The official results say Chase Elliott won NASCAR's M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 on Sunday.
Most Elliott bettors didn't win, though.
NASCAR had a controversial ruling on Sunday and it affected the betting world as well. Denny Hamlin crossed the finish line first at Pocono and there was no reason to believe that would change. But hours later, the racing world saw the shocking news that Hamiln and second-place finisher Kyle Busch had been disqualified after a post-race inspection. That meant Elliott, who never led a lap and finished third, was declared the winner.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) July 25, 2022
That sent bettors scrambling for answers. At many books, bettors technically picked the correct winner in Elliott but didn't have a winning ticket to show for it.
First NASCAR winner disqualified in decades
According to the Associated Press, NASCAR believed it hadn't disqualified an apparent winner since April 17, 1960. This was a rare occurrence to say the least, even with NASCAR instituting a new disqualification policy in 2019.
The BetMGM house rules accounted for such a circumstance, even though a winner hadn't been disqualified in more than 60 years. Under the "minimum length of play" section:
"All wagers will be settled according to the unofficial results reported immediately after the conclusion of the race by the governing organization. Any changes to the finishing order that occurs based on appeals, penalties or scoring malfunctions after the race has concluded, will not be recognized."
In other words, whoever crosses the finish line first is recognized as the winner. In the case of Sunday's race, that was Hamlin. BetMGM confirmed on Monday morning that Elliott tickets would not be paid out.
There were plenty of bettors on Elliott, too.
Chase Elliott was popular among bettors
Heading into Sunday's race, Elliott was getting a lot of action. Elliott is having a big year, and he won the Quaker State 400 on July 10. He was one of the favorites to win and 9.9% of all the money bet at BetMGM on the race winner was on Elliott.
However, there was a lot more action on Hamlin at BetMGM. He got 17.4% of the money bet on the race winner. Hamlin was BetMGM's biggest liability heading into the race, and those tickets were paid. Hamlin was disqualified because NASCAR found a problem with "the front fascia of both cars, stating there was material there that should have not been," according to NBC Sports. Joe Gibbs Racing, which is Hamlin's team, can appeal the decision.
All sportsbooks have lengthy house rules on all sports that lay out possibilities like the one that happened on Sunday. Still, the unusual circumstance from Sunday's race led to confusion from bettors and sportsbooks having to make decisions. DraftKings said it would pay out Hamlin and Elliott winners, according to VSiN. Other books told customers Elliott bets won't be paid out, via the house rules.
It's rare to see the winner of an event change after the conclusion. It happened on Sunday, and bettors got a lesson in how sportsbooks' house rules handle such situations.