Inside Daytona: Midweek Storylines

An early morning look at the midweek storylines surrounding Speedweeks in Daytona.

Rise and shine race fans! Media Day was a blast, and as the focus now turns to the track, there's been a ton of buzz and excitement heading into this weekend's Daytona 500. Here are a few things we picked up on from yesterday's time with the drivers...

Locked and Loaded for Thursday
Don't expect the race rubbing from Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited to have any kind of effect on the on-track action for Thursday's duels. Any concerns about taking saving equipment for Sunday were quickly dismissed by 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick. "It's a race," the No. 4 driver said. "We're competitive and when that green flag drops, any kind of plan goes out the window and you just want to win." Brad Keselowski took a break from singing Rush to weigh in on his approach to Thursday's duels. "I've never been in a race where I didn't want to get out front and (race to win)."

Singing Chase's Praises
Chase Elliott made history Sunday by becoming the youngest-ever Daytona 500 pole winner. But don't think that the rest of the field views Chase as a mere fluke. Teammate Jimmie Johnson knows that Hendrick has something special in the rookie; "He's got a very good pulse on things. We all see it, we all know it." Matt Kenseth, who as of today will start opposite of Elliott on the front row of Sunday's race, has also been impressed by what he's seen of the rookie so far. "I'm not worried about (his lack of experience) at all. He's proven his ability over the last several years." 

A Stacked Rookie Class
Chase isn't the only rookie with his hat in the ring for the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, with Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing), Chris Buescher (Front Row Motorsports) and Brian Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports) ready to go head-to-head. With 13 NASCAR National Series wins and three Series championships between them, drivers think this could be one of the deepest and most talented rookie classes to date.

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