Daytona 500 Around The Corner

Written By Darren Cooper on February 17, 2022 - Last Updated on May 26, 2022
Daytona 500 Racing Around The Corner

It’s the Great American Race. No more introduction is needed. The 64th running of the Daytona 500 will take off Sunday on FOX at 2:30 p.m. from the famous Daytona International Speedway when the green flag drops, the engines roar, and the crowd erupts.

There is simply nothing like a great NASCAR race in the world of American sports. The Daytona 500 is the official start of the NASCAR series and always means that spring is coming soon.

Here’s a look at the upcoming Daytona 500, the top contenders, the memorable moments, and the great champions of the past.

What do the Oddsmakers Say

Sports betting was a reality in Florida – briefly  before the Department of Justice filed an appeals statement on Feb. 11. Now, its future is unclear.

There are multiple ways to put some money down on the Daytona 500. BetMGM has traditional bets like who will win, and where drivers will finish, plus head-to-head options of your two favorite drivers.

The Barstool Sportsbook lets you bet on the winning racing team, plus prop bets on the over/under number of the car of the winner.

A look at the Top Contenders

  • Denny Hamlin: Driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. The 41-year-old has won 46 NASCAR Cup Series races.
  • Kyle Larson: Racer of the No. 5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. Larson has 16 wins in his career and is the defending Series title champion.
  • Chase Elliott: Elliott controls the No. 9 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. The 26-year-old phenom started on the circuit in 2016 and has 13 career victories.
  • Ryan Blaney: The No. 12 Ford is controlled by Blaney, a part of the legendary Team Penske. Blaney, whose father also was a NASCAR racer, has seven wins to his credit.
  • Bubba Wallace: The only full-time African-American driver on the NASCAR circuit, Wallace has a massive following. The 28-year-old was second in the Daytona 500 in 2018. He drives the No. 23 Toyota or 23XI Racing.

Who’s the Betting favorite?

Hamlin is one of four drivers to win the race three times. With another win Sunday, he can join Cale Yarborough as the only driver to win four. Richard Petty, a.k.a. “The King,” won the Daytona 500 a record seven times. 

Hamlin is the favorite at BetMGM online sportsbook at +800. Meanwhile, at the FanDuel betting site, he is the top choice at +220.

Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are next on the board at BetMGM listed as +1000. Elliott, the son of racing legend Bill Elliott, is second on the board at FanDuel at +260.

Joey Logano is third on the board at FanDuel at +280.

What are the head-to-head options?

It’s a race after all, and BetMGM has multiple ways to bet on head-to-head finishes. They pick two drivers. You pick which one will finish ahead of the other.

Elliott and Larson are a pair at -110. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are each at -110 against one another, as are Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch.

There are also groups of four posted where you can pick who will finish first. This is known as a “group” bet.

Who’s favored to win the NASCAR Cup?

Larson won his first career NASCAR Cup Series title in 2021 and is the favorite to repeat at both FanDuel (+270) and BetMGM (+300). Elliott, who won the series title in 2020, is second on the board at FanDuel at +410, followed by Denny Hamlin (+600) and William Byron (+800).

Different Daytona Prop Bets

NASCAR fans are loyal to their drivers, their teams, and their automakers.

This will be the first Daytona 500 using NASCAR’s “Next Gen” car with enhanced safety and efficiency technology. BetMGM lets you pick the manufacturer of the winning car. Chevy is favored at +160, followed by Ford and Toyota.

The Barstool sportsbook lets you bet on the winning team at Daytona. Out of the field of 10 franchises, Hendrick Motorsports is the favorite at +375 and Joe Gibbs Racing is next at +400.

Barstool also lets bettors have some fun with unique prop bets, including the number of the car of the winner: Even -113, Odd -109, plus the over/under of the number of drivers to lead a lap (13.5).

Literally the Fast Five: A look at the last five Daytona 500’s

  • 2021: Hamlin won both stages and the important Cup points that go with it but finished fifth. Michael McDowell dodged a late crash to win his first Daytona 500. Because of rain, the race didn’t finish until almost midnight.
  • 2020: Rain postponed the race by a day. Elliott won the first stage, Hamlin the second, but this one is known for one of the wildest finishes in race history. There was a wild crash on the last lap and in the aftermath, Hamlin got by Blaney to win by 0.014 seconds, the second-closest finish in race history.
  • 2019: It’s called the Big One, meaning a crash that takes out a large chunk of the field. This time the Big One happened in lap 191 leaving only 19 cars to finish. Hamlin took the lead on the eventual restart and won his second Daytona 500.
  • 2018: 20 years after Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s historic win, No. 3 was back in the winners’ circle piloted by Austin Dillon. Wallace became a household name by finishing second. 
  • 2017: Kurt Busch won his first Daytona 500 title and the first stage. Kevin Harvick won the second stage. Blaney finished second overall.


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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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