NASCAR Season Begins With Brad Keselowski Favored to Win First Daytona 500 Title

Posted on: February 16, 2019, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2019, 07:33h.

Brad Keselowski will look to end his string of bad results in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, as the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series regular season begins with one of auto racing’s most prestigious events.

Daytona 500 NASCAR Keselowski
Brad Keselowski has never won the Daytona 500, but comes in as the favorite for this year’s race. (Image: Yahoo Sports)

Keselowski comes into the race as a 7/1 favorite according to British bookmaker Ladbrokes.

Keselowski Looking for First Daytona 500 Win

But despite all of his career wins, Keselowski has never found much success in the Daytona 500. In nine starts, he has only finished in the top 10 twice, and has never won the race.

“There’s no doubt this track is frustrating as hell,” Keselowski said during the Daytona 500 Media Day. “It’s a track that I feel like we’re good enough to win at every time we come here, and it hasn’t come together, and that sucks. Especially when you get wrecked out, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Naturally, defending NASCAR champion Joey Logano (8/1) is considered an early favorite at Daytona as well. Logano finished up the 2018 season with a win in the championship race that took victory out of the hands of NASCAR’s “Big Three” – Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch. But while Logano savored his win during the offseason, he says that he’s ready to get back to business in 2019.

“That’s last year and we need to keep looking forward because right now we’re past champions in my eyes,” Logano told reporters at the Daytona 500 Media Day. “As soon as we unloaded down here, the championship fun is over and it’s back to trying to win another one. We’re back at zero with everyone else.”

Harvick Wins First Qualifier

While the real season doesn’t begin until this week, Logano is already off to a good start. He posted the fastest time in practice at last weekend’s Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona, and went on to finish in third place.

Harvick (10/1) has also been singled out as a driver to watch this weekend. Not only does he have a win in the Daytona 500 – he won the race in 2007 – and two other runner-up finishes, he also won the first qualifying race on Thursday evening, guaranteeing himself the third position in Sunday’s field.

“It handled good when we were behind cars,” Harvick said of his car after the qualifier. “We were able to keep the track position and our cars were fast enough together to keep everyone else back there.”

New Rules Could Impact Bettors

For those planning on betting on NASCAR this season, there’s a new rule that might you on the edge of your seat long after each race appears to end.

In the past, NASCAR has operated on the principle that the car that finished the race first was the winner, even if that vehicle later failed a postrace inspection. But in an effort to stamp out cheating, that will no longer be the case this year, as drivers can now be disqualified if their car is found in violation of the rules after a race ends. The top two finishers and at least one other random car will now be inspected after each race, meaning the final results – and payouts at sportsbooks – won’t be made official until 90 minutes or more after the checkered flag drops.