Daytona 500

Daytona 500 Qualifying: Drivers Who Will Fade After Strong Qualification

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, prepares to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIFebruary 23, 2013

The Daytona 500 is an extremely difficult race to predict, and an impressive showing in qualifying guarantees a driver absolutely nothing.

A strong start can fade into a disappointing finish in a shockingly short period of time, and there will be several drivers disgusted with their performance on Sunday.

The drivers who impressed in the Duels will face high expectations, but this does not mean they will deliver results.

Here are the NASCAR stars who impressed in the lead up to the Daytona 500, but will not deliver on Sunday.

  

Jimmie Johnson 

Johnson finished fourth in Duel 1 and is certainly one of the very best drivers in NASCAR today. 

But he has struggled at the sport’s marquee race in recent years, and that will continue.

His lone Daytona 500 victory came in 2006. He finished 42nd in 2012 after an accident and came in 27th in 2011.

There hasn’t been many reasons to get excited about Johnson at the Dayton 500 in the past couple seasons, and that will continue Sunday.

 

Austin Dillon 

Dillon is one of the most exciting young drivers in NASCAR, but there will be serious questions about his ability to perform on Sunday.

The 22-year-old will be taking part in the Daytona 500 for the first time in his career. Most guys his age will be drinking beer with their friends during the race, but he will have to fend off the sports’ best drivers with the entire racing world watching.

It will take incredible concentration and a nearly flawless performance to win “The Great American Race,” and Dillon will not be able to deliver this without knowing what to expect.

Dillon’s time at Daytona will come, but Sunday will not be his day, despite a third-place finish in Duel 2.

 

Clint Bowyer

The second-place curse will start doing its work early this season.

Starting in 2008, none of the runners-up in the Sprint Cup Series standings were able to finish higher than ninth in the following season.

The jinx has taken down Carl Edwards twice, while also nailing Mark Martin and Denny Hamlin. Now it’s Bowyer’s turn.

Even though he finished fourth in Duel 2, he will not be able to continue putting on impressive performances on Sunday. 

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