NASCAR Preseason Power Rankings – Dillon will start from the pole in Sunday’s Daytona 500

 Our long national nightmare is over: The NASCAR off-season has ended and it’s finally time to get back to racing.

 Denny Hamlin kicked things off Saturday night with a victory in the Sprint Unlimited under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, and the next day Austin Dillon won the pole for the Daytona 500. Game on!

NASCAR-dale-earnhardt-jr2_small NASCAR Preseason Power Rankings - Dillon will start from the pole in Sunday's Daytona 500

RK DRIVER WINS CHANGE HIGH/LOW COMMENTS
1

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

0 0/0
It’s way early, but Junior had the best qualifying effort of the four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets and the best finish Saturday night, too.

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2

Denny Hamlin

0 0/0
At long last, Hamlin is healthy. His Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was the dominant car on Saturday night, when he led the most laps and won all three segments of the Sprint Unlimited.

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3

Jimmie Johnson

0 0/0
Although he hasn’t shown much so far at Daytona, Johnson’s track record earns him a spot high up in the rankings. Don’t underestimate him.

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4

Austin Dillon

0 0/0
Life is good for Dillon, who at the ripe old age of 23 is on the Daytona 500 pole in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

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5

Tony Stewart

0 0/0
Back from the worst injury of his career, Stewart is hungry and motivated, and that makes him very dangerous indeed.

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6

Matt Kenseth

0 0/0
Don’t expect the 2003 champion and ’13 runner-up to fall victim to the dreaded runner-up jinx this season. He and his team are too good.

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7

Greg Biffle

0 0/0
The Biff showed tremendous speed on Sunday, when he was the fastest of the Ford drivers and third overall.

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8

Kevin Harvick

0 0/0
Although Speedweeks didn’t start out great for Harvick, he’ll be heard from before they end.

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9

Martin Truex Jr.

0 0/0
Great qualifying effort for Truex, who will start the Daytona 500 on the outside of Row 1 next to Dillon.

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10

Kyle Busch

0 0/0
The younger Busch looked plenty speedy in the Sprint Unlimited and could be in for a great season.

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11

Carl Edwards

0 0/0
Not known as a great restrictor-plate racer, Edwards was fourth in qualifying, which was strong.

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12

Brad Keselowski

0 0/0
After last year’s debacle, expect a return to top form for the 2012 champ this year.

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13

Jeff Gordon

0 0/0
Hard to tell what the Hendrick cars have, but Gordon is as good as anyone here.

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14

Kurt Busch

0 0/0
A disappointing qualifying run for Busch, but he should bounce back quickly.

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15

Ryan Newman

0 0/0
In his first weekend with Richard Childress Racing, Newman showed plenty of speed.

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16

Joey Logano

0 0/0
After a career-best 2013 season, Logano will be looking to keep improving.

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17

Kasey Kahne

0 0/0
A quiet first weekend of Speedweeks for Kahne, the only Hendrick driver not in the Sprint Unlimited.

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18

Clint Bowyer

0 0/0
In his contract year with Michael Waltrip Racing, Bowyer will be looking to put up big numbers.

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19

Paul Menard

0 0/0
Like all the RCR drivers, Menard was fast all weekend long.

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20

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

0 0/0
Will Stenhouse make a big leap forward in his second season? We’ll see.

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NASCAR-dale-earnhardt-jr_small1 NASCAR Preseason Power Rankings - Dillon will start from the pole in Sunday's Daytona 500