Daytona 500 2020: Predictions, Odds and Top Drivers for NASCAR Season Opener

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

Erik Jones (20) leads Christopher Bell (95), Kyle Busch (18), Denny Hamlin (11) and Martin Truex Jr. (19) in a draft during practice for the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series will kick off on Sunday with the Daytona 500, the traditional curtain-raiser at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Caesars Palace has named Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick the +900 favourites, with both starting in the top 10 after solid showings in Thursday's duels. Logano will start from third place after winning Duel 1, and William Byron (+1800) won Duel 2, securing fourth place on the grid. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+1500) and Alex Bowman (+2000) locked out the front row in qualifying.

Here's a look at the full starting lineup and the latest racing odds.


Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+1500)

2. Alex Bowman (+2000)

3. Joey Logano (+900)

4. William Byron (+1800)

5. Aric Almirola (+2200)

6. Jimmie Johnson (+2000)

7. Ryan Newman (+3000)

8. Kyle Larson (+2200)

9. Brad Keselowski (+1100)

10. Kevin Harvick (+900)

11. Darrell Wallace Jr. (+4000)

12. Cole Custer (+4500)

13. Austin Dillon (+3000)

14. Erik Jones (+3000)

15. Martin Truex Jr. (+1000)

16. Matt DiBenedetto (+2000)

17. Christopher Bell (+3500)

18. Kurt Busch (+1800)

19. Chris Buescher (+5000)

20. Ross Chastain (Field, +1600)

21. Denny Hamlin (+1000)

22. Tyler Reddick (+4000)

23. John Hunter Nemechek (+8000)

24. Ty Dillon (+6000)

25. Chase Elliott (+1200)

26. Michael McDowell (+7500)

27. Ryan Blaney (+1600)

28. Kyle Busch (+1000)

29. Clint Bowyer (+2200)

30. David Ragan (Field, +1600)

31. Ryan Preece (+7500)

32. Timmy Hill (Field, +1600)

33. Justin Haley (Field, +1600)

34. Brennan Poole (Field, +1600)

35. Quin Houff (Field, +1600)

36. Corey LaJoie (Field, +1600)

37. Joey Gase (Field, +1600)

38. B.J. McLeod (Field, +1600)

39. Brendan Gaughan (Field, +1600)

40. Reed Sorenson (Field, +1600)


Stenhouse Jr. had another strong showing in Duel 1, battling Logano for the lead in the final laps before dropping back. The eventual winner recognized it's a fast car and likely one to keep an eye on in the feature race on Sunday:

The 32-year-old Stenhouse has eight career wins but has placed in the top 10 of the Daytona 500 just once. He switched to Chevrolet and the JTG Daugherty Racing team for the 2020 season, however, and the change appears to have been a smart one.

Hamlin and Johnson are the only two-time winners in the field, and while the latter hasn't tasted Daytona victory since 2013, his strong showing in Duel 2 is a good sign ahead of this year's race. Johnson finished in second place behind teammate Byron, good enough to start sixth on Sunday.

Blaney believes people who think he's past his best don't know what they're talking about:

Truex Jr. has never won the Daytona 500, but he finished 2019 in red-hot form, with nine top-10 finishes in the final 10 races.

He's one of three NASCAR champions to have never won at Daytona, joining Keselowski and Busch:

Last year's Cup Series champion will start in 28th place, while Truex Jr. starts in 15th. Keselowski will start in ninth place.

Prediction: Stenhouse Jr. has flashed tremendous speed this week, but Truex Jr.'s form at the end of last year is hard to ignore, and the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion will be eager to get the Daytona monkey off his back. He wins on Sunday.


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