NASCAR Betting Races to Full-Throttle Return, Sunday Handle Doubles Typical Cup Event

Posted on: May 19, 2020, 07:54h. 

Last updated on: May 21, 2020, 11:14h.

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series returned to action Sunday for the first time since the schedule was put on hold by the coronavirus following the FanShield 500 in Phoenix back on March 8.

NASCAR betting race odds
Kevin Harvick celebrates his NASCAR win Sunday with a few doughnuts in front of empty stands at Darlington. (Image: Chris Graythen/Getty)

The Real Heroes 400 held at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina returned US sports to some sense of normalcy – albeit a vastly different new normal that came with empty stands, no practice runs, and no qualifying.

Brad Keselowski was awarded the pole position by random draw. Kevin Harvick, who would go on to win on Sunday after 400 miles, started in the No. 6 position.

Heading into Sunday’s race, Kyle Busch – No. 4 in the starting lineup – was the favorite at +500. Keselowski was second at +650, and Harvick third at +700.

With sports bettors restricted to offbeat events during the pandemic, such as darts, Belarusian soccer, and table tennis, Sunday’s NASCAR race drew a large wagering crowd. Numerous oddsmakers across the country reported a surge in betting activity on the Real Heroes 400, the Rivers casino sportsbooks in Pennsylvania saying the race “took in about two times what we would expect on a typical NASCAR race.”

Revving Interest

NASCAR has raced into a golden opportunity. With the MLB, NBA, and NHL remaining sidelined, and the NFL still months away, the racing series is the only game in town for US sports fanatics.

We take a lot of pride in helping give Americans, and people all around the globe, a sense of normalcy after weeks of chaos and confusion,” Scott Warfield, NASCAR’s managing director of gaming, told “This great sport is a source of entertainment for millions of people around the world, and we don’t take lightly its role in helping inch us all closer to getting back to the way things used to be.”

Some 6.3 million viewers tuned in to Sunday’s race, and NASCAR is hoping to make many new fans through its innovative in-race sports betting product. BetGenius, NASCAR’s data provider for sports betting, has developed an in-race betting product that has just begun to roll out to bettors around the globe.

“NASCAR lends itself perfectly to in-play betting,” said Warfield. “The amount of data we’re collecting off of these cars going 200 mph inches apart, sometimes for 400 or 500 miles, leaves us with an infinite amount of bet types to pursue.”

Warfield says BetGenius is phasing in new betting opportunities over the next month. And it’s a busy time for the circuit, as the Cup Series is holding seven races in 11 days this month. June is also chalked full.

eNASCAR Success

With live sports on hold over the past two months, NASCAR turned virtual with the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved betting on the virtual races in early April.

The iRacing series pitted real drivers against one another virtually. Warfield says the eNASCAR television broadcasts now account for six of the seven most-watched esports events in the history of US television.

Warfield believes the virtual product “allowed the sport to remain relevant and reach new fans” during the coronavirus crisis.”

Asked whether there will be a challenge to retain those new eyes once more popular sports resume, Warfield answered, “Customer retention is all about delivering a world-class product, which we did on Sunday. From here, you’ll continue to see the sport and its various stakeholders help those casuals along by doing everything we can to make the product and surrounding programming relevant to these casual audiences.”