Who’s Hot And Who’s Not Heading Into The Daytona 500

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NOT – Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer

Man, these two have gone through some cars this week!

Bowyer and Patrick will both be in the Daytona 500 but neither of them will be racing the cars that they thought they would be a week ago. Bowyer had a car get torn up in the Sprint Unlimited and then another in Daytona Pole Qualifying. Patrick was forced to a backup car after an incident with Denny Hamlin in practice. Thursday night in the duel races Patrick and Hamlin got into it again and the result was her car being damaged again.

Neither of these drivers had they type of 2014 that they were hoping for and stating off 2015 by trashing cars isn’t a good sign of things to come. Obviously both Patrick and Bowyer want to do well in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. However, it might just be impressive if they can stay out of trouble and have an intact car at the end of the race. I’m not saying that they were at fault for the incidents this week but at the end of the day a wrecked car is a wrecked car regardless of fault.

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HOT – Martin Truex Jr.

If you’re involved in NASCAR’s fantasy game than you might want to take a look at Truex Jr. because he has opened some eyes this weekend.

Truex Jr. has been fast and towards the front for the majority of Speedweeks. After watching him do his thing this entire week it would be foolish to think that he isn’t going to make some noise this weekend in the Daytona 500.  Truex Jr. will start the race 10th on Sunday and should figure to be near the front for the majority of the day.

Everyone loves a feel-good story and Truex Jr. might be the biggest one that comes out of Daytona this weekend.

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NOT – Kyle Larson

After a more than impressive run in 2014, Kyle Larson entered this season with expectations that are through the rough. Thus far Larson has been somewhat in the shadows if you will.

Larson hasn’t been bad this week in Daytona but he also hasn’t be particularly impressive either. If you had to choose between him and his teammate Jamie McMurray, I would say that McMurray has stood out more heading into the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Larson turned many heads when he finished in the top-five at Daytona last season and one would have to assume that he expects nothing less this season.

Larson admitted before the duels that his car was lacking speed and that they were hoping to adjust it more before the 500. Hopefully the No. 42 team can get the car to where it needs to be for Sunday. Larson coming out flat in the Daytona 500 isn’t even close to being the end of the world but it would be a disappointing way for the young driver to start the season.