FOX WATCH: Five who thrive at Daytona

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foxsports admin

Sometimes numbers can speak louder than words. Which is why each week, takes a close look at NASCAR's stat book and comes up with five drivers to keep an eye on. Unless otherwise noted, the stats are for a driver's career and include all Winston Cup races at Daytona International Speedway. These are our picks, but what do you think? Let us know in the , then watch Fox Sports Net's on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET to see how your pick stands up against our experts.
Daytona International Speedway
Driver Races Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Times led Laps led
. 6 1 2 3 0 10 130
COMMENT: It took Dale Earnhardt Sr. 20 tries before he finally won that elusive Daytona 500. Come Sunday, his namesake will be heavily favored to do it in just his fourth attempt. During his win in Saturday¿s Shootout, Junior showed the form that has helped him reach Victory Lane in four of the last eight restrictor-plate races. Besides, he should have DEI teammate right there with him to push him across the finish line.
Michael Waltrip 33 2 7 14 1 22 236
COMMENT: DEI has dominated the restrictor-plate events to the tune of six wins in the last eight events. And that was before NASCAR switched to a common body template, making horsepower even more important than it already was. That¿s good news for Waltrip, who actually has had more success at Daytona than his DEI teammate, with top-five finishes ¿ including two wins ¿ in his last four races at the track.
41 3 12 20 4 54 591
COMMENT: Last year, Marlin was just five laps away from his third Daytona 500 victory. But during a red-flag race stoppage, Marlin made the mistake of getting out of his car to pull a fender off his tire. That¿s a NASCAR no-no and Marlin was sent to the end of the longest line, from where he eventually had to settle for eighth. Marlin should be plenty motivated to make up for the one that got away, while showing that he¿s back from the neck injury that derailed his Winston Cup title chances last year.
8 0 2 2 0 1 1
COMMENT: After finishing 40th and 38th in his first two Daytona 500s, Sadler has steadily made his way up through the pack. He moved into the top 20 in 2001 (18th) before establishing himself as a bona fide contender last year with his runner-up showing. And now that he¿s got Robert Yates ¿ a three-time Daytona 500 winner ¿ providing the horsepower for the No. 38 Ford, Sadler should be ready to take the next step.
3 0 0 0 1 4 18
COMMENT: After claiming three of the six fastest times during qualifying on Monday, it was clear that Richard Childress Racing needed to be represented on the first Fox Watch of the season. Teammate may be on the pole and may have been faster in qualifying, but Harvick is the RCR driver to keep an eye on ¿ and not just because he¿s the only one of the three to ever lead a lap at Daytona. After a rough start to his sophomore campaign, Harvick regrouped in the second half; six of his eight top 10s (including his lone win in 2002) came after the season¿s midway point.

2002 Daytona 500 Top 10

1. (22), Dodge
2. (21), Ford
3. (09), Ford
4. (97), Ford
5. (15), Chevrolet
6. (6), Ford
7. R-Ryan Newman (12), Ford
8. (40), Dodge
9. (24), Chevrolet
10. (10), Pontiac

Previous Daytona 500 Champions

2002 , Dodge, 130.810 mph
2001 , Chevrolet, 161.794 mph
2000 , Ford, 155.669 mph
1999 , Chevrolet, 161.551 mph
1998 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 172.712 mph
1997 , Chevrolet, 148.295 mph
1996 , Ford, 154.308 mph
1995 , Chevrolet, 141.710 mph
1994 , Chevrolet, 156.931 mph
1993 , Chevrolet, 154.972 mph
1992 Davey Allison, Ford, 168.256 mph
1991 Ernie Irvan, Chevrolet, 148.148 mph
1990 , Chevrolet, 165.761 mph
1989 Darrell Waltrip, Chevrolet, 148.466 mph
1988 Bobby Allison, Buick, 137.531 mph
1987 , Ford, 176.263 mph
1986 Geoff Bodine, Chevrolet, 148.124 mph
1985 , Ford, 172.265 mph
1984 Cale Yarborough, Chevrolet, 150.994 mph
1983 Cale Yarborough, Pontiac, 155.979 mph
1982 Bobby Allison, Buick, 153.991 mph
1981 Richard Petty, Buick, 169.651 mph
1980 Buddy Baker, Oldsmobile, 177.602 mph
1979 Richard Petty, Oldsmobile, 143.977 mph
1978 Bobby Allison, Ford, 159.730 mph
1977 Cale Yarborough, Chevrolet, 153.218 mph
1976 David Pearson, Mercury, 152.181 mph
1975 Benny Parsons, Chevrolet, 153.649 mph
1974 Richard Petty, Dodge, 140.894 mph
1973 Richard Petty, Dodge, 157.205 mph
1972 A.J. Foyt, Mercury, 161.550 mph
1971 Richard Petty, Plymouth, 144.462 mph
1970 Pete Hamilton, Plymouth, 149.601 mph
1969 LeeRoy Yarbrough, Ford, 157.950 mph
1968 Cale Yarborough, Mercury, 143.251 mph
1967 Mario Andretti, Ford, 146.926 mph
1966 Richard Petty, Plymouth, 160.627 mph
1965 Fred Lorenzen, Ford, 141.539 mph
1964 Richard Petty, Plymouth, 154.334 mph
1963 Tiny Lund, Ford, 151.566 mph
1962 Fireball Roberts, Pontiac, 152.529 mph
1961 Marvin Panch, Pontiac, 149.601 mph
1960 Junior Johnson, Chevrolet, 124.740 mph
1959 Lee Petty, Oldsmobile, 135.521 mph
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