NASCAR Go Bowling 235 Picks, Predictions

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Go Bowling 235 Picks

  • Date: Sunday, August 16, 2020
  • TV-Time: NBC, 2:35 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Daytona International Speedway
  • Location: Daytona Beach, Florida

Handicapping NASCAR at Daytona

It took 23 races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule before we finally get to see some road racing after both Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen’s scheduled events were canceled due to the pandemic which is how we get Sunday’s race on Daytona International Speedway’s 14-turn 3.57-mile road course.

It’s the first time NASCAR has used the layout run annually for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.

Road racing with right and left turns in the big bulky NASCAR cars are one of my most anticipated events of the season. They’re calling this a road course but it’s going to be something different we have never witnessed in NASCAR. It’s going to be fast, as in almost being scary fast.

Most of the tri-oval is still being used with corner banking set at 31 degrees which means these cars will be ripping at full throttle and because they’re using the 750 horsepower package -- no restrictor plate or tapered spacer -- we’ll see faster runs than we saw during the Daytona 500.

Of course, they have to slow down once they get to a situation where they have to make a hard left turn onto the road course section. NASCAR determined that this race package would be going too fast around turn 3 and 4 so they put an extra chicane between turn 4 and the start/finish line.

In normal road races, you can write four to five names down and have a great shot of seeing one of them win. It’s a select group of drivers that have genuine skills making left and right turns in a series that goes around in circles most weeks.

But not many of the skilled road drivers have raced on the Daytona course, which should probably be called a Roval like the one in Charlotte. Between no elevation changes and the high speeds on the high bankings, it’s hard to call it a road course.

Because of the track and drivers having little experience on it and not even being able to practice or qualifying on it, I think the pool of drivers to select from that have a legitimate shot at winning widens by up to 20 drivers having a shot which is good for betting. I would not be shocked if someone who has never won a road race wins Sunday.

NASCAR Cup Odds - Daytona

  • Chase Elliott +350
  • Martin Truex Jr. +500
  • Denny Hamlin +600
  • Kevin Harvick +600
  • Ryan Blaney +800
  • Brad Keselowski +800
  • Kyle Busch +900
  • Clint Bowyer +1500
  • Joey Logano +1600
  • Kurt Busch +2000
  • Erik Jones +2000
  • More NASCAR Futures
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Ride the Road Value?

Clint Bowyer, who leads all active drivers with 12 top-fives, could be your guy at 20/1 odds to win.

“I’m probably unique since at least I have some laps on the racetrack,” Bowyer said. “It was a long time ago (2013). I don’t even remember those laps, but I ran the Rolex 24 and have some experience on that track. I think there are definitely drivers and teams who have experience of running at the Rolex who will be ahead of the pack, ahead of the curve, for sure. But, it’s nothing like driving one of these Cup cars. That’s going to be totally new to all of us.”


Bowyer’s lone road course win was at Sonoma in 2012 and the last two years at the Charlotte Roval, he was third in 2018 and fourth in 2019. A couple of other reasons to support Bowyer this week besides the chunky odds is the 750 hp package that has performed the best for him this season with a fifth-place at Phoenix and runner-up at Bristol. It’s also desperation time for Bowyer to clinch a playoff berth -- four races remain -- and also secure a ride for 2021.

He drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, one of the elite programs, and hasn’t been offered a contract while almost all the other rides for good teams are slowly being claimed, and there are younger drivers like Erik Jones who may be sought after more than the 41-year-old Bowyer. But a win sure could push the odds in his favor to stay in the No. 14.

Big Names Still Respected

This week’s race package should be a major part of what driver is decided to bet on because a few teams have been better than others who are dominating the season overall. Kevin Harvick who has been very competitive on road courses (2 wins) over his career leads the series with six wins, but they all came with the 550 hp package. Denny Hamlin is next with five wins but doesn’t have any using the 750 hp package.

The top performer this season with the 750 hp package has been Brad Keselowski with wins at Bristol and New Hampshire while also being third at Martinsville and fourth in the All-Star Race at Bristol. He would be the top candidate to win who has never won on a road course, although he has been runner-up three times at Watkins Glen. He’s 12/1 to win and is in my betting portfolio this week.

Team Penske has been the best with this week’s race package with Joey Logano winning at Phoenix and fourth-place at both Martinsville and New Hampshire. Ryan Blaney was runner-up at Martinsville and was sixth in the All-Star race after leading a race-high 72 laps. Logano has a 2015 Watkins Glen trophy to his credit and Blaney won the inaugural Roval race in 2018.

Current Form goes to Chase!

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. both lead active drivers with four road course wins, but Chase Elliott has made the most noise lately with his three road wins happening in the last five road races, the last coming at the Roval in September.

“I am super excited just to go somewhere new,” Elliott said. “Obviously, I’ve enjoyed Watkins Glen these past couple of years. We have a new challenge ahead with the Daytona Road Course. I think the biggest thing is not having any practice. I think it is going to be exciting but it’s also going to be really hard for the guys that have never made a lap there before. I think it’s going to give a pretty big advantage to those who’ve run the 24-hour race and have made any laps on that track. I’ve never made a lap. I don’t even know what turns are where. I’m going to get on iRacing and try and make some laps just to familiarize myself with the track. I’ve watched the 24-hour race, but I’ve never really paid a ton of attention to it. It’s going to be really difficult for people like me who have never seen it.”

After a few laps, Elliott should have things figured out and deserves to be the 4/1 co-favorite with Truex who has led laps in his last nine road starts. He’s won three of the past seven road races. Both these drivers have been great with the 750 hp race package with Truex getting his only win of the year at Martinsville and Elliott winning the All-Star Race, finishing fifth at Martinsville and leading the most laps (93) at Phoenix.

Last note on the race. The only active driver to ever win on the Daytona road course was Brendan Gaughan in 2011 who will make a rare start is a non-superspeedway race. Gaughan has raced in the Rolex 24 three times. He’s 300/1 to win Sunday’s 235.

Go Bowling 235
Top-5 Finish Prediction

1) #19 Martin Truex Jr. (4/1) Bet Now at DraftKings
2) #9 Chase Elliott (4/1) Bet Now at DraftKings
3) #12 Ryan Blaney (8/1)
4) #2 Brad Keselowski (12/1)
5) #14 Clint Bowyer (20/1)

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