Sunday, Dec 04

Is Daytona a true indicator for season success?

Monday, Feb 25 2175

I wouldn’t  go so far as to suggest that Speedweeks and the Daytona 500 won’t have any bearing on the season going forward and who makes the Chase, but moving on to Phoenix this week will definitely give us a better gauge on who will be the top performers of 2013.

Restrictor plate racing has always been unpredictable and not always the best indicator of a team’s performance.  Add to that the high probability of trouble and mishaps due to the tight quarters racing and you get a mixed bag of results.

That was most certainly the case in this year’s Daytona 500.  Five bona-fide race and championship contenders were taken out of the running for the win from wrecks and engine problems.  While great results at Daytona can certainly give a team a boost, I don’t think we’ll see Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kasey Khane, or Tony Stewart have a Daytona hangover.  It’s also safe to assume that Danica Patrick isn’t necessarily a Chase contender because she ran up front most of the day or finished eighth in the Great American Race.

However I do feel that the strong performances shown by Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Brad Keselowski are signs that those programs will continue to rank among the top teams and Speedweeks has shown me that 2012 was no fluke at Michael Waltrip Racing as Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, and Martin Truex, Jr. have picked up where they left off.

Moving on to Phoenix we’ll get a better picture of who will be the mainstays atop the points standings and which teams will truly have a handle on the new Generation 6 race car.  The next two weeks will shed the most light on who will emerge as a Chase contender, especially after the series visits Las Vegas, the first of many intermediate tracks on the circuit.

Chris Hughes

About Me: I'm a high school football journalist turned NASCAR writer.  I'm a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, and have been around the sport of NASCAR since the early 1980's.

I'm retired from the United States Army and disabled veteran.


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