The Coke Zero 400 will take place in Daytona on Saturday night.

“I’d have to pick Jimmie Johnson as your winner,” said Killeen pro race car driver J.P. Dowell. “It’s hard to beat a Hendrick car. This is a long endurance race coming up at Daytona and Johnson is fit and ready to roll.

“He’s not the six-time champ for nothing.”

Joe Lombardi, sports information director for Copperas Cove High School, is a former race track announcer.

“It’s hard to say right now who has the edge,” Lombardi said. “So many drivers are good at competing on restrictor plate tracks. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 this year (Feb. 23) and that win helped him a lot. And Jimmie Johnson is good anywhere he gets in a car.

“Dale will be the sentimental favorite. One driver I’d like to see do well is Danica Patrick. I’d like to see her win because it might shut up some of her critics.

“But if I had to go out on a limb right now, I’d have to give Johnson the edge in this race.”

Gene Adamcik, of Waco, owned Heart O’ Texas Speedway for 32 years.

“I’m picking Earnhardt Jr. to win at Daytona this weekend,” Adamcik said. “That’s his track. He’s just having a solid year. Of course 48 (Johnson) will be tough, he’s tough everywhere.

“And don’t forget Brad Keselowski. He’s looking pretty good lately. If he gets consistent, he’ll become tough to beat in any race.”

Contact Allan Mandell at or 254-501-7566 and read his column at

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