NASCAR Driver Rankings: Who Tops the List for the 2023 Season?
Before the 2022 season, parity had not been common in NASCAR. The top teams with the best equipment dominated.
Lesser teams were left to run in the midfield or further back. It ended up with the usual names in victory lane.
But the Next Gen Car brought a more level playing field last year. There was a total of 19 winners over 36 races and five drivers secured their first career victories, resulting in one of the most dramatic and intriguing seasons in recent NASCAR history.
The 2023 campaign is set to begin on Sunday with the Daytona 500 and excitement is still prevalent around the sport. NASCAR announced the first race of the season is officially sold out.
“There will be no place more electric than Daytona International Speedway this Sunday afternoon,” DIS President Frank Kelleher said.
With the season set to begin, here is a rundown of the top 20 drivers and their futures betting odds to win the title.
All odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook.
1. Chase Elliott +550
At 27, Elliott is in the prime of his career. He already has one title to his name and should continue to compete for championships as a member of one of the best teams in the sport. Last year he led the field in wins (five), average finish (12.5) and laps led (857).
2. Joey Logano +1200
No driver has won back-to-back titles since Jimmy Johnson did it from 2006-10. Logano has the talent and team around him to become the next. He led 188 laps in the season finale at Phoenix to capture the win and title. It was his fourth victory of the season (second-most) and his second championship.
3. Kyle Larson +650
Coming off his dominant 2021, last year was a bit of a disappointment for Larson. In 2021 he won 10 races en route to claiming the title. He followed up that stellar season with three victories and managed the second-most top-fives in the field (13). For others, that would be a great season, which shows how high Larson has set the bar for himself following his previous dominance.
4. Ross Chastain +1200
Chastain and Trackhouse Racing benefitted greatly from the new car. He entered the 2022 season at +7000 to win the title and wound up with two wins, the most top fives (15) and top 10s (21). His average finish was second (13.3) behind Elliott. Chastain also had the highlight of the season when he rode the wall on the final lap at Martinsville to qualify for the championship finale – a move NASCAR has since banned.
Now, Chastain has to prove 2022 wasn’t a one-hit-wonder.
5. Christopher Bell +1400
Since joining the top NASCAR Series in 2020, Bell has continually improved. His points finish increased from 20th in his first season to 12th in 2021 and third a year ago. Here’s a breakdown of his improvement.
- 2020: 0 wins, two top fives, seven top 10s, average finish 20.3
- 2021: one win, seven top fives, 16 top 10s, average finish 15.8
- 2022: three wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s, average finish 13.8
Bell qualified for the championship finale last season. If he continues on this trajectory, a championship could be in his future.
6. Denny Hamlin +1000
In some ways, 2022 was a trying year for Hamlin. On numerous occasions, his race was ended by contact with Chastain, and their drama-filled disagreement would span the entire season. He also finished with six DNFs, which was the most in a season for his career. Despite all the challenges, it took Chastain’s miraculous wall ride at Martinsville, with the move keeping Hamlin out of the championship final.
7. Tyler Reddick +1400
One of the offseason's biggest moves came when Reddick joined 23XI Racing. Reddick had a breakout in 2022, recording the first win of his career before winning two more times while also recording a career-high 10 top-five finishes in 2022. He had just six in his previous two full years in the Cup Series.
8. William Byron +1600
The two wins in 2022 matched his career total over the first four seasons of his career. He also led the most laps of his career last year (746), ranking third in the field. Consistency will be key for Byron. After his second win in a stretch of four races, he had just one top 10 over the next 18 races before closing the season strong.
9. Kyle Busch +1200
Busch replaces Reddick at Richard Childress Racing and those two will likely be compared against each other the entire season. It was a disappointing 2022 for Busch to his standards. It was the first time he finished outside the top 10 in points since 2012 and the first time he failed to record double-digit top fives since 2014.
10. Ryan Blaney +1000
Blaney is the first driver on this list who didn’t win a race last season. Still, he had the third-most top fives (12) and the fourth-best average finishing position (13.6).
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11. Chase Briscoe +3400
Briscoe was another of the first-time winners in 2022, capturing the victory at Phoenix. It was a breakout season for Briscoe. After recording just three top 10s and a 23rd points finish in 2021, he secured one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s on his way to a ninth-place finish in the points standings.
12. Martin Trux Jr. +1400
Motorsports always have numerous variables that can be out of a driver’s control. Mechanical failures, wrecks because of no fault of a driver and pit crew mishaps can all derail a race. Few were impacted by these misfortunes in 2022 more than Truex Jr. Last year was the first time since 2014 Truex failed to win a race, despite putting himself in a position to victory on numerous occasions.
13. Kevin Harvick +1600
This will be the final season for Harvick after he announced he is retiring from full-time racing. Last year he showed he can still compete at a high level. Harvick won two races and had the seventh-best average finish in the field (14.3).
14. Alex Bowman +3000
Bowman has consistently delivered at Hendrick Motorsports, winning a race in each of the last four seasons. His two best years came in 2020, when he finished sixth in the points and in 2021 when he won four races. The next step in Bowman's career is to contend for a title that could come in 2023.
15. Bubba Wallace +4000
Wallace has stated his goal for 2023 is to qualify for the playoffs. In 2022, he showed he can succeed in that type of setting. Wallace recorded a win at Kansas during the playoffs, driving for the No. 45 car after taking over for the injured Kurt Busch. The win allowed his team to advance to the second round of the owner playoffs. Wallace has become a more well-rounded driver in recent years and now will attempt to qualify his car for postseason success.
15. Daniel Suarez +5000
The other part of the Trackhouse Racing team, Suarez displayed speed with one victory and six top fives. He was in contention for other wins before accidents or other mishaps took him out of the running. Suarez should also be motivated to race in the last year of his contract.
16. Austin Cindric +5000
Cindric had a dream rookie season; he won the Daytona 500 and went on to qualify for the playoffs. Not much more you can ask out of a newbie. The next step is for him to advance in NASCAR’s postseason and become a legitimate title contender.
17. Austin Dillon +20000
It’s not unlike Dillon to go missing for much of the race, only for him to show up at the end and compete for a win. He’s a solid driver who seems to maximize the finishing position of his car by smart moves at the end of races, putting himself in a spot to succeed. Dillon had one win and six top-fives last season to go with an 11th-place finish in the standings.
18. Erik Jones +9500
Jones has shown his ability to work his way through the field. He won at Darlington and was in contention at the Daytona 500 and Talladega before being wrecked in the final laps. If the parity in NASCAR still exists in 2023, giving drivers and teams like Legacy Motor Club a chance to compete with the sport’s best, Jones could compete for a playoff spot.
19. Chris Buescher +9500
Last season was the best ever for Buescher. His win at Bristol was the second of his career and the first that did not come because of a rain stoppage, and he recorded the most top fives (three) and top 10s (10) in any season at the Cup level.
20. Brad Keselowski +5000
The two-time champion has been marred by RFK Racing’s struggles. His 24th-place points finish in 2022 was his worst since 2010 when he was 25th. Between those seasons, he won two titles and finished in the top 10 in nine of 11 seasons. It was also his first winless season since 2010. If RFK can turn it around, Keselowski could compete for a playoff spot.
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