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Kevin Harvick poised to pull off upset at Daytona 500

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

February 14th, 2020

The green flag will drop on the 62nd Daytona 500, NASCAR’s signature event, on Sunday. The wide-open nature of superspeedway racing usually makes “the Great American Race” a good place to take chances on longshots.

Here are three drivers outside the top three in odds, with a fair chance at taking the checkered flag.

Odds to win the 2020 Daytona 500

DriverDaytona 500 Odds
Denny Hamlin
+1000
Joey Logano
+1000
Brad Keselowski
+1100
Chase Elliott
+1100
Kyle Busch
+1100
Kevin Harvick
+1200

Kevin Harvick (+1200)

Kevin Harvick already has a Harley J. Earl Trophy on his mantle from 2007, as well as a summertime victory at Daytona in 37 prior starts at the major-league level. “The Closer” has led 256 laps at the Florida oval, good for fifth among active drivers, with 77 occurring in his last six starts (since he switched from Chevrolet to Ford).

However, Harvick has encountered some horrible luck in that six-race stretch, with four crashes. Bettors who believe the 2014 NASCAR champion is due for a reversal of fortune at Daytona could be rewarded. Harvick qualified 10th.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2000)

Bettors who ignore Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on Sunday do so at their own peril. The Daytona 500 polesitter is second only to Ryan Preece among active drivers in average finishing position (15.43) on superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) and has two wins in 28 tries.

Stenhouse has led 97 laps in his last six races at Daytona, and he took the checkered flag in the July 2017 event.

Kurt Busch (+2500)

Kurt Busch, tied with Harvick for the most NASCAR starts at Daytona among active drivers, is fifth in average finishing position (17.70) among racers with at least 10 starts at this course. He’s third in laps led (315), behind only 2019 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin and 2019 NASCAR Cup Series champion (and younger brother) Kyle Busch.

The 41-year-old veteran finished 25th in Daytona 500 a year ago, but that is at least partially related to Chevrolet’s slow start to the 2019 campaign. A Chevy driver was unable to find the winner’s circle until Week 10 (Chase Elliott at Talladega), one of just four victories under green the manufacturer would record last year.

Kurt Busch soldiered on and had a productive year for Chip Ganassi Racing, with 16 top 10 finishes. If Chevy can catch up to the other makes at this year’s Daytona 500, that would only serve to help the elder Busch. He’ll start 18th. 

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