The NASCAR 2024 schedule is at its halfway point with the major races. Two of the four Crown Jewel events have already occurred, and the remaining pair will be held over the summer and beyond.

The Daytona 500 opened up the year of majors, and it was William Byron who walked away with the victory for Chevrolet, claiming 51 NASCAR Cup points for his efforts. Alex Bowman and Christopher Bell rounded out the podium following the contest.

The latest Crown Jewel event to take place was the Coca-Cola 600 held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bell was the winner on that occasion, and took away 67 points to boost his championship hopes. Byron got onto the podium again, but Brad Keselowski managed to secure a second position at his expense. 

The major events so far have been thrilling despite familiar faces consistently occupying the podiums. The remaining duo of races could see historic multiple successes secured, or the emergence of brand-new champions.

Here we will preview the two biggest contests that remain on the NASCAR calendar for 2024. 

Southern 500

The Cook Out Southern 500 takes place at Darlington Raceway each year and is seen as one of the most prestigious races on the calendar. 

The July date brings in one of NASCAR’s biggest audiences of the season and attracts many fans to predict the proceedings on daily fantasy apps. 

This year, the drivers commonly backed to secure a podium finish on DFS apps will include Denny Hamlin, who will be looking to win an eighth Crown Jewel event. 

Kyle Larson will also be one of the leading contenders and a top pick in DFS considering he won the event in 2023. Many apps for playing DFS will cover the massive race in July – Underdog Fantasy, for example. 

Underdog contests allow predictions on the outcome of major sporting events. In the case of the Southern 500, fans will be able to predict that specific drivers will finish higher or lower than a specific position in the race. For example, Larson could be backed to finish higher than 1.5 and that would mean he would have to become a back-to-back champion to satisfy the selection.

The list of genuine competitors is not limited to the already mentioned due, though. Hamlin and Larson are rivals to win the NASCAR Cup Series, but somebody else could influence the fight to be crowned season-long champion in Darlington. 

Martin Truex Jr. is an example of an outsider for the Southern 500 who will be in the hunt for one final major victory before his end-of-year retirement. Byron and Bell should also be in the mix which means they will have a shot at becoming rare multiple major winners within an individual season. 

The Southern 500 promises to be an unpredictable and competitive battle – as the Crown Jewel events typically are – which means pinpointing an outright winner is an almost impossible task.

Brickyard 400

The Brickyard 400 is the shortest of the quarter of major contests, and it will be making a long-awaited return in September after a three-year hiatus.

The race will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosted the Verizon 200 in its place from 2021 to 2023. 

Considering Brickyard 400’s last run was back in 2020, it is even more difficult to predict the outcome compared to the Southern 500. 

Brad Keselowski is an example of a past winner who is still performing at a high level in 2024. He is ranked in the top 10 in the championship standings which means he could be a strong pick to inflict a surprise in repeating his 2018 triumph

The height of expectations though will be placed again on the top contenders for the overall NASCAR Cup series. Larson, Hamlin and Chase Elliott will all be eyeing the crucial points on offer as well as utilising the motivation to make history by winning one of the biggest races on the calendar. 

Ultimately, two massively significant races have yet to bypass the eyes of NASCAR fans in 2024. The Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 are some of the races that drivers most want to win during their careers.

The ability to make history regardless of the championship standings is perhaps why many drivers up their levels at the two meetings each year. The consistency of the NASCAR Cup leaders is tough to look beyond, although almost any high-ranked competitor could realistically walk away with victory in the remaining major events of the year.