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Daytona 400 Race Preview

Written by Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

Image credit - Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports

After the race in Watkins Glen, where William Byron took home his fifth win of the season, while Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski locked down their return to the playoffs, the field will head over to Daytona Beach. This is it. The final race of the regular season, setting up epic battles, potentially enormous upsets, and another exciting end in the chase for a playoff spot. Who will take the final spot? Is it the prodigy in Ty Gibbs? Will Chase Elliott pull a trick out of his bag and take the win? Or would AJ Allmendinger get in for the first time in his career?

Track Preview

This is the most famous race track on the NASCAR calendar, and the second longest oval track only behind Talladega. The Daytona International Speedway is 2.5 miles (4.0 kilometers) long, with 31 degree banking on the turns, and a 18 degree banking on the front stretch. The year 2023 marks the 65th time NASCAR will race in the Daytona 400, and the 153rd time NASCAR has visited Daytona.

The drivers will be bump drafting for 160 laps around the track, with 50 laps each in stages one and two, and 60 laps in stage three. The general race strategy in Daytona would be to form a long line of cars bump drafting, due to restrictor plates limiting engine air intake, which nerfs the engine power.

Daytona is one of the most unpredictable races of the season, so watch out for any drama or huge collisions that might happen. The race will commence at 19:00 ET (16:00 PT, 01:00 CEST) on the 26th of August, Saturday. Weather forecast shows that there will be no rain during the race weekends, so fans won’t have to worry about rain delays.

Race Predictions

The focus of this race would be on the drivers who are fighting for the final playoff spot. AJ Allmendinger is looking to build on all of the momentum in the past weeks and give his all at Daytona. Since 2017, the veteran has never registered a finish outside the top ten in this track. After years of near miss, could this be the year where Allmendinger gives Kaulig Racing their first ever playoff appearance?

On the other hand, rookie Ty Gibbs will also fight for this final playoff spot. He has been nothing short of phenomenal, scoring seven top-ten finishes so far this season. The 20-year old is searching for his maiden victory in the cup series and a playoff berth in his first season. He is right below the cut line, 32 points behind the final playoff spot occupied by Bubba Wallace. Can Gibbs rewrite the public narrative and rise above all else?


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