The regular season of the NASCAR Cup Series ends on August 27 with a race at Daytona International Speedway. This path generates chaos, but the odds predict a repeat winner.
According to BetMGM, Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott leads the way with the best odds of winning the Coke Zero Sugar 400. He sits 10-1 despite winning his superfast only once in his career, the 2019 Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. However, Elliott took three primary awards at Daytona, as well as a pair of runner-ups in 2020 and 2021.
As Elliott leads the way, there are several Daytona winners right behind him. Three-time Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin sits in a tie for second place with 2015 Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano at 12-1. Kyle Larson and Coke Zero Sugar 400 winner defender Ryan Blaney joins them with a 12-1 score.
Like Elliott, Larson has never had a win at Daytona in his Cup Series career. He made 16 full starts and scored five of the top 10 matches. His sixth place finish in the 2016 Coke Zero 400 stands out as his best run. Although Larson has won the pole in the past two races at breakneck speed.
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Blaney’s odds highlight the points battle
There is only one place left in the playoffs heading into the regular season finale. 15 drivers cornered themselves with at least one win, but Blaney sits in the transfer spot with a 25-point lead over Martin Truex Jr.
The two permanent contenders have yet to win a points-paying race in 2022, and will pursue that goal at 7 p.m. ET on August 27. Although Blaney will enter the weekend with better chances based on his only victory at Daytona from the 2021 season and his two wins at the Talladega Superspeedway (2019, 2020).
Truex, for comparison, has never won a super sprint race in his career. He started 34 games with three of the top five players at Daytona and 35 starts with three of the top five players at Talladega. Now he’ll go on with his first win – or at least enough points to get past Blaney – while facing odds of 18-1.
What about wild cards?
Having a repeat winner like Elliott, Hamlin or Lugano will only benefit Blaney. If he turns on one of his strong points, he should have a chance to maintain his edge over Truex and secure his place in the playoffs.
Of course, Daytona generates mayhem, and there is a strong possibility that this will happen again. There are 15 drivers likely to finish last in qualifying with a win, 13 of them unable to overtake Blaney and Truex in points.
Bubba Wallace leads this group. He entered the weekend at 14-1 after finishing in the top five in three of the past four races at Daytona. This includes successive runners-up in 2021 and 2022.
Brad Keselowski (22-1), Eric Almerola (28-1), Austin Dillon (28-1), Ricky Stenhouse Jr (28-1), Michael McDowell (33-1), Eric Jones (33-1), Justin Hayley (50-1) also joins Wallace in the list of those who have had previous success at Daytona. These drivers all won at breakneck speed under a variety of conditions, and they all qualify to steal the last place in qualifying with a win.
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