Facts about Danica Patrick and the Daytona 500.
WHY DANICA PATRICK MATTERS: Ex-IndyCar star is making her Cup debut.
WHAT HE SAYS: "I feel good about Daytona."
WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY: She averaged a 12th-place finish in two Daytona Nationwide starts last year.
NEXT RACE Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway
THE LOWDOWN Two years ago, a pothole interrupted NASCAR’s most important race. So Daytona officials repaved the last year track — and the smooth new surface contributed to the dreaded "tandem drafting." Now, if the Budweiser Shootout is any indication, that smooth new surface could get carved up in a hurry, from all those burning, tumbling cars. Nevertheless, drivers seem to prefer pack racing to tandem style. "Even though we crashed more tonight," said Marcos Ambrose, who finished third in the Shootout, "you just feel like you were in control of your own destiny a little more out there."
2011 Trevor Bayne
2010 Jamie McMurray
2009 Matt Kenseth
2008 Ryan Newman
2007 Kevin Harvick
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Fla.), 2.5-mile paved oval
RACE LENGTH: 200 laps (500 miles)
FIRST RACE: 1959
SERIES: NASCAR Sprint Cup