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Six rounds into the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are still considered the favorites.
Kyle Busch is off to a great start in the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season. The 2015 champion has two wins in five races and has yet to finish outside the top 10. An early preseason favorite alongside Kevin Harvick, the driver of the #18 car now leads the odds while Harvick isn’t too far behind. Do not count Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. or Brad Keselowski out, however.
Part of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series “Big Four” alongside Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and reigning champion Joey Logano, Busch sits slightly ahead of the other three at the moment.
Sitting on two race victories and four stage wins through the first five rounds, it’s no surprise to see the younger Busch as the favorite. The JGR driver has led more laps (361) than the next two drivers combined. His strong showing last year should also be taken into consideration. Kyle Busch tied Kevin Harvick with eight wins but failed to win the championship. His odds are now 5/1 compared to 9/2 at the opener.
Chasing his first win of the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season, 2014 champion Kevin Harvick follows closely behind Kyle Busch. Fresh off an eight-win season which ultimately saw him finish third in the standings, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver is a strong contender.
While his 2019 winless start doesn’t quite compare to his 2018 performance (three wins in the first four rounds), Harvick still sits third in the standings with three finishes inside the top 5. The #4 also has two stage victories through the first five rounds. His odds to take the 2019 championship are 6/1 compared to 9/2 at the opener.
Logano now finds himself as one of the favorites. The reigning NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion wasn’t expected to repeat, but a strong start to the season has changed that. The driver of the #22 Penske Racing car sits second in the standings with one race victory and one stage win.
Following a season full of ups and downs, Logano saved the best for last. With two wins in the last five races, the #22 driver finally secured his first career championship. Coming off a second place finish at Fontana, it’s safe to say that Joey Logano will continue his climb back to the top. Listed at 10/1 odds during the offseason, he is now tied with Kevin Harvick at 6/1.
Keselowski has often taken the backseat to teammate Joey Logano in recent years. The 2012 Cup Series champion however is always among the championship contenders, and 2019 doesn’t seem to be an exception. With one win in five races, the driver of the #2 car sits fifth in the standings and is currently on the rise. Listed at 10/1 early in the season, Keselowski’s odds are now 7/1.
Do not forget about Martin Truex Jr. The 2017 champion has yet to win a race this season and is a relatively distant seventh in the standings. Truex has 16 wins over the past three years and is listed at 8/1 odds for this year’s championship compared to 6/1 at the opener.
The recent dominance by Toyota and Ford means that Chevrolet drivers do not feature as often among the favorites. But keep an eye on Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch. Larson has consistently been the top performer for the manufacturer. The driver of the #42 car is only two years removed from a four-win season. Should Chevy mount a serious challenge for the title, Kyle Larson could very well be the leading driver.
Kurt Busch meanwhile trails his teammate by three points in the standings, having finished four time inside the top 10. Larson’s odds have gone from 7/1 during the preseason to 10/1, while Busch is listed at 20/1 compared to 25/1 at the opener.
Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott, who finally scored his maiden win last year, is currently tied with Larson at 10/1 odds, having started the season at 7/1 as well. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, coming off his first ever winless season and a career-low 14th place in the standings, is listed at 30/1.
Youngsters Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones could also find themselves in the title hunt. Driving for powerhouse Penske, Blaney is listed at 10/1, while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Jones poor start means that his odds have from 15/1 to 25/1.
Keep in mind that it’s still very early in the season, so more contenders could rise before the playoffs are finally set. Teams will have more time to understand this year’s aero package as well, so the current scenario could very well change.
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