Adhering to a high-speed, rain-delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway, the Dragon Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues its pedal to the metal approach in Daytona International Speedway this Saturday night at the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Alex Bowman earned his first Cup series victory a week and he’s +1800 odds to replicate, however, it is Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski with odds of +700 who top the oddsboard.
Intertops includes Logano and Keselowski as the favorites at +700 followed closely by Denny Hamlin in +1000, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick at +1100 and Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer at +1400 to round out the leading drivers on the oddsboard.
Ford has won five of the last 10 races in Daytona and Toyota has won three runnings over that span, including the last two in a row, while Chevrolet has just two victories.
There has not been a repeat winner in this course since Jimmie Johnson did thus from the two races in 2013. Denny Hamlin looks to become the latest driver to do it won the Daytona 500 in February.
Only once over the last 17 races at Daytona has the winner started on the pole which was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 2015. The typical starting position for the driver who transported the checkered flag during that interval was 12.53.
Alex Bowman (+1800) picked up the first checkered flag of his Cup series career last week in Chicagoland and has had great qualifying speed at Daytona recently. He’s begun first or second in each of the last three runnings at this track, but has completed 10th or worse, so until he can come across the same speed in the race, I will stay away.
Logano (+700) has had greater success during the Daytona 500 than he has at the midseason race at this course. From the 500, he has an average finish position of 13.28, including winning in 2015, but he has an average finish position of 21.2 in the July race, and it has crashed in each of the last two runnings.
Keselowski (+700) has experienced a string of terrible luck at Daytona recently, having dropped in four of the last five races but six races ago at this track, he drove to victory lane. He’s five wins at Talladega, another restrictor-plate monitor, so that he knows the way to compete in these races. Start looking for him to be in the hunt Saturday night.
Kyle Busch (+1100) not as a favorite sounds like an automatic bet, but Daytona has gotten the better of him most of his career. Busch won the July race in 2008, marking the only time he has driven to victory lane at Daytona, and he’s just three top-five endings there over the past 14 races, but he was the most runner-up in this season’s Daytona 500.
I’ve been evaporating Kevin Harvick (+1100) all season long as he had not shown evidence of his former dominant self before last week. He seemed strong at Chicagoland, leading 132 of the 267 laps, but ultimately finished 14th. Harvick has crashed in four of the five races in Daytona since switching to Ford in 2017 however he led multiple laps in three of these runnings. Assuming he keeps his nose clean, this may be a good place for Harvick.
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