Daytona 500 2011: 15 Drivers Who Could Give the Favorites a Run for Their Money

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Daytona 500 2011: 15 Drivers Who Could Give the Favorites a Run for Their Money
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The 2011 Speedweeks at Daytona are now well under way. Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Shootout, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon took the top two spots in qualifying and will lead the field to the green flag.

The rest of the field will be set on Thursday, with the running of the Gatorade Dual 150's. Then, it is on to Sunday, with the running of the Daytona 500.

As the biggest race is now less than a week away and there has already been plenty of on track excitement, it's time to take a look at the 15 drivers—who may not be considered favorites—that could easily play the role of spoiler and end up in victory lane.

First and foremost, we should probably single out who the favorites are. Jimmie Johnson, the five-time defending Sprint Cup champion would certainly qualify as one of the favorites.

Along with Johnson, I would say that his teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., especially with him winning the pole, are also among the favorites.

Defending 500 champion Jamie McMurray has to be on the short list of favorites and a lot of people are looking at Kevin Harvick as a prime candidate to win his second Daytona 500.

So, with those five drivers off the board, here are the 15 drivers that really have a chance to make some noise.

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