Following a high-speed, rain-delayed race at Chicagoland Speedway, the Dragon Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues its pedal to the metal Strategy in Daytona International Speedway this Saturday night at the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Alex Bowman made his first Cup series victory last week and he has +1800 odds to repeat, however, it’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski with odds of +700 who top the oddsboard.
Intertops includes Logano and Keselowski since 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 in +1400 to round out the leading drivers on the oddsboard.
Ford has won five of the last ten races at Daytona and Toyota has won three runnings over that interval, including the last two in a row, while Chevrolet has just two victories.
There has not been a repeat winner at this course since Jimmie Johnson did so in the two races in 2013. Denny Hamlin appears to become the latest driver to do it as he won the Daytona 500 in February.
Only once over the last 17 races at Daytona has the winner started on the pole and that was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 2015. The average starting position for the driver who transported the checkered flag over that interval was 12.53.
Alex Bowman (+1800) picked up the first checkered flag of his Cup series livelihood a week at Chicagoland and has had good qualifying speed at Daytona recently. He’s started first or second in each of the past three runnings at this track, but has finished 10th or worse, so until he will find the exact same rate in the race, I will stay away.
Logano (+700) has had greater success during the Daytona 500 than he has at the midseason race in this track. In the 500, he has an average finish position of 13.28, including winning in 2015, but he’s 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 crashed in four of the last five races there, but six races back in 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. Look for him to be at the hunt Saturday night.
Kyle Busch (+1100) not as a favorite sounds like an automatic wager, but Daytona has gotten the better of him most of his career. Busch won the July race in 2008, marking the only time he’s forced to victory lane at Daytona, and he’s only three top-five endings there on the past 14 races, but he had been the most runner-up in this season’s Daytona 500.
I’ve been evaporating Kevin Harvick (+1100) all season long since he had not shown evidence of his former leading self until last week. He looked strong at Chicagoland, leading 132 of the 267 laps, but finally finished 14th. Harvick has dropped in four of those five races at Daytona since switching to Ford at 2017 however he led multiple laps in three of those runnings. Assuming that he keeps his nose clean, this could be a fantastic place for Harvick.
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