Performing well at the 2013 Daytona 500 is imperative to the success of a driver’s season, and starting from the pole positions in this race is even more important than at other tracks.
Which driver has a better shot at victory?
With so much on the line during Sunday’s Great American Race, both Patrick and Gordon have a great chance to start the race at the front, stay there all day and finish strong.
Easier said than done, though.
Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Listen: Motor Racing Network
Live Stream: RaceView
|1||Danica Patrick||2||Jeff Gordon|
|3||Kevin Harvick||4||Kyle Busch|
|5||Greg Biffle||6||Kasey Kahne|
|7||Juan Pablo Montoya||8||Austin Dillon|
|9||Jimmie Johnson||10||Clint Bowyer|
|11||Kurt Busch||12||Matt Kenseth|
|13||Tony Stewart||14||Mark Martin|
|15||Brad Keselowski||16||Paul Menard|
|17||Casey Mears||18||Jeff Burton|
|19||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||20||Jamie McMurray|
|21||Joey Logano||22||David Ragan|
|23||Bobby Labonte||24||Marcos Ambrose|
|25||David Gilliland||26||Aric Almirola|
|27||Joe Nemechek||28||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|29||Michael Waltrip||30||Dave Blaney|
|31||Scott Speed||32||Josh Wise|
|33||Trevor Bayne||34||Ryan Newman|
|35||Denny Hamlin||36||Carl Edwards|
|37||Martin Truex Jr.||38||Michael McDowell|
|39||Terry Labonte||40||Regan Smith|
|41||J.J. Yeley||42||David Reutimann|
Breaking Down the Front Row
No. 1: Danica Patrick
The hype surrounding the pole sitter for the 2013 Daytona 500, Danica Patrick, is unlike anything the sport has ever seen, but the first woman to ever obtain the No. 1 starting position in a NASCAR race wants more.
Patrick needs to finish the race as well as she is starting it, and that involves running a smart race. Everyone is on the same page with the new Generation-6 cars, so as long as Patrick stays toward the front, she should be able to avoid trouble.
No matter what Patrick and the No. 10 team decide their strategy will be on Sunday—force the issue and staying out front of the field or falling to the back early and avoiding trouble before making a late push toward the front—the mainstream focus will be fixed on the second-year star.
No. 2: Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon starting from the outside pole position is bad news for the rest of the drivers in the field. The NASCAR veteran has raced in 20 Daytona 500s over his career, winning three times and finishing in the top-10 eight times.
As great as Gordon can be at Daytona, the intense competition and the fact that over the past three years the No. 24 car has averaged a 31.3 place finish has many questioning how well the racing legend will finish Sunday.
Starting out in front of the pack will afford Gordon the opportunity to stay out of trouble, and as long as he remains one of the top contenders throughout the day, the No. 24 team will walk away from the 500 with a solid finish.