NASCAR: Clear championship favorite emerging at halfway?

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Chicago, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Chicago, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the brand-new Chicago Street Course marked the halfway point of the 2023 season. Who is the title favorite?

In his NASCAR Cup Series debut, Trackhouse Racing Team’s Shane van Gisbergen won the inaugural race at the new Chicago Street Course last Sunday, becoming the first driver to win a Cup Series street race in the 75-year history of the sport.

The 34-year-old New Zealander became the 12th different winner through the first 18 races on the 36-race schedule, though he is ineligible for the playoffs since he does not compete full-time. All 11 of the other winners this year sit atop the provisional playoff picture.

While there are just eight races remaining on the regular season schedule, Sunday’s 78-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.2-mile (3.541-kilometer) temporary street circuit in Chicago, Illinois marked the halfway point of the entire calendar.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is currently offering fans an instant $200 just for signing up and betting $20, lists Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson as the favorite to win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Larson is listed at +500, ahead of three other drivers tied for second at +700. Have a look at the odds.

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Larson, the 2021 champion, has won twice this season, though he has had the speed to win a number of other races as well. He only finds himself in eighth place in the point standings, but he has led the second most laps among all drivers and looks poised to mount a run which could very well culminate in a second championship.

The three drivers listed in a second place tie are the only other three drivers who have won multiple races this year. Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch lead all drivers with three wins, while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. has won twice.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

The second half of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to get underway this Sunday, July 9 with the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race is set to be broadcast live on USA Network starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you have yet to begin a free trial of FuboTV, do so now!