Ten things to watch for in Daytona 500 qualifying

Danica Patrick shocked NASCAR by winning the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. (AFP)

Danica Patrick shocked NASCAR by winning the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. (AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:25 PM ET

1: DANICA FACTOR — Last year Danica Patrick shocked the stock car racing world by winning the pole position in her rookie year. Unfortunately it was almost all downhill from there for professional sport’s most recognized female athlete.

2: THE OUTLAW — In yet another incarnation, Kurt Busch, will attempt to win his first Daytona 500, this time with a fourth different team in the No. 41 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet. Busch is extremely talented, but has a temper to match.

3: BACK IN THE SADDLE — Last year was a lost year for Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team after he broke his back in a wreck at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin wants to prove he is still a winner and a pole at Daytona will do just that.

4: ROOKIE CLASS — Any of six highly touted rookies — Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Parker Kligerman, Michael Annett and Ryan Truex — are worth watching as they attempt to make their mark in Sprint Cup.


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