NASCAR: 2020 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Picks

The next round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is here starting with the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. Kevin Harvick rolls in as the favorite at +250 then there is a slight gap before you see Denny Hamlin at +450.

Harvick has nine wins this season and is second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings after Kansas. Joey Logano (+800) locked himself into the top spot this week following his win.

The wild card this week could be Texas Motor Speedway itself. Jimmie Johnson has been the king of the track throughout his career but he’s not been a factor for the win this season. His last win came in 2017 where he won three times. One of those wins was Texas. Since then, Harvick has won at the track three times.

The favorites at +900 and below to win the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, according to Intertops, are listed below. Of the six favorites below, only Harvick and Hamlin have won a race at the track in the last ten races there. Also, of the six, only three have won Cup Series races at Texas; Harvick, Hamlin, and Joey Lagano.

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Kevin Harvick +250

Denny Hamlin +450

Chase Elliott +750

Joey Logano +800

Martin Truex Jr +900

Ryan Blaney +900

Championship Playoff Drivers:

Eight drivers remain in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs but there was some shakeup following the Kansas race weekend. Joey Logano jumped from being below the cutline to being locked into the Championship final four drivers. His Kansas win locks him into the final race with three other drivers.

Chase Elliott fell below the cutline after Kansas while Brad Keselowski moved into the fourth spot. There are two more races – this weekend at Texas then Martinsville – before the four remaining driver race for the Championship in Phoenix.

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1. Joey Logano

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Denny Hamlin

4. Brad Keselowski

Cutoff Line:

5. Chase Elliott

6. Alex Bowman

7. Martin Truex Jr

8. Kurt Busch

2020 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Preview

Track: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas

Type: Oval/Tri-oval, 1.5 miles, asphalt

Turns: 4

Banking: Turns 1-2; 20°. 3-4; 24°

Race Distance: 501 miles, 334 laps

Defending Track Winner: Austin Dillon


Start Time: Sunday, October 25, at 3:30 PM Eastern

Manufacturer Wins at Texas: Ford 15, Chevrolet 14, Toyota 7, (Dodge 3).

2020 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Predictions

Kevin Harvick + 450

Denny Hamlin has won three of the last six races at Texas Motor Speedway with 12 top-five and 23 top- ten finishes at the track. Over the last twelve races at Texas, Harvick has never finished outside of the top-ten. He’s probably locked into the final race of the year on points – but a win takes any possibility of not being one of the four Championship drivers at Phoenix off the table.

Chase Elliott +750

Chase Elliott looked to be the winner last week at Kansas for much of the race but radio communications forced him to pit to fix the problem. He has been one of the stronger cars towards the end of the season and he’s raced well at Texas in the past. He’s looking to get back above the cutline.

Kyle Busch +1400

Kyle Busch is a nice value pick this week at +1400. His last win at Texas was the Spring race of 2018 and he has three Cup Series wins at the track. Busch has been inconsistent all season and has been eliminated from racing for the Championship and defending his Cup Series title. He would love to be the spoiler this weekend.

Others I like

Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr: Both Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr are still in the playoffs looking to be one of the four drivers racing for the Cup Series Championship in a few weeks. The weird fact is that neither has won at Texas Motor Speedway so that’s why they are not included in my picks above.

One Fantasy Driver

Here’s the guy I round out my fantasy team with this week – Kurt Busch! Over the last ten races at Texas, the elder of the Busch brothers has finished in the top-ten nine times. That’s a pretty strong stat.

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Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Odds

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Kevin Harvick +250

Denny Hamlin +450

Chase Elliott +750

Joey Logano +800

Martin Truex Jr +900

Ryan Blaney +900

Brad Keselowski +1000

Kyle Busch +1400

Alex Bowman +2000

Kurt Busch +2000

Erik Jones +2500

Aric Almirola +3300

Clint Bowyer +4000

William Byron +4000

Jimmie Johnson +5000

Austin Dillon +5000

Tyler Reddick +6600

Matt Dibenedetto +6600

Christopher Bell +10000

Cole Custer +10000

Matt Kenseth +15000

Ryan Newman +25000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr +25000

Darrell Wallace Jr +50000

Chris Buescher +100000

Ty Dillon +100000

John Hunter Nemechek +100000

Michael McDowell +100000

Ryan Preece +100000

Daniel Suarez +100000

Corey Lajoie +200000

Brennan Poole +200000

Josh Bilicki +300000

JJ Yeley +300000

Garrett Smithley +300000

Quin Houff +300000

Chad Finchum +300000

Joey Gase +300000

Timmy Hill +300000

Reed Sorenson +300000

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 and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.