Different Daytona from February doesn't bode poorly for Dale Jr.
JUL 02, 2014 4:00p ET
We are back under the Saturday-night lights with racing this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. There have been five guys who have swept both Daytona races over the years. Fans have already been asking me if Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be the sixth.
My answer is pretty simple. There really is absolutely no reason why Dale Jr. couldn't make the 2014 Daytona sweep. He has been so focused and competitive this year. Crew chief Steve Letarte has been on top of his game this season. Obviously, the No. 88 bunch comes into this weekend with a full head of steam.
Dale Jr. has two wins. He is sitting third in the points, plus he's obviously locked into the 2014 Chase. After 17 races, he has nine top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes. I expect them to come back to Daytona with a car more focused on handling than speed. I simply don't see a single reason why he can't make the Daytona sweep.
Despite the fact the race is under the lights, the conditions Saturday night should make the track a lot slicker than it was in February. Obviously, between the Daytona 500 and now the track has been sitting in the hot Florida sun. So the cars simply aren't going to handle as well as they did in February.
Obviously, we saw a pretty darn good race at Daytona in February but the conditions are just completely different when you come back in the July heat. Don't get me wrong, we're going to have a great race.
The drivers are going to be worried more about getting their car to handle better. I know it sounds weird, but they will be worried more about comfort than speed. Whoever can get their car to handle the best with the different track conditions is going to have a great shot Saturday night.