Daytona 500 2012: Longshots That Will Cruise to a Strong Finish

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 25, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Joey Logano drives the #20 GameStop Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

While the big names like Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are getting the attention, these are the racers that should be getting the attention. The fact that they aren't will work to their advantage, as under the radar is a good place to be in sports. 

The odds are too long for these guys, who will all show up high on the leaderboard on Sunday. 

All odds courtesy of Sportsbook


Joey Logano, 30/1

The future is remarkably bright for Logano. Since crashing in his 2009 Daytona debut, Logano has been consistent in the season opener and even better away from it. In total, he has a win, 14 top-fives and 29 top-10s.

Consider that, now remember that this kid has yet to celebrate his 22nd birthday. He is already good, and he is only going to get better throughout the following years as he gets more adjusted to the competition that comes in NASCAR. 

This year, he is starting just outside of the top 10, beginning at the No. 12 spot. That puts Logano in the perfect position, as he won't be a huge target, but also isn't starting from too far back. Look for Logano to finish somewhere comfortably in the top 10, and if all breaks right, a top-five finish is distinctly possible. 

Regan Smith, 40/1

Look at those odds and consider that he is starting from the sixth position. As a point of reference, Jimmie Johnson is starting two spots behind Smith and is going off at 15/1.

Smith has a strong history at Daytona, recording one top-10 finish and one 21st place finish while starting from the 42 slot. Starting sixth, look for him to finish in the top 10 again. Also, at 40/1, he is not a bad person to put a small bet down on, as it will bring a nice payoff. 

The fact that Smith is surrounded by some of the sport's giants will work to his advantage. They will all be more focused on each other than on Smith, who will notch a strong finish.

Marcus Ambrose, 60/1

Just about everything that was said about Smith applies to Ambrose. He is starting a spot behind Smith, but he's not getting anywhere near enough recognition from the oddsmakers. Be prepared to see him make them look ridiculous. 

Neither Jamie McMurray nor Trevor Bayne were exactly favorites going into the 2010 and 2011 races respectively, and they managed okay. 

If someone has earned a top-10 start, then they have shown a certain amount of comfort on the track and at Daytona, which is shown at the Duel 150. Like Smith, being surrounded by stars will work in Ambrose's favor. At the very least, he'll hold his position and stay in the top 10. 

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