DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — Joe Gibbs Racing is coming off of a dream season in 2019. 75-percent of their fleet made it all the way to the Championship 4 in the NASCAR Cup Series. They won the Daytona 500, Coke 600, Southern 500 and the Bristol Night Race on their way to a series record 19 wins in 36 races.
With a win already under their belts in 2020 when Erik Jones won last Sunday’s Busch Clash, you would think JGR would be the favorites to win their third Daytona 500 in the last five years right?
In theory, yes.
They finished 1-2-3 in last year’s race and have earned the right to be called the favorites. But, what if I told you trends aren’t on their side though?
Denny Hamlin is certainly worth +1000 odds and I would throw some money his way, as he has five top four finishes in his last six Daytona 500 tries including two wins. But, what if I told you that no repeat winner has won the Daytona 500 in two consecutive years since 1994-1995? Trends aren’t on his side.
Kyle Busch is also a favorite. He’s also +1000. But, prior to last year’s runner-up finish, Busch had finished 20th or worse in his last four Daytona starts. He has just three top 10 finishes on the 2.5-mile track since 2014. A reigning series champion like Busch hasn’t won the Daytona 500 the next year since 2000 (Dale Jarrett) and has only happened twice since 1978.
Past history and trends say you can eliminate the top two drivers in the odds immediately. That leaves Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr.
Jones (+2500) just won the Clash last Sunday but just six times in the history of this Clash has the driver that won gone on to win the Daytona 500 a week later too (Bobby Allison 1982, Bill Elliott 1987, Dale Jarrett 1996 and 2000, Jeff Gordon 1997 and Denny Hamlin 2016).
You can eliminate him too.
That leaves Truex Jr. on a track that doesn’t suit him. Truex (+1300) has scored just four top five finishes in 59 career superspeedway starts, only two of them occurring at Daytona. He also has six finishes of 18th or worse in his last nine overall Daytona starts.
This all says to me, look elsewhere than JGR.