We know who will start on the front row for Sunday’s Daytona 500, but Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel races will set the remaining starting lineup for the race. The two 60-lap, 150-mile events are a great preparation for drivers and bettors alike.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole for the Daytona 500 and will lead the first duel to the green flag on Thursday with 20/1 odds at the Westgate SuperBook. Alex Bowman (12/1) will start up front for the second race of the night at the 2.5-mile Florida track. Drivers who qualified with odd-number positions will compete in the first duel, scheduled for 6 p.m. CT (FS1). Those qualifying in the even-number positions will compete in the second duel, with a 7:45 p.m. CT start.
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The winner of Duel No. 1 will start the Daytona 500 in third place, second place starts fifth, and so on through the inside row. The winner of Duel 2 will start the Daytona 500 in fourth place, second place starts sixth and so on, per NASCAR rules unique to only the Daytona 500.
The duels offer drivers another chance to get their car setups ready for the Daytona 500 and strategize with teammates, figuring out how to best work together in the draft. As we saw in Sunday’s Clash, it was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin pushing teammate Erik Jones to the win with 22/1 odds. In last season’s duels, the Fords all worked together to sweep the top-3 spots in each race with Joey Logano (+350) and Kevin Harvick (+450) taking the checkers.
Thus far in Speedweeks, Chevy was the quickest in single-car qualifying and in Practice No. 2’s lap averages, while Toyota occupied the top of Practice No. 1’s lap averages. Fords have dominated at Superspeedways of late and have the best manufacturer odds to win the 500 at +145.
The Toyotas may be outnumbered, but they’ll be working together as usual on Thursday and in Sunday’s Daytona 500, Rookie of the Year contender Christopher Bell told reporters on Wednesday.
“Typically, a lot of crashes have taken a lot of cars out,” Bell said. “You have to look around and see what’s left. Yeah, I would imagine we’re going to do everything we can to help each other.”
Bell is a driver to keep an eye on Thursday in the first duel. More on that below.
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2020 Daytona Duel No. 1 starting lineup, odds to win
|1||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||20/1|
|11||Martin Truex Jr.||12/1|
|13||John Hunter Nemechek||60/1|
Daytona Duel No. 1 betting matchups
Joey LOGANO – 120
Denny HAMLIN EVEN
Brad KESELOWSKI – 120
Denny HAMLIN EVEN
Chase ELLIOTT – 110
Ryan BLANEY – 110
Martin TRUEX JR EVEN
Ryan BLANEY – 120
Clint BOWYER – 110
Aric ALMIROLA – 110
Christopher BELL – 110
Ryan PREECE – 110
2020 Daytona Duel No. 2 starting lineup, odds to win
Daytona Duel No. 2 betting matchups
Kyle BUSCH – 120
Kevin HARVICK EVEN
William BYRON – 120
Jimmie JOHNSON EVEN
Kurt BUSCH – 110
William BYRON – 110
Kurt BUSCH – 110
Matt DIBENEDETTO – 110
Cole CUSTER – 110
Tyler REDDICK – 110
Kyle LARSON – 120
Alex BOWMAN EVEN
Daytona Duels 2020 betting picks
Christopher Bell (-110) over Ryan Preece
Bell is making his Cup Series debut in the No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing, a team that has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing’s powerhouse. I expect Bell to team up with Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. and work their way towards the front in Thursday’s first duel. Preece drives for Chevy, but the majority of alliances are in the second duel, not the first. Bell may be a rookie, but he’s made 11 starts at Daytona and Talladega in the Xfinity and Truck Series.
Jimmie Johnson (EVEN) over William Byron
It’s no secret Hendrick Motorsports’ Johnson, Byron and Bowman are going to team-up in the second duel. The question is: how? Johnson was the higher finisher of the three in Sunday’s Clash and has had a better car than Byron thus far in Speedweeks. As will likely become a theme this season, Johnson is making his final duels start of his career and Rick Hendrick would like nothing more than to send him out with a victory.
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