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Pepsi 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on July 7, 2007

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The boys of summer roll in to Daytona Beach, Florida to Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400, the second race of the year at the venue and one that drives in to the night.  The Daytona night race is one of the best races of the year along with the Bristol night race, the Daytona 500, and the Brickyard 400.

Every Daytona race is ran by the drivers like it is the last race of their career so it really becomes a tough one to judge.  The February race was won by Kevin Harvick this year while two Hendrick Motorsports boys, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, have won the last two going back before Harvick.  The Summer race (today’s race) has bee dominated by “Smoke” the last two years with Tony Stewart notching back-to-back victories and Jeff Gordon winning the year before that.

Unfortunately, with the winner coming from the front row in the last three Pepsi 400s it is going to be tough to bet against Jeff Gordon (the man on the Pole) this weekend and since he hasn’t won since June 10th, 2007, with the rate he is going this season I guess you can say that he is “due.”

Gordon starts on the pole, the 62nd of his career with Johnson starting 4th, Stewart starting 6th, and Harvick starting 8th.  Here is the rest of the starting grid: Pepsi 400 Starting Grid

The weather forecast for the Green Flag in Daytona Beach, Florida is mid-80s with the temperature dropping to the mid-to-high-70s by the end of the race.  Unfortunately there is 90% chance of rain at race time, and a 50% throughout the race, so it remains to be seen if they will get this one in under the lights or not.  The Green Flag drops at 8:00PM EST.

Predictions:

Winner: Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (has won once in the past three years at both the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 and the Hendrick garage tends to run well at Daytona International Speedway — actually, they run well everywhere)

Others To Watch For:

Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (has won the last two Pepsi 400s and starts in just the 6th position this week after finish 12th last week in New Hampshire) 

Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing (won the Daytona 500 and is one of only seven drivers NOT in the Hendrick garage to win this season in 17 races and finished second in this morning’s Busch race, Harvick starts 8th tonight)

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (won the Daytona 500 here in 2006 and is a Hendrick product starting upfront in the 4th position)

Dale Earnhardt, Junior -#8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (won the Pepsi 400 in 2001 and the Daytona 500 in 2004 and has run real well as of late nearly getting the victory last week in New Hampshire finishint 4th)

Most Laps Lead: Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (having won the last two Pepsi 400s, he starts near the top today in the 6th position and has lead at least one lap in the past seven races at Daytona)

Sleeper: Greg Biffle – #16 Ameriquest Ford – Roush Racing (won the Pepsi 400 in 2003 and starts within striking distance in the 18th position as long as he can stay out of early trouble and avoid “the big one”)

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