With Las Vegas wrapped up, the NASCAR Round of 12 heads to Talladega next weekend for the second installment. The drivers have five races in October, and the season finale in November.
The top twelve racers are listed below in our NASCAR Futures for the last six races of the season.
|2021 NASCAR Cup Series Futures|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+600||+600||+600|
This has been a surreal 2021, to be honest. When looking at the NASCAR futures for the driver’s championship, there exists one constant and then a sea of inconsistencies. Even then, some parts of the equation err end game are taking shape.
Here is what the playoff standings, by points, look like after the South Point 400 (Las Vegas) took place on September 26th:
There is the old veteran in Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing. One may ask what is that asterisk for? Hamlin won the South Point 400 on Sunday night holding off Chase Elliott by 0.442 seconds. That means the No. 11 car automatically advances to the Round of 8. This is the second time Hamlin has won the opening segment to advance early.
Kyle Larson slipped a bit with a tenth-place result but still has a staggering 57-point cushion over ninth-place William Byron. The chances of him missing the Round of 8 are almost zero. After Larson and Hamlin, two of the other Joe Gibbs driver are the most likely to avoid elimination. Those drivers are Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. They finished third and fourth in Las Vegas respectively.
It is hard to believe another race has ticked off the schedule and only six races are left. After Talladega (Superspeedway) and Charlotte (ROVAL), only four races will remain.
There is a bit of uncertainty with NASCAR Futures because any one of these drivers can still advance with just a win in the next two segments. Fans and bettors enjoy the intrigue, October will be a pivotal month because, at the month’s end, more change comes.
It is easy to see why Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin are contenders. Kyle Larson has won six races on the season and can win any race on any course (short-track, intermediate, superspeedway, road, ROVAL, etc.).Larson’s versatility and ability to accumulate points make him the most likely to battle at Phoenix in November for the NASCAR championship.
It is hard to believe that since May, the two favorites have been Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. It has mostly stayed that way. Right now, Larson’s best odds are in the +160 to +200 window while Hamlin’s odds have shortened to +425 to +475.
Again, with six races to go, projections suggest Larson could be the one that finishes the best at Phoenix.
As much as one would like to lean towards Hamlin and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 car, the question begs itself. Can Hamlin beat Kyle Larson and Hendrick Motorsports when it counts?
Hence, with NASCAR Futures expected to change a bit more, here is a pick from GTBets while one can get it.
Even though Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin are likely to advance to the Round of 8 then 4, there is another driver that has to be considered. That would be Chase Elliott. Repeat champion buzz adds excitement to the NASCAR Futures.
Crunching the numbers lends a little more credence to Elliott’s candidacy. Elliott enjoys +1000 odds across the board which is nice for a recent champion (see 2020). The Hendricks Motorsports Racing driver also has the luxury of a second-place at Las Vegas, a ROVAL course at Charlotte, and a very good track record at Martinsville in his quest to make the series finale at Phoenix.
It almost feels predestined that at least two Hendrick drivers will make it to Phoenix. That is where strategy gets thrown out the window. Until then, one is going to see this for better or for worse.
Will the NASCAR Futures shift even more in October? The belief is that yes it can. For a driver like Elliott, if he gets a couple more results or a win at Charlotte, his odds are going to shorten to third-best at least and maybe second.
The odds shifting with the driver’s title make it a challenge. At this point, it may be better to look at who may throw a wrench into the best-intended predictions. One of those younger racers that could make an impact may just be Ryan Blaney. Blaney has seen his odds shorten to +1200 across the board. Is the Team Penske driver worth a look?
Part of our rationale lies in the fact that Blaney has gotten past the stumbling block of the first segment. He finished fifth at Vegas bypassing Tyler Reddick late. That was a boost in points considering he was mired in the middle of the pack with 100 laps to go.
Over the last seven weeks, the No. 12 driver has the second-best average finish behind Kyle Larson at 6.67.
Another possible NASCAR Futures bet may just be Martin Truex Jr. He has won it before in 2017 and is fourth over the last two months in the average finish.
Take Kyle Larson to edge out Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott at Phoenix for his first NASCAR Championship.