Stock-car racing is popular with sports betting fans in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and the USA’s various NASCAR series keeps them well supplied with action. The most exciting races are those that produce a win for the underdog, so here’s our pick for the top five surprise results in history:
Rookie Bayne Wins 2011 Daytona 500
Just a day after his 20th birthday, in only his second Sprint Cup race, Nationwide Series graduate Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 in February, 2011. Driving for NASCAR’s oldest team, Wood Brothers Racing, Bayne’s victory in the famous Florida endurance event was WBR’s first in 10 years, and it also made him the second-youngest driver ever to win a Sprint Cup race.
Jamie McMurray’s 2002 UAW-GM Quality 500
A year after the shocking death of Dale Earnhardt in a crash at the Daytona 500, Chip Ganassi Racing lost driver Sterling Marlin in October 2002, with a fractured vertebra. McMurray had one Sprint Cup start to his name, and was only supposed to start as a rookie the following year, but he found himself in the hot seat for the UAW-GM Quality 500. He rose to the occasion in his Chevy, leading for the final 96 of the race’s 100 laps.
Earnhardt’s 1990 Daytona Loss to Cope
One of NASCAR’s most revered drivers, Dale Earnhardt suffered two Daytona 500 disappointments in a row, a decade before his tragic demise at the same track. The most frustrating was probably the first one, in 1990, when Earnhardt looked set for certain victory in the 200-lap race. He was in the lead for the final 155, but on turn three of the very last lap he hit debris on the track, blowing a tyre. His sudden, dramatic loss of speed allowed Derrike Cope to slip past for his first Sprint Cup victory, and his only win at the Daytona 500.
Bouchard’s Talladega One-Hit-Wonder in 1981
Wagering on NASCAR racing stretches way back, to long before betting enthusiasts could enjoy no deposit pokies online for real money casino bonuses, deposit matching sign-up bonuses and similar perks online. One of the biggest upsets betting fans have witnessed at NASCAR occurred 36 years ago, at the 1981 Talladega 500. New England rookie Ron Bouchard won his first and only Sprint Cup victory in a photo-finish that saw him pass Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte right on the finish line. It was the one high spot of his career: Bouchard didn’t even finish the season, and retired from the Sprint Cup circuit in 1987.
Keselowski Goes Full Ricky Bobby at Talladega
Back in 2009, Michigan NASCAR star Brad Keselowski was still an unknown rookie for the unimpressive Phoenix Racing team. All that changed with his heart-stopping win at Talladega’s Aaron 499, however. Challenging race leader Carl Edwards hard in the final lap, Keselowski collided with Edwards when the latter turned across him, resulting in one of the most spectacular crashes in NASCAR history. Edwards’ car was destroyed as he flipped off the catch fence, allowing Keselowski through for the first of many Sprint Cup victories. The most amusing part of the finish, however, was life imitating art: Edwards pulled himself from the burning wreckage of his car to run, in true Will Ferrell fashion, across the finish line.