NASCAR Preview: 2020 Daytona 500 Odds and Predictions

The Daytona 500 is set for Sunday, February 16th, 2020, as the NASCAR Cup Series officially gets underway.

If the Daytona Busch Clash, run this past weekend, is any type of indicator, then get ready for some damaged race cars. The Clash featured an 18-car field made up of active past 500 and Clash winners along with active drivers with pole wins and those who made it into the playoffs.




Speaking of the Clash! Keep superspeedway racing in mind when making picks. A good example would be my Clash selections from last week. Several huge wrecks – often called “Big Ones” by NASCAR fans – took out every single one of my drivers out of the race! The finish only had five cars on the lead lap and seven cars running.

Read my Daytona Busch Clash article for more info, it includes a full schedule for the 2020 Daytona Speedweek.

The good news is that the 500 is not a shortened race like the Busch Clash was, so hopefully things won’t get crazy all at once. The 500 also has more trends and stats to lean on. Some include past Daytona winners, and there are several in the group including the two top favored drivers, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, to win outright according to intertops.

Joey Logano pilots a Ford for Team Penske while last year's Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin, drives a Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing. Check out odds below complete with manufacturers.


Daytona 500 Race Info

Track: Daytona International Speedway Daytona, Florida

Type: 2.5-mile paved high-banked superspeedway

Race Distance: 200 laps / 500 miles

Defending winner: Denny Hamlin

TV/Radio: Fox / MRN


Ryan Blaney +1400

Ryan Blaney helped put the Wood Brothers and their team back on the map by being one of the most explosive rookie drivers in years.

Since then he has moved onto Team Penske, which Wood Brothers is an affiliate of, and he’s kept on track with several wins including last year at Talladega. He was second at the 500 in 2017 and finished 7th in 2018.

Blaney ended last season with four times in the top-tens over his last six races and he’s proven to be a proficient superspeedway driver.

Denny Hamlin +900

It’s hard not to pick Denny Hamlin as he is the defending Daytona 500 winner, and he’s won the 500 twice before. He has also won the Busch Clash three times. As well, he has won or finished inside the top-five in four of his last Daytona starts.

However, one big stat comes into play and it’s a product of superspeedway racing.

It’s hard to win the 500 in back-to-back years because of huge “Big One” wrecks. Only three drivers, all long since retired, in the history of the race have won the 500 in consecutive years.


Kevin Harvick +1100

Kevin Harvick seemed to have the winning car almost every weekend last season, and the season before. Sometimes he was collected in other drivers wrecks, and sometimes his team laid an egg when it came to adjustments or pit stops.

Either way, it’s hard to argue that Harvick has not been one of the most dominant drivers over the last few seasons and he may be the best car out of the Stewart – Haas stable this year. Like Hamlin, Harvick has two Daytona 500 and three Busch Clash wins.

Kyle Busch +1000

Kyle Busch has never won a Daytona 500 but he did win the 2008 Fall Daytona race.

Daytona has been a Cup Series thorn in his side as he’s been wrecked out or suffered engine failures for DNF’s six times. However, Busch is a JGR driver and the past series Champion who was running strong in the Clash and he had good practice times.




Brad Keselowski +750

I’m talking myself into going with Brad Keselowski to win the 2020 Daytona 500 despite his knack for being wrecked by other people at the facility. He was wrecked out of the Clash while running strong and competing for the lead.

His team showed amazing dedication getting his ride ready after he tore up the side of his primary car. Keselowski side-swiped a fence post to avoid another car while exiting the garage area.

Related: Ace Per Head Makes Bookies Money with NASCAR

Keselowski has won at Daytona in the past, including a 500, and his Team Penske equipment looks strong this year. If he can avoid other driver’s stupidity he can win this Sunday.

Daytona 500 Long Shots: 

There two drivers that I just can’t get out of my head when it comes to not being surprised if the ended up in victory lane. Clint Bowyer (+1800) is a strong superspeedway driver and in great Stewart – Haas Racing equipment. The other is Jimmie Johnson (+2000).

The famed driver from Hendrick Motorsports showed speed during qualifying, the Clash and practice. He’s been wrecked four of the last seven races at Daytona not including wrecks during Clash and Duel races. Most of them not of his making.

Others I like to Win the Daytona 500

Kevin Harvick                        +1200

Martin Truex Jr            +1400

Ricky Stenhouse Jr            +1800

2020 Daytona 500 Complete Odds

Joey Logano                        +900             Ford

Denny Hamlin                        +900            Toyota

Brad Keselowski            +1100            Ford

Chase Elliott                        +1100            Chevrolet

Kevin Harvick                        +1200            Ford

Kyle Busch                        +1200            Toyota

Ryan Blaney                        +1400            Ford

Martin Truex Jr            +1400            Toyota

Kurt Busch                        +1600            Chevrolet

Ricky Stenhouse Jr            +1800            Chevrolet

Clint Bowyer                        +1800            Ford

Aric Almirola                        +2000            Ford

William Byron                        +2000            Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson            +2000            Chevrolet

Alex Bowman                        +2000            Chevrolet

Erik Jones                        +2000            Toyota

Kyle Larson                        +2200            Chevrolet

Matt Dibenedetto            +2800            Ford

Daniel Suarez                        +3300            Toyota

Austin Dillon                        +3300            Chevrolet

Christopher Bell            +4000            Toyota

Ryan Newman            +4000            Ford

Cole Custer                        +4000            Ford

Tyler Reddick                        +5000            Chevrolet

Chris Buescher            +5500            Ford

Ryan Preece                        +6600            Chevrolet

Darrell Wallace Jr.            +6600            Chevrolet

Michael McDowell            +8000            Ford

John Hunter Nemechek  +8000            Ford

Ty Dillon                        +10000            Chevrolet

David Ragan                        +10000            Ford

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.