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NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 preview and value picks

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

October 15th, 2021

The first Cup Series race of the Round of 8 takes place this Sunday afternoon in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (2:00 p.m. ET, NBC) as the NASCAR playoffs continue.

Kyle Larson – fresh off his victory at the Charlotte Roval last week – is the +325 favorite to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 in this spot. However, he’s 0-for-13 lifetime at Texas with an average finishing position of 19.77.

Let’s go looking for value as we make our selections for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500.

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Sun, October 17 2021, 6:00 PM

Larson, Kyle

+325

Hamlin, Denny

+650

Busch, Kyle

+700

Elliott, Chase

+700

Truex Jr, Martin

+800

Blaney, Ryan

+900

Harvick, Kevin

+1400

Keselowski, Brad

+1400

Logano, Joey

+1400

Byron, William

+1600

Kyle Busch (+700)

No active driver can boast as much prior success at Texas as Kyle Busch can, and that makes him a very appealing pick this Sunday.

Busch is the active leader in wins (four), Top 5s (14), and laps led (1,049) over this course. He’s won two of the last six points-paying races held at Texas, leading 301 laps in that span. “Rowdy” missed placing in only two of a possible 12 stages.

After posting two Top 5s over his last three races to earn a spot in the Round of 8, Busch will begin his afternoon in third place.

Ryan Blaney (+900)

If you discount his 37th place finish at Texas in March of 2019 due to an engine malfunction, Ryan Blaney has an average finishing position of 5.33 in his last six races here. It’s easy to see the No. 12 Ford driver picking up his first career victory over this course on Sunday.

Blaney has placed in nine of a possible 10 stages in his last five races at Texas, including two stage victories in July of 2020. He’s led 265 laps in that stretch.

“YRB” has an 8.6 average finish in his last five races overall, with 63 laps led to his credit. He’ll roll off the grid in fourth position.

Tyler Reddick (+3500)

Despite being knocked out of championship contention in the first round, Tyler Reddick has put together some solid races down the stretch. The No. 8 Chevrolet should make some late noise in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500.

Reddick bracketed a DNF at tricky Talladega with a sixth-place result at Las Vegas and a runner-up effort at the Roval in the Round of 12. He was second in his first ever Cup Series start at Texas last July.

Reddick has the best starting position of any non-playoff driver on Sunday – ninth.

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