The Bluegreen Vacations Duel races held on Thursday night at the Daytona International Speedway demonstrated something very important that will likely prove to be a factor in deciding the eventual winner of the Daytona 500. Of course, picking a winner in the races held at this track and its sister venue, the Talladega Super Speedway, is much akin to playing darts blindfolded using your left hand(provided the thrower is right handed). Still, clues emerged that have been evident in previous years as well that can help in the predicting of a winner in ‘The Great American Race’.
A Ford Mustang will win the Daytona 500. The reason I am picking a ‘Blue Oval’ as an obvious choice comes out of multiple pieces of evidence.
First, the Ford cars just work well together. It’s almost as if they were designed with the push-and-pull style of racing that occurs on the big drafting tracks in mind. As was pointed out during the FS1 broadcast on Thursday by analyst Clint Bowyer, the nose on those cars is a bit flatter which helps it push better by pressing against the rear bumper of the car ahead.
The Ford just seems to draft better than the Chevrolets or the Toyotas.
That fact was shown in the second Duel when it looked like the Chevrolets of Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson had an advantage over the rest of the pack. But as the drafting became more intense, a bump from the more pointed nose of one ‘Bow Tie’ to another set off a chain reaction that resulted in a crash for Busch and those who could not avoid the melee. Later in another instance, Larson was attempting to shove Ford driver Todd Gilliland and almost sent him spinning.
An easy question to ask here is why pick a Ford when it seems as if the problem with Chevys comes from them pushing and not from them being pushed. Since the Fords seem to be better pushers, maybe one of their drivers will push a Chevy driver to the win. And of course, when the race gets down to its closing laps, one never knows what circumstances might occur to put a group of drivers together so that could in fact happen.
But here is the second reason why I am certain that Ford will win its third consecutive Daytona 500 on Sunday. It isn’t just that the cars are best suited for this type of racing but so are its drivers. Since a few years ago, this brand seems to have convinced its drivers that an ‘all for one and one for all’ strategy will serve them best. That seemed to be the case in the closing laps of both Duel races which ultimately led to Joey Logano and Aric Almirola picking up wins.
Naturally, it will be every man for himself, no matter what manufacturer they drive for, when the cars get to turns three and four after taking the white flag. But it seems as if Ford drivers have bought into the idea that it will be best for them to make sure the issue will be settled among Fords before making their final moves. That very thing seemed to play out between Ford pilots Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in 2021. Even though both of them would ultimately crash, fellow Ford driver Michael McDowell inherited the race lead and the win.
Good drivers who will work together to make sure someone from their manufacturer will win in cars that are best suited for this style of racing will put a Ford in victory lane on Sunday.
My pick to win the Daytona 500: Chase Briscoe
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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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