- The Daytona 500 is one of the few major titles missing from Brad Keselowski’s CV. The 34-year-old’s otherwise impressive record includes five wins at Talladega, while he also has a July win at Daytona.
- Alex Bowman will become the 41st different driver to start the race in pole position after finishing first in the second qualifying session. Denny Hamlin will join Bowman on the front row.
- Kurt Busch won the 500 in 2017, ahead of Ryan Blaney in second and AJ Allmendinger in third. Busch is again competing this year, although it is his brother Kyle Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, who has been in better form and is favoured by the bookies to challenge for victory.
The 2018 Daytona 500 looks even more open than usual following the retirement of the legendary Dale Earnhardt Jr, who will be at the track as grand marshal for the season-opening race. Bowman, who replaced Earnhardt Jr in the No. 88 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet, won pole position and is generously priced at around 25/1, but nobody has led from the start to the finish since Dale Jarrett in 2000 and there are drivers with more experience who look more likely to prosper at Daytona Beach.
Hamlin has the talent and drives for the best-funded team in the sport, but there are several others to watch out for and both Keselowski and Kyle Busch will believe it is their time to finally win the 500. The odds on Busch are marginally better for punters, making him well worth a flutter to enjoy a bit of luck at last on his 13th appearance at the 500 and make it a family double following Kurt’s success in 2017.
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*Please note, odds may fluctuate.