Daytona 500 Starting Lineup: Kurt Busch and More Threats to Win from the Back

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 25, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Tag Heuer Avant-Garde Chevrolet Chevrolet, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 25, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

A poor qualifying session does not mean doom for these drivers. Sure, they may be starting from the bottom half of the 43-man Daytona 500 but when it's over, don't allow yourself to be surprised if any of these men is the last man standing.


Kurt Busch

Busch has been one of the circuit's better racers over the last few years, and a mediocre starting position is not going to do anything to change that. This is a guy with 24 career wins that has been a top 10 machine throughout his career.

With his style of racing, if Busch finds his way to the top 10, he can find his way to the winner's circle.

To win from the back of the pack, you have to race aggressively and take chances that you wouldn't normally take. The good thing for Busch is that he always races with aggression, so this isn't going to be a real change for him.


Juan Pablo Montoya

Look at Montoya' record at Daytona over the last few years and see if you notice a pattern.

2009   14th place
2010 10th place
2011 6th place

If you noticed that he was starting from a pretty good place in 2009 but still getting better, give yourself a nice hearty pat on the back. Montoya knows this track well and has become an increasingly bigger factor at Daytona every year since switching to NASCAR.

While starting from Row 18 could not have been a part of the game plan, he's still a real threat to work his way up and take the checkered flag.

Montoya is a fantastic pure racer, which is a necessary skill when starting from so far back.


Trevor Bayne

If anyone really doubts that Bayne can win from the back of the back, I would suggest that you look at his 2011 Daytona 500. In that race, he started from the rather unimpressive 32nd position but when the race was over, it was Bayne standing tall over the rest of the field.

Now, we're looking at a similar starting spot, but counting him out would be foolish. Bayne knows that he can win at this track, which is an incredibly valuable tool. More importantly, he knows how to race at Daytona and is not going to be intimidated by the sport's big names.

Pulling of a double from the back of the pack would be one of the sport's greatest achievements, but Bayne has the chops to do that.


Full Daytona 500 Lineup per Connie Ann Kirk, Rochester Motorsports Examiner.

Row 1:
Carl Edwards
Greg Biffle 

Row 2:
Tony Stewart
Matt Kenseth
Row 3:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Regan Smith
Row 4:
Marcos Ambrose
Jimmie Johnson
Row 5:
Jeff Burton
Elliott Sadler
Row 6:
Michael McDowell
Joey Logano
Row 7:
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Row 8:
A. J. Allmendinger
Jeff Gordon
Row 9:
Robby Gordon
Ryan Newman
Row 10:
Jamie McMurray
Kasey Kahne
Row 11:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Mark Martin
Row 12:
Brad Keselowski
Dave Blaney
Row 13:
David Ragan
Martin Truex Jr.
Row 14:
Aric Almirola
Kurt Busch
Row 15:
Danica Patrick
Clint Bowyer
Row 16:
Denny Hamlin
Bobby Labonte
Row 17:
David Gilliland
Joe Nemechek
Row 18:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Casey Mears
Row 19:
Paul Menard
David Reutimann
Row 20:
Landon Cassill
Trevor Bayne
Row 21:
Tony Raines
David Stremme
Row 22:
Terry Labonte