Drivers who could make waves at Daytona Photo by Jeremy Thompson/

By Brian DeGruchy
July 2, 2016
Staff Reporter

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

There are ten races to go before the Chase starts and Daytona could pave the way for drivers to get closer to a playoff spot on Saturday night.

To be apart of the Chase, one win may help eligibility, but it might not guarantee a driver a position in the Chase this year as there are still some big names like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott who have still yet to score a victory.

There have already been eleven winners this year, and with ten races to go until the Chase, six new winners could leave someone left out of the Chase with a win.

Here are the top-five drivers outside of the Chase right now that could punch their ticket to the playoffs.

Ryan Blaney
We all remember when Trevor Bayne did what a lot of people thought was the impossible and won the Daytona 500 in 2011. What do Blaney and Bayne have in common?

They have both run with the same team, the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. Blaney’s best finish at a restrictor plate track is fourth (Talladega 05/2016) and his average finish at restrictor plate tracks is 22.67, according to Blaney is currently the first driver outside the Chase cutline, and what a better way to get into the Chase than to do it at Daytona.

Kasey Kahne
The lowest Hendrick Motorsports car in the Chase standings, Kahne has had a mediocre year in comparison to his teammates, but that could all change with a win on Saturday. As of recent, Kahne has not done well at Daytona, averaging a 22nd place finish in the last ten races.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/The Racing Experts

In 50 career superspeedway races in the Sprint Cup Series, Kahne’s best finish is second twice, including a runner-up finish in the 2010 Coke Zero 400.

But Kahne has Hendrick power and getting out in front will be key for him to get the win at Daytona.
Kahne currently holds the final Chase spot, three points above Ryan Blaney.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. After a promising start to the season, Stenhouse has been going in the wrong direction as of late. Peaking at 14th in driver’s standings after Fontana in March, Stenhouse currently sits 21st in driver’s standings, 33 points behind the Chase cutline.
Averaging an 18th place finish in the last six races, unless Stenhouse gets a win at Daytona, he will miss making the Chase.
If he can pull off the finish and get a win at Daytona, Stenhouse will find himself in the Chase. In 14 career Sprint Cup Series starts at superspeedway venues, Stenhouse has finished inside the top-ten four times, with a best of third at Talladega in October of 2013.
Trevor Bayne Remember that Trevor Bayne dude I talked about a little bit earlier? I have to consider him giving the field a run for their money here in Daytona.
Bayne has not done too well in restrictor plate races since the Daytona win. Bayne has an average finish of 28th in restrictor plate races in his last ten races at restrictor plate races. Although Bayne has an average finish of 18th in his last six races. Bayne’s best tracks are restrictor plate tracks.
He can be a good bet get a win and punch his way into the Chase.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/The Racing Experts
Kyle Larson
What a surge Kyle Larson has been on lately. He has not inside the Chase currently, but his runs as of late have propelled him to gain ground on the Chase cutline.
Larson has not been good at restrictor plate races in his career, but he should be in the hunt for a win at Daytona.

In ten career starts at superspeedways in the Sprint Cup Series, Larson has finished inside the top-ten twice, including a seventh-place effort in the Daytona 500 this year.
Larson has had two top-five finishes in his last six races and looks like the guy we had him pegged to be when the season started. He will be in the hunt for the win and probably has the best chance to get the win out of the guys out of the Chase at this point.

Which driver will finish highest in the Coke Zero 400?
No. 5 Kasey Kahne
No. 6 Trevor Bayne
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 42 Kyle Larson
trivia quiz