Can Ryan Blaney Upset Kyle Larson for the Ultimate Daytona 500 Bragging Rights?

Published 02/12/2024, 12:39 PM EST

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Last year in the NASCAR Cup Series championship race at Phoenix, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson went toe-to-toe for the title and it was the Team Penske man that came out on top. Larson is considered by many as the best driver in the competition but on that day, his title rival was the better driver. However, there is one more crown that is of great value which can be won by Cup Series drivers. The Daytona 500.

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The Great American Race has gone down over the years as one of the most iconic races in the history of motorsports anywhere in the world. Any driver who has won the title has become immortal and both Blaney and Larson would love to have that distinction. But the question is, who is going to achieve that objective first?

One has a better overall record, the other has a better Daytona 500 record

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Considering how good and accomplished they are as drivers, one may gravitate towards the Hendrick Motorsports star. Kyle Larson has won more than double the Cup Series races Ryan Blaney has and apart from Phoenix last year, he usually is able to outperform the Team Penske man. It would not be far-fetched to consider him a favorite for the win this year as he is one of the best drivers in the competition today.

However, when it just comes to the Daytona 500 stats, Blaney is in a much better position than Larson. None of them have won The Great American Race yet but the reigning Cup Series champion has 3 top-five finishes in the Daytona 500. Larson, on the other hand, has none so far. His best results came in 2016 and 2019 when he finished P7. With Hendrick Motorsports, his best finishing position was P10 in 2021.

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Both drivers had a good result in Clash at the Coliseum as Ryan Blaney finished P3 and Kyle Larson finished P5. They will be looking to take that form into the Daytona 500 and if recent results are to be trusted (including the final few Cup races in 2023), the edge goes to Ryan Blaney. But NASCAR is as unpredictable as it gets so you never know.

The bookies have come out with their predictions for the Daytona 500 and it’s not a surprise who they have on top. However, in the context of the 2024 Cup Series season, the Blaney-Larson rivalry may only just be getting started.

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Bookies consider Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson as 2024 Cup Series favorites

It’s no secret that Ryan Blaney is among the favorites to win the 2024 edition of The Great American Race. According to FOX, the Team Penske man has the best odds at +900 to win whereas Kyle Larson is in joint-fourth with +1500 odds to win the Cup Series season-opener. But the Daytona 500 is not what determines the winner of the Cup Series and when it comes to that, early predictions suggest a title fight between the Team Penske and the Hendrick Motorsports star.

Online betting website BetOnline recently came out with the odds for the 2024 Cup Series season. And as per Jayski, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney are the 2 names on the top of that list. The Team Penske man has the better odds at 11/2 but the 2021 Cup Series champion is not far behind with 23/4. If these predictions are to be believed then fans are in for a treat as 2 of the best drivers in the division will battle it out to become a 2-time Cup Series champion.

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The road to winning the coveted trophy begins with the iconic Daytona 500 and every single driver will be hungry to win the race. Anyone can win The Great American Race and it will be interesting to see how the teams and drivers start off the new season of the NASCAR Cup Series.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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