Ryan Newman | No. 39 Outback Steak House Chevrolet | Stewart-Haas Racing
After winning the 2008 Daytona 500, Newman only managed a single top-20 in eight straight DIS starts until finishing fifth last July and adding another fifth in this year's season opener. Newman suffered a DNF due to a crash at Talladega but has qualified quite well there and broke a similar streak of poor results last October.
Danica Patrick | No. 10 GoDaddy.com/.US Chevrolet | Stewart-Haas Racing
Back in February, Patrick landed a pole position for the Daytona 500 and finished eighth while matching race winner Jimmie Johnson for the top average running position of the day (fifth). While she hasn't managed a top-10 finish since, Patrick was working on a respectable showing at Talladega before being collected in a large wreck late in the race. Patrick has qualified well at Daytona in the Nationwide Series and could put together another decent showing if she lands another good starting spot.
Michael Waltrip | No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing
In his most recent start of 2013, Waltrip recorded a fourth-place finish at Talladega. He drove in the Daytona 500 for another team and finished 22nd but recorded a top-10 result in this race a year ago. Waltrip still has a knack for teaming up with the right drivers at the right time to make a run to the front.
Temper your expectations
Kurt Busch | No. 78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet | Furniture Row Racing
Busch has finished inside the top 15 in six of the last seven races this season and seventh or better in three of the last four. However, he's finished down multiple laps in three straight Daytona races. At Talladega, Busch hasn't finished on the lead lap in each of his last four starts, suffering three DNFs. While his success in somewhat limited equipment has been surprising, Busch continues to come up empty on plate tracks.
David Ragan | No. 34 Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts Ford | Front Row Motorsports
Ragan won this event back in 2011 and was again a surprise winner earlier this season at Talladega. Unfortunately, while he's shown flashes of ability in plate races, Ragan has also crashed in three consecutive Daytona races. Ragan still makes for a decent bottom-tier play as long as you set limited expectations.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
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