F1 star is ready for his Daytona 500 challenge

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NASCAR lovers enjoyed another thrilling race when witnessing a dramatic finish to the Chili Bowl 2022 which attracted a global audience. With Christopher Bell leading the race in the closing stages and looking guaranteed to scoop a stunning fourth win in his home state race, cementing his name in the history books, there was a late twist in the tale. Bell was in-play favorite to win the race with the best bookies listed at MyTopSportsbooks but there was an upset of epic proportions. Tanner Thorson raced to the front of the pack, passing Bell and holding off his desperate attempts to regain the lead that continued all the way to the finish line.

That high speed battle in Oklahoma encapsulates the drama and excitement of NASCAR, serving as a timely reminder to anyone who needs it exactly why the sport is so popular, drawing millions of spectators and supporters from across the globe. Any new fans won over by Thorson’s late win join the party just in time as attention begins to move towards the upcoming Daytona 500.

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Villeneuve confirms his interest

One of the biggest events on the international motorsport calendar, this year’s race promises to be even more dramatic and exciting than usual. The wheels are in motion for a surprise addition to the line-up this year, a celebrity of the motorsport industry. F1 legend Jacques Villeneuve is rumored to be racing this year and that would be a major coup for NASCAR. The Formula 1 star has taken part in this field of motorsports in the past and has already made his love of NASCAR public. He is eager to return and sees this year’s Daytona 500 as the perfect race to make that long-awaited comeback. It had been written by some bloggers and critics of the move that Jacques’ rumored involvement was nothing more than exactly that – rumors. It was a publicity stunt engineered to ramp up interest in the Daytona 500 and Villeneuve’s continued involvement in the sport. Those comments proved to be well wide of the mark when Jacques spent two days at the Daytona International Speedway circuit, not carrying out media work but, instead, driving the number 27 Ford racer.

The experienced racer flew around the circuit in the colors of Team Hezeberg who are a new addition to the NASCAR program this season. The product of a merger between another racing superstar in Toine Hezemans and Dutchman Ernst Berg, a popular and successful entrepreneur. Surely any ambitious team with such a strong backroom backing would already have a talented driver in mind for the Daytona 500, so why would they turn to a veteran of Formula 1 to fly the flag for them?

The answer to that question is an interesting one. Team Hezeberg already have Loris Hezemans on their books, a NASCAR European champion who won the title less than three years ago. Loris will race in each of the road course races which best suits his skills but he is not yet signed up and approved for a place in the major oval tracks, like the one racers will face at the Daytona 500.

Hamlin is the traders’ pick

Villeneuve will be a welcome and exciting addition to the season and the Daytona 500 list or racers but few are expecting the experienced driver to do something special and go on to win the race. The betting traders in Las Vegas and beyond have other ideas and when pricing up their book they have pinned Denny Hamlin to the head of the betting.

Denny is seen by the odds-makers as the most likely champion and his recent form makes that stance a difficult one to argue against. Hamlin has the skills, experience, car and the backing to live up to expectations and win the race. It would take a huge effort or an accident to stop him lifting the trophy but there’s no such thing as a guaranteed winner in NASCAR.

Others near the head of the Daytona 500 betting list include Chase Elliott who has been attracting attention in recent days, Kyle Larson who is never far from the favorites and Ryan Blaney who rates as an outsider with a strong chance.

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