By admin | February 1, 2012
By Richard Allen
Last year when Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 he epitomized the image of a dark horse winner. Few people were able to go to work the next day and remind their friends that they had correctly picked this unlikely victor because he was so unlikely.
This year, one potential surprise winner immediately comes to mind as those with a keen eye for upsets look over the Daytona 500 entry list. Ever since it was announced that Elliott Sadler would driver the number 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, the Emporia, Virginia driver has seemed like the perfect choice to add as a low cost yet relatively safe choice for any fantasy team. Or, this could be the driver who could offer an observant fan the opportunity for a little Monday morning “I told you so.”
In 2011, the number 33 car, then driven by Clint Bowyer, was a threat to win every time it unloaded off the truck at the restrictor plate tracks. Bowyer finished a somewhat disappointing 17th after falling back in the late laps as many of the other cars with the same engine package suffered failures. However, the car had led 31 laps throughout the event and certainly looked like a potential visitor to victory lane in the early and middle stretches.
Bowyer led 38 laps in the number 33 ride on his way to a runner-up finish in the spring race at Talladega. A 3rd place qualifying effort in July at Daytona was ruined by a crash which resulted in a 36th place finish.
In Talladega’s fall event, all the chips fell into place for Bowyer when he just edged RCR teammate Jeff Burton for the win. He had led 25 laps in that race before getting himself and his drafting partner set up for the last lap dash to the checkered flag.
Also consider that the reason for choosing Sadler as a dark horse pick is not only due to the car. Sadler has had some very good runs on the two restrictor plate tracks in Daytona and Talladega. He has posted four top-5s and nine top-10s at Daytona, including a 2nd place result in the 2002 Daytona 500. The driver’s record has not been quite as good at Talladega due to a number of crashes, but he has led 125 laps on the giant Alabama facility.
So, if you want to add a low cost pick to your fantasy team that will actually have a shot at a good finish, if not even a win, or if you simply want to be able to brag to your friends that you made a surprise pick that proved to be correct, Elliott Sadler and the number 33 RCR car are among the top choices to serve those purposes.
I currently have 1880 followers on Twitter. If I reach 2000 by the day of the Daytona 500 I will host a ‘Pick the Winner’ contest for that race which will pay $50 to the winner. So, if you are already on Twitter follow @RacingWithRich for a chance to win. If you’re not on Twitter come on board and join the discussion.
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