NASCAR at Daytona predictions, picks, odds: Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. own the night? –

Who takes the checkered flag as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Daytona? Here are our picks for Sunday’s race.

Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It is Dale Jr. weekend at Daytona after all! The No. 88 team will be doing everything it can this week to get a playoff-clinching race at arguably its best track. Final practice proved just that with Dale Jr. posting the fastest speed. He has a knack for making memories at Daytona NASCAR fans will never forget, from his 2001 Pepsi 400 win just four months after the death of his father, to Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014, up until his last win at the track in the 2015 summer race. Look for Junior to go out on top Saturday night. He will be starting first after winning Friday night’s pole.

Contenders: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski

Despite losing another crew chief this week, 2008 winner Busch posted the fastest time in the first practice as he continues to battle for that first playoff-clinching win. The No. 18 has averaged a 12.83 finish here over the years and will be looking to avenge a Daytona 500 accident that took him out of the race. As for Keselowski, he is no stranger to restrictor-plate racing with five career wins on fast tracks. On Saturday he will have a chance to become the first driver to go back-to-back at the Coke Zero 400 since Tony Stewart in 2005-06.

Wild card: Chase Elliott

The No. 24 driver will be looking to prove his worth after signing a four-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports earlier this week. Still winless on the season, Elliott has been right there in almost every race as he sits sixth in the points. The only driver in front of him who hasn’t clinched a playoff spot yet is Busch. After starting on the pole in February, Elliott nearly won the Daytona 500, but lost a gamble on fuel, a mistake that we’re confident he won’t make this time around.

Odds for the Coke Zero 400

Here are the betting odds for Sunday’s race, via

  • Brad Keselowski 13/2
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 13/2
  • Denny Hamlin 9/1
  • Joey Logano 10/1
  • Kevin Harvick 12/1
  • Kyle Busch 12/1
  • Martin Truex Jr. 12/1
  • Chase Elliott 15/1
  • Kyle Larson 15/1
  • Jimmie Johnson 18/1
  • Kurt Busch 18/1
  • Matt Kenseth 18/1
  • Clint Bowyer 20/1
  • Ryan Blaney 20/1
  • Jamie McMurray 25/1
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 25/1
  • Austin Dillon 30/1
  • Kasey Kahne 30/1
  • Trevor Bayne 30/1
  • Erik Jones 40/1
  • Paul Menard 40/1
  • Daniel Suarez 50/1
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. 50/1
  • Ryan Newman 60/1

Coke Zero 400 entry list

Jamie McMurray
Brad Keselowski
Austin Dillon
Kevin Harvick
Kasey Kahne
Trevor Bayne
Elliott Sadler
Danica Patrick
Denny Hamlin
Ty Dillon
Clint Bowyer
DJ Kennington
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Kyle Busch
Daniel Suarez
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
Corey LaJoie
Chase Elliott
Paul Menard
Ryan Newman
Matt DiBenedetto
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Landon Cassill
Chris Buescher
David Ragan
Kurt Busch
Kyle Larson
Darrell Wallace Jr.
AJ Allmendinger
Jimmie Johnson
Reed Sorenson
Cole Whitt
Brendan Gaughan
Erik Jones
Martin Truex Jr.
Ryan Sieg
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Michael McDowell

Bold – Denotes previous winners at Daytona International Speedway

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Standings

Track Info

Track: Daytona International Speedway
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Track length: 2.5 miles

Previous Coke Zero 400 winners

2016: Brad Keselowski
2015: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014: Aric Almirola
2013: Jimmie Johnson
2012: Tony Stewart

How to watch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Coke Zero 400

Location: Daytona International Speedway; Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: Saturday, July 1
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Length: 160 laps/400 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 40
Stage 2: Ends on lap 80
Final Stage: Scheduled for lap 160
Live stream: NBC Sports App

How to watch the NASCAR Xfinity Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250

Location: Daytona International Speedway; Daytona Beach, Florida
Date: Friday, June 30
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Length: 100 laps/250 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 30
Stage 2: Ends on lap 60
Stage 3: Scheduled for lap 100
Live stream: NBC Sports App