Two BIG things about the NASCAR race weekend. First – Kevin Harvick is not the favorite heading into the race. Nor is Denny Hamlin. Secondly, the race was supposed to be in New York at the Glen road course. Now it's going to be on the Daytona International Speedway road course.
That second factor explains the surprise shuffle in the odds/list of favored drivers to win outright. Road-course racing changes a few things like some drivers being able to turn right and left better than others. That may oversimplify things, but it could help explain why Chase Elliott, +400, is the outright favorite to win the Go Bowling 235 at Daytona… on the road course.
Since this track has never been used for a Cup Series race there’s no way to look at stats from previous races. So, the best solution for you may be to look as stats for current drivers on road courses overall. And, factor in a bit of what’s already happened this season.
If you right Harvick and Hamlin off your list you may be making a huge mistake.
Here are the top-five favored drivers to win on Sunday. Note the familiar names associated with being weekly favorites start lining up behind Elliott and Martin Truex Jr at +500.
This course is the same basic course used for races such as the 24 Hours of Daytona with modifications made for stock car racing. The race weekend will include the ARCA Racing Series, The NASCAR Xfinity Series, The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series, and the NASCAR Cup Series.
Martin Truex Jr +500
Truex has four road course wins in his Cup Series career. He’s one of the few active drivers with multiple checkered flags on this type of course. He also has a win under his belt this season so he’s heading to the playoffs. That means he, and his team, can go for it while trying to rack up additional stage bonus points.
Denny Hamlin +600
I can’t fade Hamlin this week due to the race being on a road course. Last week Harvick had just enough power to keep Hamlin behind him with dirty air. Slower speeds in the turns and coming into the gas after braking could be the thing that pushes Hamlin to the front this weekend.
Kurt Busch +1600
The elder Busch could surprise some people this weekend. He and his team have had some amazing runs this year while having a much smaller budget than the Mega Teams. If everything comes together this weekend in Daytona Kurt Busch could be holding up his second road-course trophy.
Others I like
Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch: I know these two drivers are considered favorites. And, I do like both of them this weekend… but the inconsistent runs between stages and race weekends are becoming mind-numbing. Elliott (+400) has shown skill when it comes to road courses in the past with three wins. Busch (+700) has done the same and has five road course wins as a Cup Series driver. But they both need a race where everything goes smoothly with no mistakes from the driver or crew.
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
Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history
and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My
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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
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
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·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
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·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
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·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
the Mountains Smokey?
Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies
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Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY
Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram