HomeSportsNASCAR Cup drivers to watch at Daytona International Speedway

NASCAR Cup drivers to watch at Daytona International Speedway

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Daytona International Speedway on Saturday for the regular season finale (7 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

This is the last chance for playoff hopeful drivers to take the last spot. Austin Dillon is the defending winner.

One race remains until the Cup play-offs begin. These are the drivers to watch at the Daytona night race.


Austin Dillon

Points position: 29th

Best result this season: 3rd (Bristol dirt)

Past Daytona: He tops this list because he won the regular season finale last season to secure his ticket to the playoffs. This was his second superspeedway win after the 2018 Daytona 500. He has 20 superspeedway starts with nine top-10 finishes, four top-fives and an average finish of 15.6.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Points position: 15th

Best result this season: 1st (Daytona 500)

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Past Daytona: He has three cup wins in his career. One was at Talladega in 2017. The other two were at Daytona. He won the 2017 summer race and this year’s Daytona 500. He has a chance to beat the Daytona races and add more playoff points to his tally.

Bubba Wallace

Points position: 14th

Best result this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Charlotte)

Past Daytona: He has 12 starts with four top-10 finishes and four top-fives (three runner-ups). His average superspeedway finish is 13.0. He doesn’t need to win to reach the playoffs. He just needs to capitalize on his 32-point lead over Ty Gibbs, put in a solid performance, and hope there isn’t another winner.

Danny Hamlin

Points position: 2nd

Best result this season: 1st (Kansas I, Pocono)

Past Daytona: In the summer race, he has no win, but he has won the Daytona 500 three times (2016, 2019, 2020). He has 12 top-10 finishes and 11 top-fives in 35 career starts. He needs a strong performance to beat Martin Truex Jr. to chase for the regular season championship.

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Byron flourishes, Elliott disappears after The Glen

The Motormouths talk about Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Chase Elliott and how Byron achieves a new one in his career as Elliott feels the pressure at the end of the season.


Martin Truex Jr.

Points position: 1st

Best result this season: 1st (Dover, Sonoma, New Hampshire)

Past Daytona: He has 34 cup wins to his name. None have taken place on a superspeedway. He has six top-10 finishes and three top-five finishes in 36 career starts at Daytona, with a league-leading second-place finish in 2016 and 2018. He finished 15th in the Daytona 500 this season after suffering heavy damage in an incident with several cars on the final stage. He needs to score 22 points on Saturday to hold off Hamlin for the regular-season championship.

Ty Gibbs

Points position: 16th

Best result this season: 5th (Pocono, Watkins Glen)

Past Daytona: He has two Cup starts at Daytona. Last season he finished 13th while driving for 23XI Racing. He finished 25th in the Daytona 500 this season after suffering damage in a multi-car incident on the final stage. Daytona is his last chance to pass Wallace and clinch the final playoff spot.

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Pursue Elliott

Points position: 21st

Best result this season: 2nd (Fontana, Indianapolis)

Past Daytona: He has 15 starts at Daytona with four top-10 finishes, two top fives and three starts from the pole. His best results were second in 2020 and 2021. He crashed in the last two Daytona races. He needs a win to reach the playoffs.

Daniel Suarez

Points position: 18th

Best result this season: 2nd (Atlanta II)

Past Daytona: He has twelve starts, one of which was in the top 10. This year he finished seventh in the Daytona 500. He has nine DNFs due to crashes. He needs to make up 43 points to take Bubba Wallace for the final playoff spot.

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