After 22 races in the Cup Series season, a new NASCAR driver has the best odds to hold up the championship trophy in Phoenix. Kyle Larson, the man behind the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, now sits atop the standings at 9-4 odds. He takes the top spot from a nine-race winner in 2020.
NASCAR’s media arm released the list of updated championship odds amid a break in the season due to the Olympics. This list provided the new numbers, as well as the original odds from the start of the season. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick entered 2021 with 11-2 odds, the best in the Cup Series. Now, however, Harvick is sixth at 12-1.
Larson, on the other hand, entered his first season with Hendrick Motorsports with 11-1 odds. He faced raised expectations to find success due to joining a team with more funding and better equipment. Larson exceeded these expectations by winning four points-paying races, as well as the All-Star Race.
Rowdy Remains Among Favorites To Win the Championship
While multiple drivers have new odds to win the championship after 22 races, there is one that still remains in contention. Kyle Busch entered the season with 7-1 odds to win his third title, and he still holds these same odds with four regular-season races remaining.
Rowdy maintains his hold on the second spot due to a rebound season. While he struggled throughout 2020 and only won one race well after his elimination from the playoffs, he already has two trips to Victory Lane and 10 top-10 finishes. Busch is fourth in the points standings, and he is well on his way to potentially securing a spot in the championship four.
Busch could have even more points on his total, but an incident at New Hampshire Motor Speedway disrupted his race. Busch spun out mere laps into the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 due to rain falling on Turn 1. He slammed into the wall and destroyed the rear of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, relegating him to a last-place finish.
Regardless of the spin, Busch is back in the playoffs once again, where he will try to win the third championship of his Cup Series career. Though he will have to maintain his momentum once he reaches the Round of 16.
Alex Bowman Made Major Strides in 22 Races
The driver of the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Bowman entered the 2021 season with 35-1 odds to win the championship. He was near the middle of the pack due to only winning once in 2019 and once in 2020. However, Bowman made major strides while replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
The driver of the No. 48 reached Victory Lane for the first time at Richmond Raceway on April 18. This win broke a winless streak by HMS drivers at the track that began in 2008. He then added wins at Dover International Speedway (May 16) and Pocono Raceway (June 26).
Bowman remains in a tie with Martin Truex Jr. for the second-most wins (three) in the Cup Series season. He also has much better odds (14-1) to win the championship. With a fresh contract extension in hand, Bowman is still 10th overall in the updated odds, but he has earned respect as a contender.