With Joey Logano taking home the NASCAR Cup Series crown in 2022, racers, fans, and the public at large are already turning their attention to the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series season. This year will be the 75th yearly installment of NASCAR professional stock car racing in the U.S. and the 52nd season in the modern-era Cup Series. Kicking off in February of this year, with the Cup Series Championship in November, there will be numerous clashes and awesome showdowns. In addition to Logano, four other drivers have positioned themselves as favorites heading into next season including a couple of former champions: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney.
In this article, SBS will be going over what to look for from each of these contending drivers, along with a predicted winner for the upcoming season, and more notes about NASCAR betting.
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One of the top young racers in all of NASCAR, Elliott is the winner of the 2020 Cup Series Championship and also the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year. The Hendrick Motorsports driver finished in fourth place last season in the Cup Series but was able to notch four victories during the year. While the final result was not what Elliott had wanted, he still is a top-five racer in NASCAR as evidenced by his other fourth-place finish during the 2021 season. The question now is whether the 27-year-old can return to glory this season after having some uneven finishes the last two years.
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Larson is seeking a return to glory in 2023 after finishing in seventh place last season. Another driver for Hendrick Motorsports, the 30-year-old racked up three victories last season and is also another former NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Larson did win the 2022 ESPY Award for Best Driver even though his performance during the Cup Series Championship was not where he wanted it to be. During the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs last season, Larson was in a solid spot to win most races, but back-to-back 35th-place finishes late in the season doomed his chances.
One of the winningest drivers on the NASCAR Cup circuit, Hamlin has never won the Cup Series Championship but is usually in a position to do so each year. Last year actually was one of his best seasons during the Cup Series with a fifth-place finish. In terms of overall championship season performances, the Jordan Brand ambassador finished in second place during the 2010 season. While it has been over 10 years since he reached those heights, he still is a threat to win a lot of races, with multiple top-five finishes in 2022. In fact, Larson has finished inside the top five of the NASCAR Cup Series standings the last four seasons.
The final racer spotlight on our list, Blaney finished in 8th place last season during the Cup Series but has been climbing the ranks as a dark horse favorite. With seven overall wins to his credit, the 29-year-old has consistently gotten better each season, with career-best finishes coming in 2019 and 2021 (seventh place). Though he was unable to achieve any victories in 2022, he still racked up a handful of top-three finishes that helped him stay in contention for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Moreover, he also had two back-to-back top-three finishes to end the season.
Prediction: Always a wide-open competition, this will finally be the year that Larson slays the dragon and is crowned the NASCAR Cup Series champion.
After you are all done with getting your bets ready for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series season, SBS has you covered with a ton of other great resources. With the stock car racing season starting next month, our NASCAR betting sites rundown is a fantastic page to check out that has all the latest betting markets related to the sport. Additionally, another must-read page is the SBS best bonus betting sites guide which goes over all the latest welcome bonuses offered. This also includes a catalog of the different bonus offers and how to get the most out of promotions. Finally, given the high-stakes nature of the sport, the SBS VIP sports betting sites breakdown is an excellent guide for those looking to explore some higher-end betting options.