The 2020 NASCAR Cup Season is about to set sail and will do so with the running of Sunday’s Busch Clash. Each season begins with the pole winners from last season, along with former winners of the Clash and Daytona 500 all come together to open the year. The Busch Clash returns to it’s original name and has a new outlook on an interesting season. It is a race of the fastest from last year and gives us a chance to see who may have an upper hand heading into the rest of the season.
Picking winners of races can be difficult. Let’s face it there are 40 cars on the track together at once, so it becomes hard to choose one guy to win it all. This week we will take a look at the betting money line odds of the 42nd running of the Busch Clash at Daytona.
Who to Bet On?
When it comes to races at the Daytona International Speedway or any super-speedway for that matter they become hard to predict. That’s what makes the betting lines so much higher because of the wild card factor at races like this one.
Sunday’s Clash will only feature 18 drivers to start the event. This helps when it comes to deciding on who to bet on but doesn’t make it a sure thing. The hardest part about picking the winner of this event is all of the cars in the race are capable of getting it done. There are 7 former winners of the Busch Clash trying for the title on Sunday. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are tied with the most wins by a current driver in the event at three. Five out of the last six winners have come from either Ford or Toyota. Jimmie Johnson in a Chevy won last year’s race that was shortened due to weather.
This race may not be a good indicator for who will be successful during the year or even in the Daytona 500. Only six times in the 42 year history of the race has a driver won the Clash and then gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following weekend. The list includes Bobby Allison(1982), Bill Elliott(1987), Dale Jarrett(1996 and 2000), Jeff Gordon(1997) and Denny Hamlin(2016).
Let’s take a look at the Busch Clash odds and who is the favorites to take.
Ford’s Are Favorite to Win Busch Clash
The money line favorites according to the Fan Duel Sportsbook are Team Penske teammates Joey Logano(+800) and Brad Keselowski(+850).
The team made crew swaps during the offseason which put Paul Wolfe on Logano’s box and Jeremy Bullins on Keselowski’s box for 2020. The teams are hoping the changes pay off and as the odds on favorites to win the exhibition race show that success could come sooner than later. Keselowski will have some work to do following a run in with an infield fence on his way out to practice on Saturday.
Also a favorite is Hamlin at +850 also. He last won the event in 2016 but is the defending Daytona 500 champion and looks to be strong as he was P2 in the only Clash practice.
Jumbled Mess For Best of the Rest
Ultimately, there are 11 drivers that could come from the +1000 and above range to win this thing. It starts off with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and Stewart Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick both at +1100.
Elliott trying to following in his father, Bill’s, footsteps and become a winner of the Clash and then go on to win the Daytona 500. Elliott has had momentum to finish the year each of the past two seasons. Getting off to a fast start is important and this event might give him the boost he needs.
Busch is the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion. He is the 2012 winner of this race and looking to jump start his run at the Daytona 500. In some prop bets, Busch is the favorite to sweep both races. Might be something to take a look at if you are really feeling it.
Harvick has won three times and is looking to only become the second driver in history to have won the race 4 times. The late Dale Earnhardt won the race six times during his career.
Best of the Rest but Longshots
Following those three then comes a long list of drivers seeking a shot at some early momentum. Ryan Blaney(+1300) leads the charge in this group simply because he is a teammate to the two favorites to win this race. Plus Blaney was 5th quickest in practice. Kurt Busch(+1600) is more of a longshot here because there hasn’t been that success in the Chevy’s lately and he personally has struggled in this race since his win in 2011.
Martin Truex Jr.(+1600) was 3rd quickest in practice which makes the Toyota camp looking really good because the leader of practice was Erik Jones and he is a longshot at +2200. If there is a longshot to take, Jones may be your guy.
Alex Bowman(+1800), Aric Almirola(+1800), Clint Bowyer(+1800), Jimmie Johnson(+1800) and William Byron (+1800) all are on the outside looking in. Each of these drivers have their own story at this race track and are contenders but also long shots so that is why they are in the best of the rest and not the longshots. Bowman and Bryon both have sat on the Pole for the Daytona 500, Johnson has two 500 wins and 2 Clash wins and Almirola was two turns away from being a Daytona 500 champion. The best out of this group is Bowyer. At +1800, his Ford was right there with those of Harvick and Blaney but still a ways off.
Last but Not Least
Erik Jones on a regular day would be in this group at +2200 but he went to the top of the board and his Toyota teammates backed him up leading him to be in the best of the rest. In this group you find 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman(+3000) and 2018 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon (+2800) both as long shots to win the Clash.
If there is a guy that has a lot of momentum coming into Speedweeks it’s the driver of the 42 Chip Ganassi Racing car, Kyle Larson. At +2200, he is listed as a longshot but also has won a lot of dirt races this winter. That has nothing to do with winning on one of the biggest tracks in NASCAR but it does say something for his confidence.
Dillon may be the guy to watch in this group, simply because he is experienced and has a new crew chief on the box and “Pop Pop” or Richard Childress, Dillon’s owner and grandfather, wants his guy to start winning consistently.
The Pick for the Busch Clash is…?
The choice isn’t clear as previously said but if there was two guys to go put your money on this Sunday, it would have to be the defending champ in Kyle Busch or the guy looking for four Kevin Harvick. They are safe bets but also ones that will pay off and pay out, but….
The pick for the Busch Clash is Erik Jones, though, is the money pick plain and simple. Fastest in practice and is over +2000 to win, the pick is a no brainer. Jones won his first career race in Daytona in July of 2018 so he knows how to get around the place. For the win take the man from Byron, Michigan.
The Busch Clash goes green from Daytona International Speedway at 3pm EST on FS1 and MRN. Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner and the Busch Clash is set for 75 laps.
*As we continue during the season we will take a look at a select few drivers and not the entire field. With the Busch Clash being a short field it was easier to include all.