Daytona 500 2011: 15 Early Favorites for the Great American Race

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Daytona 500 2011: 15 Early Favorites for the Great American Race
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Even though there's just four more days until Christmas, an even bigger countdown is also taking place for NASCAR fans.

As of Dec. 21, there are 61 days until the 53rd running of the "Great American Race," the Daytona 500. While the 2010 season ended about a month ago, it's never too early to anticipate the first official green flag of the 2011 campaign.

Can Jamie McMurray duplicate last season's success and prove victorious again? Will Richard Childress Racing continue its string of restrictor-plate victories? Could Jimmie Johnson start yet another championship season with his second Daytona 500 victory?

Those questions will not be answered until the checkered flag flies Feb. 16, but here's a look at 15 names that could make history in Daytona Beach.

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