One year ago, William Byron scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory when the series headed to Daytona for its regular season finale. Back in February, Michael McDowell came from out of nowhere both figuratively and literally to win the Daytona 500 and capture his first career Cup triumph in his 358th start. Will Saturday night’s showdown under the lights at The World Center of Racing produce yet another breakthrough winner? Don’t bet against it.
The nature of the racing at Daytona is such that almost anyone can win if they get the right push from the right person at the right time. To have a shot at victory, a driver simply needs to stay out of trouble all night and be running near the front when the white flag waves. From there, it’s anyone’s guess what might go down — and it’s virtually anyone’s race to win. Or lose.
Among those hungry for their first career win — and who could realistically get it at Daytona - are 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace, Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick. All three have run well at Daytona in the past, so to count them out would be a grave mistake. Especially with a playoff berth being on the line. Not to mention, there are few if any tracks where most drivers would rather get their first win than Daytona International Speedway — the fabled 2.5-mile superspeedway built by the late NASCAR founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France and often known as the birthplace of NASCAR.