As much as I was not a fan of moving Daytona out of its 4th of July spot, I got to be honest, I’m pretty hyped for this race Saturday night. This has the makings of being one of the most historic nights in existence with so many drivers vying for that final spot, and more than likely willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

This has the makings of being a blood bath, and I would be floored if we didn’t have a few green-white-checkered finishes. There are going to be names that you’re not used to seeing up at the front and the reason is that they are desperate. Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Matt DiBenedetto, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe, Bubba Wallace, and even Corey LaJoie are all going to be ready to mow over anything in their way to win this race. Honestly, if I was the current locked-in drivers, I would consider just staying out of their way.

It’s going to be an ultra-exciting race and while I think we’re going to see an underdog winner, I’m still gonna pick a favorite out of the usual crew. At this point though, take all this with a grain of salt because nobody can predict what’s going to happen in a sensitive situation like this, but I’m going to at least give you a good educated guess.

Favorite: Ryan Blaney

Blaney is arguably become the best restrictor-plate racer out of the new young crop of drivers. He has a knack for being at the front near the end of every race and while he has more success at Talladega than Daytona, don’t forget he was one poorly timed Ryan Newman nose swipe from winning the 2020 Daytona 500.

He has been the most consistent driver in the last eight races and with him coming off a major momentum win I think he’s more than capable of going back-to-back. If he can avoid the carnage and be there at the end, I think his skill can outmatch the non-playoff driver’s desperation.

Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace

I already said this was going to be a historic night. I think this will end up being the night Bubba Wallace gets a historic win for African Americans in NASCAR as well as getting 23XI Racing and Michael Jordan his first win as a team owner.

Every time we go to a restrictor-plate track, this car has had raw speed that can win, but something always went wrong. Wallace is a skilled restrictor-plate racer and if he can get some help from his Toyota teammates who all want to see this team make the playoffs, I think he’s easily the favorite of the non-playoff guys.

Fantasy:

High-End Picks:

  1. Denny Hamlin: $9,400
  2. Kyle Busch: $9,200
  3. Austin Dillon: $10,300
  4. Brad Keselowski: $10,000
  5. Kyle Larson: $9,000

Mid-Tier Picks:

  1. Ryan Blaney: $8,800
  2. Tyler Reddick: $7,300
  3. William Byron: $8,000
  4. Corey LaJoie: $7,400
  5. Daniel Suarez: $7,800

Low-End Picks:

  1. Bubba Wallace: $6,500
  2. Matt DiBenedetto: $6,700
  3. Chase Briscoe: $5,300
  4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: $6,000
  5. Erik Jones: $6,300

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