DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Six of the top eight starters in Sunday’s 61st annual Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) belong to Ford drivers. That’s not surprising despite Ford rolling out a brand new car for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Last year, Ford raced the Fusion. They won the most races since 1997. They won their first Cup championship since 2004. Also, over the last five years, they had combined to win 13 of the last 18 points paying restrictor plate races.
Now, they have a new car without any notes. Will that dominance continue?
If three Speedweeks races are any indication, the answer is a resounding – yes.
In last Sunday’s Clash, Paul Menard, a Ford driver, led 52 of the 59 laps. If not for Jimmie Johnson crashing him on Lap 55, the race was Menard’s to lose.
Rain fell shortly after the caution, which is why Johnson blames the move that he made. If he doesn’t make that move, then a yellow comes out a lap later and Menard wins a rain shortened race by leading all but three laps.
The same thing happened in the Duels on Thursday night.
In the first Duel, Kevin Harvick took over the top spot after an early race pit sequence. He’d lead the final 44 laps en route to a dominating win.
The same thing happened in the second duel. After the first pit sequence, Clint Bowyer took over the lead and would remain up front for the next 39 laps. Joey Logano, another Ford driver, passed him on the last lap and would win to close out the night.
From Lap 17 on in both races, Ford drivers led the final 84 of 87 laps. They had 1-2-3 finishers in each race too.
They have big numbers up front and can hook up early.
There’s a reason by Brad Keselowski is the favorite despite just one Daytona win. Logano, has four straight Daytona 500 top six finishes. Kevin Harvick is a past Daytona 500 champion. Aric Almirola should have won the race last year and was fourth in this race in 2017. Ryan Blaney finished runner-up in 2017 and led a race high 118 laps in a seventh place effort a year ago.
They all drive Ford’s.
Want to bet against them?