Loading Related Articles ...

Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Daytona 500

Kevin Harvick
1 Joey Logano
---- 1/1 1st

This year's champion in The Clash has some new Ford stablemates in Stewart-Haas Racing, so it'll be interesting to see if he works with say, Kevin Harvick, to land his second Daytona 500 win in three years.

2 Jimmie Johnson
---- 2/2 16th

After a rough showing at Daytona last year (16th, 35th), the two-time Daytona 500 winner will be looking to jump start his title defense with a win on NASCAR's grandest stage.

3 Kyle Busch
---- 3/3 2nd

Daytona hasn't been kind to Kyle Busch, who is winless in the 500 and has just a pair of top-10 finishes there since 2011 -- not to mention that whole broken leg thing. 

4 Kevin Harvick
---- 4/4 5th

Harvick is a driver to watch Sunday, and in the few races following. If he can get out to a good start with his new, shiny Ford Fusion, expect good things for SHR. If not, it could be a bumpy ride.

5 Brad Keselowski
---- 5/5 6th

Arguably NASCAR's best restrictor-plate racer going right now and the most recent Daytona winner, there's one glaring omission from Keselowski's resume -- a Daytona 500 victory.

6 Denny Hamlin
---- 6/6 13th

Hamlin is the defending Daytona 500 winner -- his first W at the track -- and he's been stellar there lately. The JGR driver had five straight top-six finishes until the most recent July race, and has accrued the most points (274) of any driver over the past eight races.

7 Matt Kenseth
---- 7/7 11th

Kenseth's restrictor-plate prowess is well-documented, and it has come from experience. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is tied with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the most Daytona starts (34) among active, full-time drivers.

8 Martin Truex Jr
---- 8/8 15th

Truex nearly came away with his first Daytona 500 win last year, losing to Denny Hamlin by a nose. That seemed to spark his best season to date -- and he's in good position to top last year, too.

9 Chase Elliott
---- 9/9 7th

There's some conversation around a potential sophomore slump for Elliott -- don't buy into it. Not only will the back-to-back Daytona 500 pole winner perform better than he did in his rookie campaign, he's a dark horse title contender.

10 Kurt Busch
---- 10/10 17th

At some point, Busch's skill at Daytona will translate into a win. The SHR driver has 12 top-fives -- second most among active, full-time drivers -- but has yet to land in Victory Lane.

11 Dale Earnhardt Jr
---- 11/11

It's going to be a treat just to see Earnhardt back on the track, but he actually has a shot to win the Daytona 500. His four wins at the track are the most among any current full-time driver.

12 Kyle Larson
---- 12/12 14th

Larson turned a major corner in 2016, winning his first race and finishing ninth in points. He also improved upon his previous best finish of 34th at Daytona with results of seventh and sixth in last year's two races.

13 Austin Dillon
---- 13/13 12th

And here's your dark horse Daytona 500 pick. Dillon has the best average finish (11.7) among active, full-time drivers at the track and has been running at the finish of each of his seven starts. 

14 Daniel Suarez
---- 14/14 8th

Suarez will certainly be thrown directly into the fire when he climbs into Carl Edwards' old ride for the 500, but he showed he can hold his own at this level in "The Clash.

15 Kasey Kahne
---- 15/15

Expect Kahne to rebound in 2017 after a few down seasons. The driver seems rejuvenated and enjoyed a nice boost of momentum -- along with Hendrick Motorsports as a whole -- in the latter third of last season.

16 Jamie McMurray
---- 16/16 10th

McMurray, a former Daytona 500 winner, could certainly benefit from a strong start in the season opener. With the influx of talent coming into the series, there won't be much room moving forward for drivers who haven't won since 2013.

17 Clint Bowyer
---- 17/17

With Bowyer's rough 2016 season a distant memory and his hands finally behind the wheel of one of NASCAR's better rides, expect the 2012 runner-up to once again compete for wins.

18 Ryan Newman
---- 18/18

Hard to believe Newman, entering his fourth season with Richard Childress Racing, has yet to win with the team. Daytona is a place it could happen for the 2008 race winner. 

19 Ryan Blaney
---- 19/19

It's a small sample size -- three starts -- but heading into the season, Blaney has the best average start among active, full-time active drivers at Daytona at 10.3.

20 AJ Allmendinger
---- 20/20

Allmendinger has a teammate at JTG Daugherty Racing for the first time, which should benefit him as he tries to make his first playoff appearance since 2014.

21 Paul Menard
---- 21/21

Menard has been quiet on the track (and off the track) for a few years now, but perhaps the silent consistency he tends to show will work wonders in the newly-revamped points system.

22 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
---- 22/22

Filling the veteran role vacated by Greg Biffle at Roush Fenway, Stenhouse Jr. has to step things up this year and compete for wins. The team has some talented drivers in waiting -- including Chris Buescher -- with no clear path. Results may dictate what happens here.

23 Trevor Bayne
---- 23/23

Everyone knows Bayne is perhaps the biggest shocker of a winner in the Daytona 500, so you've got to think Bayne will be happy to shed that distinction sooner than later with a second win.

24 Erik Jones
---- 24/24

The 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion is incredibly talented, but will face questions about whether, at 20-years-old, he's ready for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series even with three career series appearances under his belt from 2015.

25 Danica Patrick
---- 25/25 4th

Patrick has a big year ahead of her, having yet to sniff a win in her Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. A good start at Daytona -- one of her better tracks -- would go a long way.

More stories