NASCAR'S biggest race is also the toughest race

NASCAR'S biggest race is also the toughest race

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.

There's a common question surrounding the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series this season. "I'm just looking forward to being in that race auto". And to see them all out there, everyone know how important that win was to Dale. He's been in Junior Motorsports in their cars coming up through the ranks. Those were his only two races here since 2015.

"It's the Daytona 500", he said. He placed 29th at The Glen in 2017, the final vehicle on the lead lap. Elliott's vehicle appeared to handle insanely well and was able to make moves that most other drivers couldn't do. "So, yes, Year 3 is the year I want to make it happen for me". I always wanted Dad to buy gas at the Dino place. I think he gets out front, and when he does, he will be very hard to pass. As Earnhardt drove toward victory lane, crew members from almost every team lined up to congratulate him.

Logano has finished second now twice in Speedweeks.

Pole day qualifying rolled off on Sunday at lunch time and teams were challenged by some different rules to work with. All of these crew chiefs are smart enough to realize that adjustments will need to be made in the practice sessions today (and from Friday) to help the handling issues. This created a look to the cars that reminded you of the moonshiner roots of racing. But our back-up vehicle was pretty fast. "I got sucked around - the air moved me around". Blaney will start third behind pole victor Alex Bowman, who rode conservatively in the back in the first Duel and finished 14th. Denny Hamlin is a 12/1 choice. The front row is locked in for the 500. Johnson and Almirola will start from the rear of the field in backup cars in the Great American Race. Each 150 mile qualifying race will decide starting positions for the inside and outside lanes of the race.

Blaney won the first Duel by holding off Team Penske teammate Joey Logano in a race that feature a number of crashes which took out a large handful of top drives.

Elliott hasn't won yet, one of the biggest upsets in racing.

Earnhardt Jr. has won all his NASCAR races with the support of Goodyear tires - including his first NASCAR Premier Series victory in 2000, and both his DAYTONA 500 victories in 2004 and 2014.

Byron has ascended rapidly through the stock auto ranks by making a stop at each level for one season and will have another different crew for the fifth straight season. There were times when more than 70 cars showed up for the Super Bowl of stock vehicle racing, almost double the starting field we see today.

Six drivers from North Carolina will compete in the Can-Am Duels for a spot in the 500: High Point's Ryan Blaney, Charlotte's William Byron, Lewisville's Austin and Ty Dillon, Mooresville's Jeffrey Earnhardt and Concord's Corey LaJoie.

This week the Duels at Daytona run on Thursday.

Only 36 trucks are entered for the Camping World Truck Series race Friday so four teams will be packing up and headed home.

Since then, Johnson has won the Daytona 500 twice and the top-tier NASCAR cup championship seven times. There will be a lot of action for sure!

Sunday's race will be broadcast by FOX Sports, with coverage starting at 11 a.m. and a Pre-Race Show at 1 p.m. leading up to the 2:30 p.m. start. Remember, at the end of that long super straightaway, there will be another left turn.