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Daytona 500: Reigning champ Denny Hamlin among five favorites

Feb. 13 (UPI) — Reigning champion Denny Hamlin is among five betting favorites to win NASCAR’s 2020 Daytona 500 Sunday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and 2019 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch each have +1000 odds to take the checkered flag in the main race this weekend, according to Caesars.

Chase Elliott and Martin Treux Jr. are tied with the sixth-best odds of winning the race. John Hunter Nemechek has the longest odds of winning at +8000.

“We’ve been very fortunate in the last eight to 10 years to be in contention for a lot of these Daytona 500s,” Hamlin said of his team Wednesday at Daytona 500 media day. “Hopefully, we are able to miss [wrecks] again this year.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole for Sunday’s season-opening race, turning in a 194.582-mph lap Feb. 9 during qualifying. Alex Bowman will start second.

The order for the rest of the 40-car field will be determined during two more qualifying races Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Elliott and Jimmie Johnson will start in the front row for each of the dual races. Hamlin finished fifth in qualifying, while Busch had the sixth-fastest car.

Hamlin and Johnson each have two career wins at “The Great American Race,” with Johnson last winning in 2014.

The 2020 Daytona race slate begins with Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1 at 7 p.m. EST Thursday. The Bluegrass Vacations Duel No. 2 follows that race and is set to start at 8:45 p.m. Each races is 60 laps and 150 miles.

Logano is the betting favorite to win the first duel race, followed by Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Hamlin, Elliott and Truex Jr. Busch is the favorite to win the second dual race, followed by Harvick, Kurt Busch, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto and Johnson.

“Honestly, the goal is to win,” Logano said. “There is really no other goal outside of that. … This is the biggest race of the year. It means so much to win it. There are so many crazy things that can happen.”

The NextEra Energy 250 headlines Friday’s event schedule. The 100-lap, 250-mile NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race starts at 7:30 p.m. The NASCAR Racing Experience 300 kicks off the NASCAR Xfinity Series season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. That race is 120 laps and 300 miles.

Kyle Busch had five wins and 17 top-five finishes in 2019. He finished second behind Hamlin in the 2019 Daytona 500. Truex Jr. had a Cup Series leading seven wins last season. Hamlin had six wins and a Cup Series leading 19 top-five finishes in 2019.

NASCAR stopped disclosing the prize money teams earn in races in 2016, but Logano earned $ 1.58 million for winning the 2015 Daytona 500.

How to watch

What: The 62nd Daytona 500

When: 2:30 p.m. EST Sunday

Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Beach, Fla.

TV: Fox

Streaming: Fox Sports Go app

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Sports News – UPI.com

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