Daytona 500 staff picks

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Here is who the NBC Sports staff is picking for today’s Daytona 500.

Nate Ryan

The ace in the hole for Brad Keselowski is the law of averages. Or as he eloquently put it on Daytona 500 Media Day, “I know we have the car that can win this race this year. We have the speed. I feel I have the knowledge and intuition. The last few years, we haven’t caught any breaks (at Daytona). And that pendulum is going to swing and we’re going to catch some good breaks. I believe that in my heart, and I believe this is the year to do it.” Hard to argue with that.

Dustin Long

Brad Keselowski has become the most proficient restrictor-plate racer in the last few years. Add that he has Ford power and likely will have fellow Fords with him at the front and this is shaping up to be the year he finally wins the Daytona 500. Looking for a dark horse? Stay in the Ford camp with Ryan Blaney.

Daniel McFadin

After learning from the end of his Can-Am Duel, two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will officially mark his return to Cup racing with a win. Dark horse: Aric Almirola 

Jerry Bonkowski

While he’s had a relatively quiet Speedweeks, that changes when Kurt Busch finally breaks through to win his first Daytona 500. The older Busch brother has finished second in the “Great American Race” three different times. Back with Ford power, today will be his day.