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NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 - Qualifying

Source: James Gilbert / Getty

The defending winner of the Daytona 500 and driver of the Love’s Truck Stop Ford Mustang for Front Row Motorsports joined Evan Ludwig on the season premiere of Into The Smoke as he looked at the extra confidence he has as the defending winner of this race, and the unknowns this 500 brings with a new car.

Evan started the interview as he asked Michael if he is more confident heading into this Daytona 500 because of his win last year he said there is no way you can’t have a little pep in your step heading into this weekend, but you also can’t get too fixated on the past and have to focus on the here and now.

The biggest story entering this weekend is the debut of the “Next Gen” (Gen 7) car for NASCAR as Michael said the car definitely has its differences from the previous generation but it’s still a car at Daytona.

The next question was whether or not this race will be more calm compared to previous restrictor-plate races over the years due to the new car as Michael responded:

“I think it will take everyone a little bit to get comfortable and confident, but it’s the Daytona 500 which is the most prestigious event of the year so when you get to the end people are not going to be cautious.”