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Top States For Daytona 500 Success

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 3 mins

Top States For Daytona 500 Success

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The Daytona 500 is in Florida, but North Carolina can claim to be king of the track. 

Bookies.com went back 30 years to determine which states have produced Daytona 500 success. North Carolina and California have, by a sizeable margin, been the homes of the most successful NASCAR drivers in recent Daytona 500 history. 

Rankings were determined by recording the top three finishers in each Daytona 500 from 1994 to 2023. Points were assigned based on the home state of the drivers, with five points awarded for first place, three points for second place, and one point for third. 

North Carolina and California not only produced the most winners over the last 30 years but the most runner-up finishes. California and Indiana tied for the most drivers taking third. 

Methodology

The rankings were determined by recording the top three finishers in each Daytona 500 from 1994 to 2023. Points were assigned based on the home state of the drivers, with 5 points awarded for first place, 3 points for second place, and 1 point for third place. The cumulative points were then tallied to establish the final standings.

In case of a tie, the tiebreaker operates in three tiers: 1) The state with higher finishes is prioritized. 2) If still tied, the state with more laps led in the Daytona 500 is favored. 3) If the tie persists, the state with the racer who was higher in the overall standings post-race is considered.

North Carolina has six checkered flags from four different drivers: Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000), Dale Earnhardt (1998), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004, 2014) and Austin Dillon (2018) pace the Tar Heel State. 

NC also has seven runner-up finishes, three more than any other state, thanks to four of them by Earnhardt Jr. and three by Earnhardt. Nevada has four second-placers, with three from Kurt Busch. 

California also has six victories but from only three different racers. Jeff Gordon won the race three times (1997, 1999, 2005), Jimmie Johnson won it twice (2006, 2013) and Kevin Harvick has one win (2007). 

Tennessee hasn’t had a single driver finish in second or third place at a Daytona 500 since 1994, but it’s had four champions. Sterling Martin won the first two 500s used in this sample size, in 1994 and 1995, while Ricky Stenhouse is the race’s defending champion. Trevor Bayne won it in 2011. 

Florida has three wins, but they’re all by the same man – Denny Hamlin. 

This list could be diversified quickly. The eight drivers with the best odds to win the 2024 Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 reside from eight different states, and none of them come from North Carolina: 

Denny Hamlin (Florida, +900), Kyle Busch (Nevada, +1100), Ryan Blaney (Ohio, +1200), Brad Keselowski (Michigan, +1200), Kyle Larson (California, +1400), Joey Logano (Connecticut, +1400), Chris Buescher (Texas, +1400) and Chase Elliott (Georgia, +1400).

About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.