Here's the Starting Lineup for the 2018 Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH FL- FEBRUARY 24 Brad Keselowski driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford practices for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Power Shares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway

Entering his 17th full-time season, Johnson can overtake Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty with an eighth title but he'll have his work cut out in Sunday's Great American Race. The checkered flag is highly coveted but always elusive. But it forces them to drive in packs, which pretty much guarantees that even the tiniest mistake could take out multiple cars. And getting to the finish line typically requires a little finesse, skill and luck to avoid wrecking and remain in contention by lap 200.

The oldest driver in the Daytona 500 field is truly a race veteran. Here's what they said. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. We're prepared, we're ready. "We have the new Camaro ZL1 to compete in this year so it's making it kind of easy to turn the page on last year and focus on building the fastest vehicle for 2018". It's blowing my mind.

It hasn't happened at the Daytona 500.

We covered all the dirt track events at East Bay Raceway in the last column and there's still some dirt tracking to be done in Georgia and Florida and we will fill in the blanks in the next few columns. "I feel like less pressure, more relaxed, more confident than I've ever been".

"We got off to a good start last year and unfortunately as the year went on we couldn't get the vehicle to perform like we wanted to", Johnson said.

Logano won the Daytona 500 back in 2015 and has since finished sixth or better in three of the past five Daytona races. We've got you completely covered. That being said, it's the guys and gals that know how to run up front who will be the ones to watch and probably the one's at the end fighting for the checkers. I've been here doing this for a long, long time. "I haven't been able to sit back and say, 'Wow, I'm an Xfinity driver.' There's just been so much preparation".

Ford drivers have speed, but 2007 victor Kevin Harvick noted the cars are much harder to drive under new NASCAR technical regulations. When it's your day, it's your day.

More news: Weekend weather wrap-up: snow then dry & warm

He doesn't really know the rest of the drivers in a field that has six drivers under the age of 30 in the first eight spots. It was good to hear their thoughts on the new season and, of course, the countdown to the Spring Toyota Race Weekend at Richmond Raceway on April 20-21. The front row was "locked in" on February 11 with 500 Qualifying with Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota) qualifying 1-2. "I'm not in the position to be anxious about what's on the other side if it's not promised.

Brad Keselowski got things started this week with his victory in the Advance Auto Parts Clash and then his Penske teammates went 1-2 in the first duel on Thursday night. I'd have to find somewhere else to race. (Laughs) Confidence is king. I learned a lot watching them, being teammates with them. Before I get into the fantasy breakdown and picks I would like to share with you my experience for the Daytona 500. I don't really like to do that because I feel like it's bad mojo. I think you just kind of absorb all that knowledge over the years. Everybody's strategy is a little bit different. Now I need to stay back.

"Not the way I wanted to start Speedweeks with our Smithfield Ford Fusion, but we will get another vehicle out and get ready for the rest of the weekend".

"Why am I gonna win?" I am now in an office in the Daytona 500 club which is situated on the infield right on the start/finish line. It's as simple as that.

Elliott hasn't won yet, one of the biggest upsets in racing. The balance of the top 10 were, in order: Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne, Denny Hamlin and AJ Allmendinger. Keselowski then slid back up the track but McMurray quickly closed the gap, giving Keselowski no where to go.

"Honestly, the Kaulig Racing thing came out of nowhere". It's hard to plan because this stuff's unpredictable.

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