We can start dreaming.
The 2016 Daytona 500 is more than a month away. Teams haven’t even started testing there yet. That hasn’t stopped the Westgate Las Vegas from updating its odds for the 2016 Daytona 500. The numbers suggest a small but might pack of contenders for NASCAR’s biggest individual prize: the title of Daytona 500 champion.
It’s NASCAR’s most popular driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 5/1. Oddsmakers always favor popular teams and drivers, but the No. 88 has a historic pedigree at Daytona, with four wins and the highest average finishing position among active drivers.
Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver with a single digit number at 7/1. Johnson owns three Daytona wins and has finished tenth or better in half his Sprint Cup starts there.
There are a cluster of drivers between 10/1 and 15/1.
- Defending Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano is 10/1 with Kevin Harvick.
- Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski are 12/1.
- Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, and Denny Hamlin are 15/1.
Of the group, Harvick has the best average finishing position among active drivers. Harvick and Kenseth are the only two with two victories at Daytona. Surprisingly, Kahne, Edwards and Kurt Busch have never won at Daytona.
Once you get through two favorites and nine contenders, the numbers shift. On one hand, oddsmakers view the rest of the field differently (the number jump to 25/1.) On the other hand, there aren’t giant 500/1 number indicating a driver has next to no chance of winning. Daytona offers pack racing which can even the playing field for all 43 teams in the 2016 Daytona 500. Here are some specific names and numbers of interest.
- Chase Elliott replaces Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 and will sit at 25/1.
- Tony Stewart has never won the Daytona 500. His last shot offers 30/1 odds.
- The biggest number on the board right now are Casey Mears and Michael Waltrip at 100/1.
Here’s how your favorite driver stacks up in the way too early odds for the 2016 Daytona 500. Enjoy pondering the possibilities and insert a random catchphrase here.