Daytona 500 2012: Mark Martin and Dark Horses to Watch in Great American Race
The 2012 NASCAR season will fire up its engines on Sunday with the Daytona 500 (1:00 PM ET, FOX). The 54th running of "The Great American Race" promises to entertain, as it is anyone's to win.
Last season's Cup runner-up Carl Edwards will start from the pole, looking to win his first ever Daytona 500, along with last year's Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. The driver of the No. 14 car has dominated the Daytona race in the Nationwide Series but never won on Sunday.
A trio of former Daytona 500 champions, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth will also be starting up front inside the top 10 and gunning for the checkered flag Sunday afternoon.
Outside of the big names and top qualifiers, however, there are some underrated dark horses that fans and viewers would be wise to keep an eye on during Sunday's race.
Harvick won four Sprint Cup races last season, and has looked strong at recent Budweiser Shootouts and Gatorade Duels.
He manages to get up front at nearly every track to lead a few laps. If he can do the same without much delay on Sunday, then he can increase his chances of going to victory lane.
Martin will start 22nd on Sunday, and finished 10th in last year's race. His .02 second defeat to Kevin Harvick in 2007 was one of the most memorable and heart-breaking finishes in NASCAR history.
No one will be racing harder than Martin on Sunday afternoon.
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