Will this finally be the year that Brad Keselowski breaks through and wins his first Daytona 500? Oddsmakers are certainly giving him a solid shot at winning this Sunday’s race, installing him as a +600 co-favorite with two-time winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who crashed last year and ended up finishing 36th.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Keselowski placed 20th in 2016 for Team Penske, leading for one lap before giving way to eventual winner Denny Hamlin, who beat Martin Truex Jr. by 0.01 seconds in the closest finish ever at Daytona International Speedway.
Earnhardt led the race for 15 laps early on following the lead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who became the youngest pole-sitter in Daytona 500 history at the age of 20 years old.
Unfortunately for Earnhardt and Elliott, both were involved in wrecks that ended their day early. The top driver for Hendrick Motorsports was Kasey Kahne, who placed 13th.
But Elliott won the pole again this year and will be joined by Earnhardt in the front row, with each of them hoping to bounce back from that misfortune. No pole winner has won the Daytona 500 since 2000 when Dale Jarrett did it, and Elliott is listed at +1200 odds.
Another rare occurrence is back-to-back Daytona 500 wins, something that has not been done since Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995. Hamlin is +1200 to repeat for Joe Gibbs Racing, which placed three drivers in the Top 5 a year ago (Kyle Busch was third and Carl Edwards fifth).
Busch is +1000 to win his first Daytona 500, as he is one of the most well-known drivers yet to take the checkered flag along with Elliott and Keselowski. Edwards retired at the end of last year without ever winning it.
Earnhardt is one of three drivers going for their third Daytona 500 title. Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (+1000) and Matt Kenseth (+1400) have also previously won it twice, but neither of them was able to crack the Top 10 last year.
Joey Logano (+800) and Kevin Harvick (+1000) are two other previous champs to keep an eye on, winning it in 2015 and 2007, respectively.