The NASCAR Cup Series stays in Daytona this weekend, but the action moves to the road course for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday.
Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. come into the race as the clear favorites to pick up an early season win on the 3.61-mile course.
Elliott Stays Busy in Offseason
Elliott always stands out as the man to beat in NASCAR’s road races. He’s won five times on road courses, the most of any active driver in Sunday’s field. With NASCAR scheduling seven road course races this year, Elliott will have plenty of opportunities to add to that total.
That track record is why FanDuel Sportsbook rates Elliott as the +190 favorite to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253. But Elliott’s edge could also stem from his commitment to racing even during the NASCAR offseason in a variety of circuits and tracks.
“I’ve really just enjoyed my winter and enjoyed racing,” Elliott told the Charlotte Observer. “I’ve just had a lot of fun with it. And I think that was something I’ve put a lot of emphasis on at the end of last year – is just enjoying those moments more.”
Elliott isn’t the only NASCAR driver who excels on road courses. Truex (+400) has four road wins of his own, and figures to be the top challenger to Elliott at Daytona on Sunday. While Truex has found most of his success on “true” road courses rather than stadium setups, he believes those skills translate to any track.
“I feel like I’m just as good at Watkins Glen as I am at Sonoma, and they are completely different,” Truex told NBC Sports. “For me, it’s understanding what it takes to make speed on a road course. It’s understanding what it takes to make a heavy stock car, without a lot of grip and a lot of horsepower, make the most time on those road courses.”
Road Course Specialists in the Mix at Daytona
Behind the favorites, both Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin sit at +900 odds to win. Blaney is making his 200th NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday, and will have to fight up from 27th position at the start if he wants to make noise.
Bettors may also want to look at drivers who have had some road course success in the past, even if they don’t hold the reputation of Elliott or Truex. Kyle Busch (+1200) has won four times on road tracks, while Kevin Harvick (+1400) has two such wins.
|O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Chase Elliott: +190||Martin Truex Jr.: +400|
|Ryan Blaney: +900||Denny Hamlin: +900|
|Kyle Busch: +1200||AJ Allmendinger: +1400|
|Kevin Harvick: +1400||William Byron: +1800|
|Joey Logano: +1800||Brad Keselowski: +2000|
“I enjoy road racing,” Harvick said, via NASCAR.com. “For us, it’s kind of up and down as far as what we’ve been able to do on the race track from a performance side, but a lot of that was track specific, too.”
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 begins at 3:20 pm on Sunday.