Never two without three at the Daytona 500

Never two without three at the Daytona 500?

DAYTONA BEACH | It’s the race every NASCAR driver wants to win. As it has done in the past two years, could the Daytona 500, which marks the start of a long season in America’s premier class of stock cars, crown another unexpected winner?

• Also read: No more singles for Thomas Nepveu

Michael McDowell and Austin Cindric have one thing in common: It was not without surprise that they clinched their first (and only) NASCAR Cup victory in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

History could therefore repeat itself this year, although most analysts agree that some seasoned veterans are willing to do whatever it takes to reverse this trend.

Kyle Busch, for example, has long waited to join the ranks of winners at the Daytona 500, the only honor missing from his outstanding track record.

“To win, you have to combine all the ingredients. A good car, an effective strategy and, above all, saving the best for last,” explains the two-time NASCAR Cup Champion (2015 and 2019).

The NASCAR Super Bowl

The Daytona 500 is often played in the final yards, resulting in spectacular falls that can sometimes highlight underdogs.

“It is undoubtedly a difficult race to win for many reasons. Some drivers will only record one win in their NASCAR career, and it will be the Daytona 500.

“They are willing to take big risks to achieve this. This event is the Super Bowl of our sport. We all want our name engraved on the precious trophy,” said the man, who ended a long association with Joe Gibbs’ team to accept an offer to defend Richard Childress’ team colors in 2023.

“You often have to be patient,” he recalls. Dale Earnhardt Sr has only won once at Daytona [en 1998] and he only succeeded on his 20th attempt. »

As a sad reminder, Earnhardt, a true legend in the specialty and considered the most popular driver in history, tragically died in February 2001 after an evasive maneuver on the very last lap of the Daytona 500. He was 49 years old.