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Question of the Day: Who's going to win the Daytona 500?

February 16, 2011 | 10:16 am

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Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Shawn Courchesne, Hartford Courant

The restrictor plate racing that takes place for the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway is always a crapshoot. Having the fastest car or being the best driver often can mean nothing if no one on the track will help or if the right lane doesn't open up. 

But sometimes unexpected drivers and teams seem to show a bit extra on the big tracks and in the big events.

And that's been the case of late for Jamie McMurray and his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team. When McMurray won last year's Daytona 500, it was considered a huge upset. Then McMurray went on to win last year in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also won in October at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

McMurray isn't a guy many are throwing out there as a favorite to stop the championship winning streak of Jimmie Johnson, but the possibility of McMurray rising to the occasion when the lights are shining brightest can't be discounted.

On Saturday, it was McMurray pushing Kurt Busch past the checkered flag to victory in the exhibition Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Don't be surprised to see Busch returning the favor on Sunday when McMurray becomes the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1994 and '95 to win consecutive Daytona 500s.

Photo: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray at the Daytona International Speedway. Credit: Douglas Jones / US Presswire

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