Chase Elliott NASCAR Cup Odds Make For a Solid Value Bet
Chase Elliott is NASCAR’s most popular driver. He took the mantle from Dale Earnhardt Jr. two years ago when Junior turned in his helmet for a microphone and retired to the television booth. Like his father Bill, who won the award 16 straight seasons before his retirement, Elliott has a chance for a good long run as a fan favorite.
Elliott may be a favorite of another kind this season. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is starting to look like a legitimate contender to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
He has won twice this season at Talladega and Watkins Glen, two tracks that could not be more different from one another. Talladega is a mammoth, 2.66-mile oval track known for high speeds, tight packs of cars and big crashes. He prevailed there in May. Fast forward to The Glen, which is one of just three road courses on the schedule. The upstate New York track is an 11-turn gauntlet of twists, turns and elevation changes Elliott has mastered two years in a row.
It’s because of that diversity incapable performance Elliott’s odds of winning this year’s title have dropped from +1100 to +800.
He’s elevated himself to that stature for a variety of reasons. Unlike last season there aren’t quite as many dominant drivers in the series. In 2018, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. established themselves as the “Big 3” after combining to win 20 of the year’s 36 races.
This season both Busch and Truex Jr. have been solid with multiple victories while Harvick is not as strong as he was a year ago. The wins are being spread around the field more with Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Elliott putting more than single wins on the board. A hot streak at the right time can allow Elliott to separate himself from the pack and be a force if he gets to the Championship 4 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
Four drivers are eligible for the title at the season-ending race; the driver who finishes ahead of the other three is the champ. Elliott has exceled in the past at a number of tracks remaining in the regular season. Additionally several are repeat visits from earlier in the season. More importantly, those returning tracks come in the most important time of the year during the 10-race Playoff schedule; Martinsville, Talladega, Dover, and Kansas. Elliott’s average finish this year at those four tracks is third thanks to finishes of second at Martinsville, first at Talladega, fifth at Dover and fourth at Kansas.
The introduction of a new rules package this year has dramatically changed the style of racing at a number of tracks. Elliott’s success the first time through with the new package will provide a major benefit to him and crew chief Alan Gustafson in setting up the car for prime performance when they return.
Elliott has been very strong during his Cup career at Homestead. In three starts at the south Florida track, his average finish is 7.67 with just one run outside the top-10. Being good at the place where the championship is decided is imperative under this title format and Elliott’s pedigree matches up very well with some of the other contenders he’ll battle.
There are enough reasons over the remainder of the regular season and Playoffs schedule to be bullish on Chase Elliott as a driver definitely capable with winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.