With all the different opinions around Las Vegas, let’s hear what all the experts think.
Kelly Airgood (Boulder Station): "Tony Stewart has been just about bad as bad can be over his career at Daytona. The last two finishes in the Daytona 500 don’t reflect Stewart’s actual skills on the track. He’s just had poor luck. I think the better indicators are his back to back Bud Shootout wins. Just like Jarrett and Gordon did a few years ago, I think the defending Cup champion will come in and win."
Scott Reynolds (Mandalay Bay): "I like Ryan Newman a lot. I know many people out there think he’s too inexperienced, but that’s what impresses me about him. He is so good with such little experience."
Fred Crespi (Palms): "Sterling Marlin has been strong in the last two Daytona 500 races and I think he’s on the verge of getting his third 500 victory. He needs a good performance to prove he’s back from injury and has no lingering affects. Keep your eye on Ricky Rudd as well. The Woods Brothers restrictor plate program has been greatly enhanced the last two seasons. Look for a good run from Rudd."
Kevin Klein (Excalibur): "I’m looking for an upper echelon veteran to win this year. After reviewing everything, I continue to come up with Dale Jarrett. The Yates engine program says they’re even quicker this year than usual, which is not good news for the rest of the drivers."
Jay Kornegay (Imperial Palace): "Each of the last three decades, there has been a back to back Daytona 500 champion. Only three drivers have done it and I like Ward Burton’s chances to continue the trend this year."
Bert Cirincione (Sunset Station): "Jeff Gordon is ready to rebound and make a splash in NASCAR’s Super Bowl to announce to all that he’s back."
Hugh Citron (Mandalay Bay): "Jeff Gordon was fast at Daytona testing and all indications from the DuPont team are that Gordon has never been as focused and determined as this year. He’s a four-time winner at Daytona, but has only cracked the top 20 twice in his last 7 races there. Last season’s 500 could have been his if Sterling Marlin had raced clean. I see a big rebound for Gordon on the season and at Daytona." ”” Micah Roberts