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A Beginner’s Guide to NASCAR Betting

NASCAR, or the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, has a huge following in the US and it is growing in popularity elsewhere. There are races taking place nearly every weekend and each one of them brings many opportunities to place bets. Whether you are a long-term NASCAR fan or new to the sport, in this guide you will find all the information you need to get started placing bets.


While in NASCAR races it looks like the cars are just going round in circles, there is actually quite a bit more to it.

Before a race, there are three qualifying rounds, which serve to eliminate drivers and determine starting grid positions. There are a number of rules governing this process and it is worth looking into them.

The races themselves are very long, hundreds of miles, which makes pit stops a major part of them. Each track has a pit road where drivers can pull in and a crew can work on the car. The crew is made up of two tire changers, two tire carriers, a jackman, and a petrol man. In the later stages of a race, a seventh member is introduced to service the windshield.

Each year two Championships are awarded, the Driver’s and the Owner’s. The Driver’s Championship is won by the driver who advances to the playoffs, reaches the final round, and then finishes highest at Homestead. The Owner’s Championship is won by the owner of the car that does best throughout the regular season and the Chase for the Championship. If an owner has multiple cars, then each is treated as a separate entity.

When it comes to the actual races, you will notice that many different flags are used and it is important to understand what each signifies. Here is a brief description of each:

  • Green – This means Go
  • Yellow – It is a caution flag used when drivers need to be careful
  • Red – This is used to stop the race
  • White – Shows there is one lap remaining
  • Checkered – This signals that the race is over
  • Green and White Checkered – Used to show the end of a race stage to the first 10 drivers to cross the line
  • Black – Used to signal to a driver that they need to pit
  • Black with White Cross – This is used if a driver refuses to respond to a black flag within three laps and has been disqualified
  • Blue with Yellow Stripe – Used to warn slow drivers that faster cards are approaching
  • Blue – Used on road courses to show drivers if they need to be careful because of stopped or slow cars.

There are many more things that contribute to a NASCAR race, such as spotters who help the drivers, free passes, restart zones, and more. As you grow more familiar with the sport, you will learn about all of these and they will greatly aid your understanding.

The other thing you need to be aware of is the different racing series. NASCAR actually refers to a sanctioning body that oversees twelve different racing series. However, usually you will find betting markets on just three of them, the Monster Energy Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series. Before betting on any of them, it is worth taking the time to look into the differences between them.

Betting on NASCAR

Regardless of which series or race you are betting on, the betting markets are very similar. There are many of them available and they give you a huge number of options. Here is a brief guide to the most popular types of bets.

To Win Outright

This is the most popular and simplest of bets, a bet on a driver to win. If your chosen driver wins, then so do you. It is a great way to get started betting on the sport.

Fastest Qualifier (Pole Position)

As with all motor sports, the starting position is very important. If a driver starts from the back then it will be much harder for them to win the race, and of course, the opposite is true. Therefore, qualifying is very competitive. This betting market allows you to bet on which driver you think will secure the fastest lap time in qualifying and win pole position in the race.

Podium Finish

The podium refers to the top three finishing positions, first, second and third. This betting market allows you to back a driver to finish in any of those positions. It is a great market if you think a driver will do well but you are not sure that they will win.

Fastest Lap

This betting market is completely self-explanatory. It is simply a bet on which driver will complete the fastest lap during the race itself. It doesn’t matter what number lap it is or even if the driver finishes the race. As long as your chosen driver records the fastest lap time, then you will win the bet.


This is a category of bet, which as the name suggests, deals with events that will take place in the future. Furthermore, they are markets that take numerous races to decide, rather than just betting on a race a few months in advance. For example, you could bet on who will be the season champion, or who will make the playoffs. Futures bets usually offer very generous odds and it is definitely worth taking the time to look through them.

Driver Matchups

This type of bet allows you to pit two drivers against one another. The sportsbook offers matchups between two different drivers and you can bet on which of the two will finish higher in the race. Neither driver has to win the race, it is simply a bet on which will do better. Normally there are numerous matchups on offer, and they can be a great way to back a driver who you don’t think will secure a podium finish.

Prop Bets

Prop, or Proposition bets, are a category of their own. For example, you may find markets on how many cautions there will be during a race, how many lead changes, and so on. The bigger the race taking place, the more prop bets you are likely to find. Prop bets are usually very much a gamble; however, they can be as huge amount of fun when used wisely.

What to Consider When Betting on NASCAR

As with any sport, there are many factors to consider when betting on NASCAR. One thing that is often over looked is team dynamics. While the drivers want to win on an individual level, they are usually part of a team that will share track information and anything else that they think may be helpful. Furthermore, they will also look to help each other during the race. Therefore, you should also consider the strength of a driver’s teammate when betting on a race.

It is also important to look at the track history. Certain drivers will have a history of doing better at certain tracks. If a driver is having a great season but the next race is on a track where they have never performed well, it is probably not a good idea to back them to win. Each NASCAR track requires slightly different skills, so be sure to look at results from previous years so that you can get a sense of how drivers have performed. You can also look at driver averages, which break down statistics by driver or by track.

Furthermore, while you may be betting on a specific race, you should not lose sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes there are additional points on offer and if a driver is eager to get them in order to reach the playoffs, then it may result in added pressure and more mistakes.

NASCAR has added in stages in races that award points for winning towards the end of season playoffs. This means that drivers may have to make a decision to either go for the stage or go for the full race win. If a driver is likely to benefit more from a stage victory, then you may not want to back them to win the entire race. This can be very important when considering teammates. If the two drivers are near the front towards the end of a race but only one of them needs to win to make the playoffs, then there is a good chance that they will work together to try to make this happen.

The world of NASCAR is hugely exciting, but also fairly complicated. However, the more races you watch and the closer you follow the sport, the better your knowledge will become. If you focus on some of the things discussed above and make careful use of the different betting markets, then you will hopefully be placing well-informed bets, and with a bit of luck, this will soon translate into more winnings.


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