2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Odds and Picks

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs started with 16 drivers and that number has been trimmed down to eight following last week's cut-off race at the Charlotte Roval road course. Now the Cups Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 and the first race of the third round. As expected, last week's winner is the lone favorite heading into Sunday’s race.

Kyle Larson comes in all by himself at +250 with Denny Hamlin at +600 after last week’s road course race. Larson got the win, his 8th of the season and 3 rd on a road course this year. Hamlin finished last week in the 5th spot but he already had a win in the last round to make it into the Cup Series Round of Eight. Both drivers top the leaderboard for this round of the playoffs. More info on the playoff standings is below.

Texas Motor Speedway offers a slight breather for drivers this week as the Roval road course was last week with Talladega being the week before. Those are two tracks where anything can go wrong in less than a second. Yes, that’s true to an extent on any track – but ‘Dega and road courses are different animals in the world of NASCAR racing.

Texas Motor Speedway gives teams the ability to better set up their cars and for drivers to get in more of an “oval” rhythm style of racing. The last race at Texas Motor Speedway had 8 cautions for 47 laps with long stretches of green flag racing. In the end, there were only 5 cars out of the race and 15 on the lead lap when Larson grabbed the checkered flag.

That leads to a race where oddsmakers are eyeing consistent drivers, all in the win the Bank of America, are still in the Cup Series Playoffs. Here are the favorites to win the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 outright according to Intertops.

Kyle Larson +250

Denny Hamlin +600

Chase Elliott +650

Kyle Busch +700

Martin Truex Jr +800

Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the only two favorites listed above with a NASCAR Cup Series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Preview

Track: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas

Type: 1.54-mile asphalt tri-oval, 4 turns.

Race Distance: 334 laps / 501 miles

Defending track winner: Kyle Busch

TV/Radio: NBCS / PRN

2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Predictions

Kyle Larson +250

There’s more than one reason that Kyle Larson is the lone favorite this week at Texas. He’s won 8 races this season on a variety of tracks. And, in his Cup Series career, he’s become known as a driver that likes 1.5-mile speedways. He’s never won at Texas in a Cup car but he has won 8 times on 1.5 and larger speedways. This will be the first time Larson takes on Texas Motor Speedway in Hendrick equipment.

Kyle Busch +700

Kyle Busch has three wins at Texas Motor Speedway in a Cup Car and he’s worked himself back up the Playoff standings after a rough start in Round 1 where he faced possible elimination. In addition to the 3 checkered flags in his last ten visits to the track, he’s also finished 10th or better 7 times during that span.

Joey Logano +1400

Joey Logano has not won at Texas in his last 10 starts at the track with his lone checkered flag at the venue coming in 2014. However, since then he’s finished 10th or better ten times over those 13 races. His last 3 Texas Motor Speedway races include a 10th, 3rd, and 4th place run respectively.

Others to Consider: The feud between Chase Elliott (+650) and Kevin Harvick (+1400) makes me a bit iffy on these two drivers even though they both have had great Texas runs in the past. According to NASCAR fantasy stats, Harvick is the best driver to race at Texas over the last ten races at the track. But his lack of wins and DNF last week are concerning.

Cup Series Playoff Standings

No. 1 Kyle Larson

No. 2 Denny Hamlin

No. 3 Martin Truex Jr.

No. 4 Ryan Blaney

Below Cutline after Charlotte Roval

No. 5 Kyle Busch

No. 6 Chase Elliott

No. 7 Joey Logano

No. 8 Brad Keselowski

Eliminated after Charlotte Roval

Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, William Byron, and Alex Bowman

2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Betting Lines

Kyle Larson +250

Denny Hamlin +600

Chase Elliott +650

Kyle Busch +700

Martin Truex Jr +800

Joey Logano +1400

Kevin Harvick +1400

William Byron +1600

Brad Keselowski +1600

Alex Bowman +2000

Christopher Bell +2800

Austin Dillon +2800

Kurt Busch +3000

Aric Almirola +3000

Tyler Reddick +3000

Matt Dibenedetto +6600

Ross Chastain +8000

Chase Briscoe +10000

Daniel Suarez +15000

Darrell Wallace Jr. +20000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr +20000

Erik Jones +25000

Cole Custer +25000

Michael McDowell +25000

Ryan Newman +30000

Anthony Alfredo +40000

Ryan Preece +75000

Corey Lajoie +75000

Quinn Houff +100000

Cody Ware +100000

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.