It’s a whole new world for NASCAR.
NBC begins broadcasting Sprint Cup races with Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400. Looking at the NASCAR odds for Daytona’s night race, there is also a whole new world when it comes to the numbers.
It’s not Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch or anyone at Team Penske. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 8/1, the only driver with single digit numbers.
Part of the reasoning is the No. 88’s popularity. He has been all over NBC promoting the race. But if there is any track where Earnhardt Jr. is likely to win, it might be Daytona. He has the best average finish among active drivers, with three wins and 12 finishes of fifth or better. At an unpredictable track, NASCAR’s most popular driver is the safest pick.
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are both 10/1. Gordon’s last Daytona run could be memorable. The No. 24 has six career Daytona wins. More than 40 percent of the time, Gordon places 10th or better. Johnson has three Daytona wins, but fix other drivers have a better average career finish than Johnson.
Seven drivers are at 12/1, suggesting that oddsmakers have no clue who will win Sunday night. Of the group, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have the best career records, with Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin lagging behind.
The Other Names:
The longer shots aren’t as long as Sonoma last week. There isn’t a single driver under 100/1. The highest number is Trevor Bayne, who actually won the Daytona 500, sitting at 75/1.
Clint Bowyer is an interesting pick. Only Austin Dillon and Earnhardt Jr. have a better average finishing position than Bowyer, who is 30/1. Dillon is 40/1 with Ryan Newman and Paul Menard, both of whom have won on legendary tracks in the past.
Daytona is a magical place; good luck predicting the spell that comes out of Sunday’s Coke Zero 400. Here’s how your favorite driver stacks up in the NASCAR odds for Sunday’s Coke Zero 400. Enjoy this new world of racing, and insert a random catchphrase here.