Which driver who didn’t win the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series is the favorite to win Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway and guarantee a playoff spot?
In fact, there are two answers to this win-and-success scenario.
Defending Coke Zero Sugar 400 champion Ryan Blaney, along with his friend Bubba Wallace, are betting well with a +1000 lead. Blaney is third in points in the championship but needs a win to guarantee a playoff spot.
The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is the final race of the NASCAR Cup Series season and will set the stage for a 10-race, 16-driver playoff. There have been 15 winners so far in ’22, with only one spot left to be filled once the checkered flag is raised on Saturday night.
Mr. Blaney is a driver in the playoff bubble and could still get into it on points (if the Coke Zero Sugar 400 is won by a driver who already has a win in 2022), although Martin Truex Jr., another non-winner in this year, is within reach and only 25 points behind pilot Team Penske. If either of them wins the 400 mile race, they will automatically advance.
15 racers are vying for the last spot in the playoffs, and eight of them were previously at the Ruoff Mortgage Victory Lane at the 2.5-mile World Race Center. While Blaney and Wallace are not favorites to win, playoff drivers and rookies Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton, who crashed battling for the lead at the start of the season-opening Daytona 500, have the highest odds of +15,000.
“At this point it doesn’t help us much to have a decent scores day, so it’s either win or go home,” said Mr. Burton, son of 2000 Coke Zero Sugar 400 champion Jeff Burton. “This is the only goal when we go there now. We have to be aggressive to try and get ahead.”
Chase Elliott, who has already won the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the regular season, is a +1000 favorite to win the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The full list of DraftKings NASCAR odds for the 15 drivers who need to win the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to qualify for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is below (along with specific Daytona results).
• Ryan Blaney: +1200 – reigning Coke Zero Sugar 400 champion
• Bubba Wallace +1200 – Finished second in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and Daytona 500.
• Martin Truex Jr. +1800 – Finished second in both the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and Daytona 500.
• Brad Keselowski +2500 – Coke Zero Sugar 40 Champion 2016.
• Ricky Stenhouse +2500 – 2017 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Champion.
• Austin Dillon +3000 – 2018 Daytona 500 Champion
• Aric Almirola +3000 – Coke Zero Sugar 400 Champion 2014.
• Eric Jones +3500 – 2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Champion.
• Chris Buescher +3500 – Best Dayton Finish finished third in the 2020 DAYTONA 500.
•Michael McDowell +4000 – 2021 Daytona 500 Champion
• Justin Haley +4000 – 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Champion
• Cole Custer +7500 – best finish in Dayton – 11th in the 2021 Daytona 500.
• Ty Dillon + 10,000 – Daytona’s best finish was fourth in the 2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400.
• Todd Gilliland +15,000 – Finished 33rd in the inaugural 2022 Daytona 500.
• Harrison Burton +15,000 – Finished 39th in the inaugural 2022 Daytona 500.