NASCAR's odd regular season to end at Daytona

By Pete Pistone  () 

NASCAR has experienced a number of firsts during this coronavirus-impacted season.

Doubleheader weekends, midweek races and no practice or qualifying are just a few of the byproducts implemented by the sanctioning body since the sport returned in mid-May.

Another first will take place Saturday night when the Cup Series regular season concludes with

the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

However, unlike the other modifications put into play because of COVID-19, ending the

regular-season schedule at Daytona was by design. The annual July 4 stop at “The World Center of Racing” was moved back about a month and a half so the final 16-driver playoff field could be determined on the iconic 2.5-mile superspeedway.

The result sets up a fascinating scenario of drivers below the cut line trying to race their way

into the postseason through the point standings or with an automatic berth thanks to a win. Juxtapose that group with those already locked into the playoffs who don’t care about points and are simply trying to get to Victory Lane, and Saturday night has the ingredients to be one of the year’s wildest races.

The nature of racing at Daytona and the reliance on drafting while working with others in the

tight packs typical of superspeedway racing add to that drama. But while luck plays a role in success at Daytona, some drivers also use a distinct skill set to give them an advantage. Buckle up, because there’s a good chance Saturday night’s race will be a wild ride.

Here’s a look at the favorites for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona:


Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Hamlin is one of the top drivers in 2020 and comes into the weekend second in wins with five after taking one of last week’s Dover races. He’s also very good at Daytona and has won the season-opening Daytona 500 three times with victories in 2016, 2019 and last February.


His recent finishes don’t depict the whole story of how well Logano runs at Daytona and its sister track in Talladega. The Team Penske driver is usually near the front of the field, but his

sometimes-aggressive nature has recently caused Logano to get swept up in late-race accidents. He will be a player, and look for him to work with his Penske teammates as well as the rest of the Ford stable in the draft.


He’s another Penske driver with a penchant for racing well in the draft who will have the benefit of teammates to help his cause. Blaney was second in this year’s Daytona 500 coming up just short of edging Hamlin for the win in the race’s wild finish.


It would be a storybook finish for sure if Johnson could pull off a win and clinch a playoff berth at the same time in his final full-time season. Before exiting February’s Daytona 500 in a crash, Johnson had one of the better cars in the race.


back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

Get the latest sports betting news & VSiN programming updates with this free daily email from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network.


View All
  • Lauri_Markanen

    Tuley's Takes Today: Tuesday recaps, Contest Corner, Wednesday play (12/1)

    As we were getting ready for the Tuesday night sports betting action to begin with the NBA, NHL and college basketball, all I could think of is that I...
  • baylor

    Early CFB Conference Championship Sharp Report

    Today bettors have a loaded Wednesday slate to choose from including 9 NBA games, 6 NHL games and 70 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown...
  • reynolds

    Hero World Challenge best bets

    While the official PGA Tour season is on pause until January, an elite field of 20 players gathers this week for the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas....
  • finocchiaro

    Best bets for Font-Aldo UFC card

    After a week off for Thanksgiving, the UFC heads into its last three productions of 2021 starting with Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from the Apex...
  • USATSI_17242641

    Peterson: Best bet for Nebraska vs. NC State

    The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be decided on Wednesday and NC State will look to both help its profile, and also that of the ACC, as the Wolfpack...
  • vontobelnfl

    NFL Week 12 lessons learned

    It was an emotional week for me in the NFL, as the Indianapolis Colts’ failed cover cost me a share of the first-place prize in the Westgate SuperContest...
  • vontobelnba

    Three NBA trends to watch

    It was a somewhat quiet week in the NBA with the league taking a night off for Thanksgiving, but there is still plenty to discuss. This week we touch...
  • macneil

    Hockey bettors must beat closing line

    In the end, wins and losses are really all that matters, because every sports bettor’s goal is to make money. However, wins and losses don’t...
  • appelbaum

    Five NFL games wise guys like

    NFL underdogs continued to grind out a profit in Week 12, going 8-7 ATS. Dogs are now 101-77 ATS (57 percent) on the season. A $100 bettor taking every...
  • hill

    NFL capsules for Week 13

    Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints The Dallas Cowboys (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) visit the New Orleans Saints (5-6 SU and ATS) on Thursday night as both...
  • moore

    Let's re-examine Gonzaga wagers

    Those predictions we heard about this college basketball season being filled with upsets and uncertainty? Well, they seem to be pretty accurate just a...
  • makinennfl

    Simulating rest of NFL season

    (To view the charts associated with this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) All NFL teams have either five or six games left in their 2021-22...

VSiN Logo Plus

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!


  • Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
  • Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
  • 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
  • Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
  • All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on
Sign Up Now
Google Play
App Store