2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500: NASCAR CUP Picks, Predictions, Odds, Longshots
Photo by Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Sunday October 17, 2021 2:00pm
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The NASCAR Cup Series will begin the round of 8 of the 2021 Playoffs on Sunday at the Texas Motor Speedway in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Texas is a 1.5-mile quad-oval and has steep banking in the corners. Texas is a medium tire wear track, and we should see a competitive race on Sunday. The restarts at Texas are usually crazy, especially in the final stage, and pressure is on for those in the cut zone to perform well.
Here are a few drivers to consider for Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500.
Kyle Larson +340- Larson comes into Sunday’s race starting from the pole position. Larson only needed to lead 8 of the 109 total laps one week ago at the Charlotte ROVAL to pick up win 7 on the 2021 season. Over the last 6 Cup Series races at Texas, Larson on paper has not been great with an average finish of 23rd and an average driver rating of 72.5 that is only 18th best. 2 DNFs and only 1 top 5 finish skew the numbers in a negative way. Larson best starting position and a chance to secure a ticket into the final 4 in Phoenix will be good, don’t count out the favorite.
Kyle Busch +700- Kyle will share the 2nd row with Ryan Blaney and will start from the 3rd spot for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Kyle has been very good over the last 6 Cup races at Texas with an average driver rating of 114.5 that includes 2 wins and 3 top 5 finishes. While Kyle was only 8th fastest in green flag speed in the first Cup race at Texas in 2020 he followed up with a win in the 2020 playoffs where he had the 5th best green flag speed. Kyle has run hot and cold here recently but look for the team to have a great showing here at Texas on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. +900- Martin will roll off from the 8th position on Sunday after out at the Texas Motor Speedway in the first race of the Round of 8. Over the last 6 races at Texas in the Cup Series, Truex has 3 top 10 finishes including 1 top 5 finishes. Martin had the best green flag speed in 2020 during the Texas Playoff race and came home in 2nd place. The Gibbs teams are starting to find peak speed and performance as we wind down the Cup Series here in 2021, great value here on Martin Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Blaney +900- Blaney fires off from the 4th starting spot on Sunday afternoon for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Blaney comes off a 9th place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL one week ago and over the last 9 Cup Series races has only finished outside the top 10 2 times. In 2020 at Texas, Blaney was 1st in green flag speed in March and followed up with the 2nd fast green flag speed in the Playoff race. Blaney has 3 top 5 finishes at Texas over the last 6 Cup Series race here. A win for Blaney equals a spot in the final 4 in Phoenix and Texas could be the best shot here for Ryan.
Kevin Harvick +1400- Harvick will take the green flag from the 24th starting spot for Sunday’s Cup race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Over the last 6 Cup races at the Texas Motor Speedway, Kevin has 4 top 5 including 2 wins. Although Harvick and team were eliminated from Playoff contention one week ago at the ROVAL, Texas provides the opportunity for the team to build on the 2022 Texas race. Harvick comes into Sunday’s Cup Series event with the best average driver rating at Texas over the last 6 races of 116.0, look for Kevin to climb through traffic.