Daytona 500: Racers Who Will Shine in Historic NASCAR Race

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Kevin Harvick drives the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The Daytona 500 marks the second major NASCAR race of the season, one week after Kevin Harvick led 40 laps to clinch first place in the Sprint Unlimited last Sunday.

From the new Gen-6 car to Danica Patrick winning the Daytona pole, there are plenty of storylines to keep your interest flowing.

As we gear up for one of the most historic races in all of NASCAR, here are three racers who are poised for big days at Daytona International Speedway.

Kevin Harvick

After winning the Sprint Unlimited last weekend and the first Budweiser Duel on Thursday, no one is racing better than Kevin Harvick of late.

Harvick finished eighth in the Sprint Cup standings last season and placed seventh in last year's Daytona 500.

The veteran posted 14 top-10 finishes in 2012 and will be starting Sunday's race from the third spot behind Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick.

Given the way he's maneuvering the track and handling his car, Harvick should be considered a favorite to win it all at Daytona.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch didn't have the start to the season that he wanted, as he was involved in the nine-car crash that wiped out much of the competition in the Sprint Unlimited.

But he bounced back nicely in the week leading up to Daytona, clinching first place in the second Budweiser Duel on Thursday and will start from the fourth position on Sunday.

Busch will be looking for a bounce-back performance at Daytona, as he finished 17th in the 500 and 24th in the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona in 2012.

The 27-year-old boasted 13 top-five finishes in 2012, and after he fell short in the standings last season, Busch is poised for a big year.

Matt Kenseth

If history repeats itself on Sunday, Matt Kenseth will be standing in the winner's circle.

Kenseth won the Daytona 500 in 2012 and finished third in the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona a few months later.

The 40-year-old is off to another solid start this season after finishing seventh in the Sprint Cup standings in 2012, finishing fifth in the Sprint Unlimited and second Budweiser Duel.

Kenseth will start from the 12th spot Sunday and should be considered a favorite after 19 top-10 finishes last year.

With a propensity for top finishes at Daytona, expect a big day from Kenseth on Sunday.

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