Sunday’s Go Bowling 235 (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on the road course at Daytona International Speedway will be the first NASCAR Cup Series race on this layout, making it very difficult from a handicapping perspective.
We have no historical data to analyze and don’t truly know how closely this track compares to other road courses on the Cup Series schedule, like Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Because of this, it’s reasonable to assume this race will be more wide open than most, paving the way for longer shots down the odds board to outperform expectations.
After looking at general road-course performance, experience and a handful of other factors, here’s one driver worth betting for a top-10 finish at Daytona.
NASCAR at Daytona Road Course Odds, Betting Pick
Michael McDowell (+340) for a Top-10 Finish
Randomness is the driving theme of my betting strategy this weekend. Will it result in a surprise winner? Who really knows. However, uncertainty surrounding what the racing will look like makes taking cracks at some long shots a reasonable approach, especially in top-10 props.
Yes, I am throwing a few bucks on Michael McDowell to win in case this race does really get sideways, but the No. 34 Ford sneaking into a top 10 is much more probable, yet still offers nice value.
McDowell comes from a road-racing background and actually has five previous starts in the Rolex 24, a 24-hour road-course race on the Daytona Road Course.
Additionally, McDowell has the 11th-best average finish over the two Cup Series races run on the Charlotte Roval, which is likely the best comp on the current Cup Series schedule.
In McDowell, we have a driver with extensive road-racing experience, including on the Daytona Road Course, and with a top-15 average finish on the road course at Charlotte.
He’ll be starting deep in 30th place, but that’s obviously built into this price, and for all the reasons above, I’m aggressively betting McDowell for a top-10 finish at +340.