Tag Archives: Budweiser Duels

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will Win the Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt Jr. last won the NASCAR Daytona 500 in 2004, ten years ago, but he has finished 2nd three of the last four years. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Daytona 500 this year.

Since NASCAR changed to the Car of Tomorrow, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not been able to get the magic back and win at Daytona. That isn’t to say he has not raced well. Any driver in the garage would take his record. He just hasn’t won.

Watching the Sprint Unlimited and the Budweiser Duels, racing with the new cars resembles more the racing of old when Dale Jr. last won then the past five years when he was just a car to contend with.

“You used to use a side-draft as an offensive move, where you would get up on the guy’s quarter panel and stall him out and it would give you a boost and you’d pull away like jumping a boat wake and get out away from him so he could not do the same thing to you and you would make a pass. That was how we used to use that with success” Earnhardt Jr. added, “But now, there’s an extreme stall when you side-draft a guy and it really kills his car. But before you can get out and get away from him, it starts to kill your car and you sort of sit there and just fight on each other’s quarter panels until somebody tucks-in behind one of you and pushes you through.”

What it really looks like now is that a driver can use what is going on around him to his advantage. They don’t have to have a driver tucked directly behind their car to get to the front. This is much the way it was when Dale Earnhardt Jr. could seemingly move to the front and pass no matter who was behind him or what lane he was in. For this reason alone Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Daytona 500.

In the first Budweiser Duel Earnhardt Jr. appeared to try both the high line and the low line learning what he could about this new car and the draft. Though he didn’t time it right and finished fourth, you could tell he had a plan.

Earnhardt Jr. said, “Real happy with the way my car drove.  Sat there all the way until the end to make a move and you know that is what we are doing.  We are all waiting to make a move and I went to make a move and nobody got on the elevator with me.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start the Daytona 500 from the ninth position but don’t expect that to last very long.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 it will be broadcast live on Fox starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevy Racing

 

Austin Dillon Should Go for Broke in the Budweiser Duels

Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500. There is a lot of prestige in winning the pole and leading the field to the green flag in the Daytona 500. Dillon also gets to start the first of the Budweiser Duel qualifying races from the Pole. He is guaranteed that he will be in the Daytona 500 no matter what happens in the qualifying races.

In years past we have seen those that win the pole or are otherwise guaranteed a starting spot,race in a timid or conservative fashion such that there would be no damage to their proven fast car. The question is why?

Just about every team changes engines after the qualifying races so there are no guarantees that the car will be just as fast. Rarely does starting the Daytona 500 from the front increase the odds of winning. Recent winners started from 9, 4, 32, 13, 39, 7, 34, 9, 15, and 3rd.

In racing you never get a “Do Over” or Mulligan for those golfers out there, but by winning the pole for the Daytona 500 you get the closest thing. You get the opportunity to race in a qualifying race without any inhibitions. It doesn’t matter if you wreck, you are in the Daytona 500 anyway.

Austin Dillon should have the advantage over everyone else in his qualifying race. He has nothing to prove but lots to learn about the new car. No stress, no worries. He should be able to win this race.

When he gets back to Daytona in July he can get the pole and race to win, because in July four of the last ten races have been won from the pole eight from the top ten. Until then he should use the power of the pole to make his Daytona 500 experience the best it can be.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway the Budweiser Duels will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 Thursday February 20that 7 PM ET. Austin Dillon will be leading the first of two Duels to green.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.

Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images