Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2013, 8:41 pm

Don't try to predict today's race

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By Anthony Sandoval, asando@qconline.com

Every Daytona 500 has its twists and turns, literally, but this year's 55th running of the Great American Racecould be the most unpredictableof themall.

Throw in all that has changed with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and your guess is as good as mine.

As always, you're going to need a lot of speed. Especiallyto pass the leaderin this year's race. With the new generation 6 stock cars, there has been a noticeable trend going on. For the first time in years, the leading car is the strongest car instead of being the lame duck on the final lap.

That means we're not going to see an exciting last lap pass coming off of Turn 4 today, unless everybody hangs the leader out to dry with no drafting help whatsoever. You're going to need help, no doubt about it, but any move the driver makes for all the glorywill come witha lap anda half or even two to go.

Driver'sto watch: I could bore you with a favorite such as Tony Stewart,Brad Keselowskior even Kyle Busch, but I'm going to throw a curveball. Everyone knowsthe restrictor-plate track haveseen its fair share of first-time winners in the Cupseries. With the new car making its debut,and everybody learning the ropes itlevels the playing field.

Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Danica Patrick andAric Almirola have impressed this week.All four of these drivers are phenomenal talents, and there is no doubt in my mind they have just as good a shot as the 39 other drivers. It's all about putting yourself in the right spot at the right time.

With all due respect to the other threewinless drivers, Austin Dillon is mypick to win after his very impressive run in Thursday's Budweiser Duel. Dillon adapts to new environments very quickly and looks to have agood grip on the new car.Unlike the others, who are full time drivers, this is one of just a few races Dillon willbe running in the Cup series, so he will be looking to impress.

If you have anything you want to note about this year's Daytona 500 or disagree with my pick, please, feel free tosend me yours.
Anthony Sandoval can be reached on twitter @ASandoval_DA or by email asando@qconline.com