 500 NASCAR PREVIEW - We are here to preview the Daytona 500 and I (#NascarNate) could not be more juiced to talk about superspeedway racing. Let’s get into it.

The Track

From a handicapping perspective, there are not many other places like Daytona except Talladega. Atlanta is close in that it is also a superspeedway, but they don’t use restrictor plates in Atlanta like they do at Talladega and Daytona.

Ok, what is a superspeedway? A track that goes a distance of over two miles. So, this is a monster race and these guys are gonna be out there for a while. 

Daytona is a 2.5 mile long, high-banked oval if we’re being specific about the measurements.

Restrictor Plate Racing

Talladega and Daytona are the only tracks on the NASCAR schedule to feature this tweak to car performance on their tracks. Without getting overly technical, they modify the engines to restrict speeds on these tracks.

What ends up happening in restrictor-plate racing is that everyone more or less goes about the same speed, so the results can be fairly random and fluky because everyone in the race has essentially the same speed. These guys are basically full throttle the entire race, which can lend itself to some rather interesting situations. 

Drafting becomes really important in these types of races as the cars often travel in large packs to draft off one another to try and edge up in position. There are no huge advantages in terms of just having a better car setup than everyone else which is often something that happens in other races. 

Drafting and pack racing means that there are going to be many spectacular wrecks that can ruin your betting day in the blink of an eye. Drivers in this race can often be collateral damage and get caught up in the chaos created far away from them from a reckless or unlucky driver.

Starting position means basically nothing in these races. The person sitting on the pole to begin the race hasn't won here in 23 years, and the person who has started second hasn't won this race since 1993. Embrace the chaos.

Who do I like for this race?

I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m an expert. We cashed some big tickets at the end of last season that I gave out in my Dispatches, but I don’t have a computer model for this race anywhere on my laptop (that I’m aware of). 

I do love a good spectacle though, and I love to gamble, so I will be throwing a few pesos on one guy to see if he can survive the absolute chaos and madness of this race.

The guy I like is Erik Jones (+3500) here. The man has won at this track before in addition to another third place. If you’re looking for more results on comparable tracks, he’s also finished in second place at Talladega and should have won there in another race last year before disaster struck on the final lap.

What I’m telling you is this: superspeedway racing has more to do with the driver than the equipment. Erik Jones has good equipment Legacy Motor Club (formerly Petty GMS), and he is excellent on restrictor plate tracks. So we’re getting the total package.

I wouldn’t fault you for liking some of the safer plays like Ryan Blaney (+1200) who is also excellent on these tracks and is more of a reliable and known commodity. 

Another mid-tier guy you might want to ponder is Aric Almirola (+2500).

Think hard about making some top-5 or top-10 props on these guys for a safer investment at plus money, but I’m all about winners here so I’ll be sticking with the outrights. 

We were always going to be on the guy driving the Guns N' Roses car at Daytona.


Cheers to everyone celebrating this national drinking holiday.

Pick: Eric Jones (+3500)


Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of February 19th, 2023

DISCLAIMER: Godzilla Wins is for entertainment purposes only. Must be 21 or older, and reside in states where sports wagering is legal only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the Problem Gambling Helpline at 888-532-3500.


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