The NASCAR Cup Series continues today with the 2021 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Matt DiBenedetto- Matty D has come alive at the end of summer, with 6 straight top 11 finishes, including back to back top 6 runs. Daytona has been kind and cruel to Matt in his career, with 5 top 15 showings, as well 6 finishes of 25th or worse. He’s shown prowess on superspeedways in his career, he’s peaking at the right time of the season, and he’s looking for a ride in 2022. Matty D rises to the occasion and brings home his 1st career win and the 100th career win for the Wood Brothers as an organization tonight at Daytona!
Top 10: Denny Hamlin- Hamlin has been the Daytona Whisperer in his career, with 3 wins and 11 top 5’s in 31 career starts. Hamlin has finished in the top 5 at Daytona in 5 of his last 7 starts, with 2 wins during that stretch. Hamlin has had a mix of great and mid pack finishes since the All-Star Race and is in need of some momentum heading into the playoffs. Hamlin will finish in the top 10 tonight and no doubt be a threat to win on the final lap.
Dark Horse: Corey LaJoie- LaJoie got off to a slow start this year, with 7 finishes outside the top 25 in his first 8 starts. He’s had just 3 finishes outside the top 25 in 16 starts since then. Like several other drivers, LaJoie has found a way to avoid the big one at Daytona, with 3 top finishes here in his last 4 starts. I expect LaJoie to avoid the big one tonight and bring home a strong top 15 run.
Driver to Fade: Daniel Suarez- Daytona has not been kind to Suarez in his career, with a beat finish of 17th in 8 starts and wrecking out 7 times during that stretch. Suarez has also struggled the past few weeks, with 4 finishes of 30th or worse in his last 6 starts. Suarez is a lock to wreck and will finish outside the top 20 without a doubt.