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NASCAR Picks for Daytona

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25. David Ragan, #34 CSX Transportation/Peanut Patch, Front Row Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]

Ragan's overall numbers at the plate tracks in recent years have been impressive, but he has done a majority of his damage at Talladega. His numbers have been much more modest at Daytona, and since winning the fall race in 2011, he has finished 22nd or worse in all four starts.

26. Austin Dillon, #3 Dow Chemical/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class C]

He will lead the field to the green Sunday, but Dillon doesn't have much of a track record at Daytona. His lone Cup Series debut at the track came in last year's Daytona 500 when he finished 31st. Dillon is a wild card for sure, but given that he has already won the pole and is driving for a Richard Childress Racing organization with a proven plate program, he could still be worth a look as a sleeper option.

27. David Gilliland, #38 Love's Travel Stops/A&W Restaurants, Front Row Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]

His Front Row Motorsports teammate David Ragan has made more noise at the plate tracks the past couple of years, but Gilliland has been solid in his own right. In his last six starts at Daytona, he has three finishes of 16th or better, including a top-15 last July. Like Ragan, he has been even better at Talladega, but Gilliland is still in play as a sleeper option this weekend.

28. A.J. Allmendinger, #47 Kingsford/Clorox, JTG Daugherty Racing [Yahoo Class B]

When he has run well at Daytona, he has been stout, but Allmendinger has had his share of disasters as well. In nine career starts at the track, he has finished 11th or better three times. However, he has also finished outside the top 30 five times. He is a very risky sleeper play this weekend.

29. Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]

Almirola has made plenty of strides as a driver the past couple of seasons, but he is still looking for a breakout performance at Daytona. He only has one top-15 in five starts at the track, and he has finished 30th or worse three times.

30. Trevor Bayne, #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane, Wood Brothers Racing [Yahoo Class C]

It is impossible to forget Bayne's upset victory in the Daytona 500 in his first-ever start at the track. However, he hasn't been able to recapture that magic. In five starts since the victory, he has yet to finish better than 20th. More concerning is the fact that he has a 30.0 average finish during the five races.


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Brian Polking Brian Polking -
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Cincinnati, OH
FFToolbox Fantasy NASCAR Writer since 2011
I grew up in a racing family, and I spent my childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky. NASCAR became a passion of mine at an early age as well, and I have been following the sport ever since I can remember. While I earned my degree in journalism at Ohio State University, I began writing about NASCAR for several Web sites in 2005. I became head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com and FantasyCup.com in 2008 and was a finalist for the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association NASCAR Writer of the Year in 2009. My knowledge of NASCAR stems from my lifelong love of the sport, and I believe that passion shows through in every article I write.