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The biggest race in NASCAR kicks off the start of the 2014 season this Sunday, February 23rd. The Daytona 500 is the race that every driver has their eye on. This is one of the rare sports that begins its season with the biggest event of the year. But what a way to start, as the Great American Race paves the way for the rest of the year.
Events are already underway as Daytona International Speedway. The pole positions were decided on Tuesday, with the rest of the grid installed on Thursday following the running of the Budweiser Duels. Austin Dillon will be on the pole to start the 2014 Daytona 500 after his qualifying speed held up. On the outside of Dillon will be Martin Truex Jr. These two positions were the only ones known as the Budweiser Duels took place last night.
Two familiar names captured the Budweiser Duels. In the first it was 2012 Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth who raced his way to victory. Following that was Denny Hamlin. Both drivers race for Joe Gibbs Racing so it was a good night for that organization.
Even before the 2014 Daytona 500 gets going on Sunday there will be plenty of action on Friday night and Saturday night. The Camping Truck Series will get underway Friday with the Nationwide then taking over Saturday.
But this is all a prelude to the biggest of them all. And of course the top question coming into the week is which driver will start the year off with the win?
Oddsmakers have thrown their picks into the mix and established 2014 Daytona 500 favorites and top contenders. Leading the way is Dale Earnhardt Jr. A former Daytona 500 winner, Earnhardt will start 9th at Daytona on Sunday after qualifying for the Budweiser Duels.
There are plenty of drivers in the mix behind Earnhardt as well, and most familiar with NASCAR will know these names.
Drivers like Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick are considered the favorites to beat as well.
Other names like the ones starting first of the gate in Dillon and Truex will have their say as well.
And of course we can’t forget Jimmie Johnson, the defending champion here at Daytona. Johnson did not have a good qualifying race in the Duel, and will start 32nd in the field of 43 drivers. But it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you finish. And over the last several years there hasn’t been anyone who has finished better than him.
The complete list of betting odds to win the Daytona 500 + the other two races over the week at Daytona International Speedway can be found below. LatestBettingOdds.com gives the last live odds as they are seen at Bovada. Be sure to get in on the action before the races and bet today!