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Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Preview Article (x2)

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Preview and Best Bet

NASCAR Cup Series: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 1 p.m. ET at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas

Playoff Update

Last Sunday was the final race of the Round of 12.

As such, this race witnessed the elimination of four drivers from further playoff contention, the most well known of which was Kevin Harvick.

These four drivers will still compete, but they will not be able to advance to the next round.

Psychologically, it must be deflating to have just had your hopes and dreams dashed.

Therefore, I am not interested in backing those four eliminated drivers -- Harvick, Christopher Bell, William Byron, and Alex Bowman -- in any shape or form.

For me, only the remaining eight drivers are actual options to invest in.

There are still three rounds in this Round of 8 just like in the previous rounds.

This upcoming Sunday will witness the first race of the Round 18.

Race Info

For Sunday's race, drivers must complete a total of 334 laps.

As has been the case this season nearly without exception, there will be three stages for this race.

Stage 1 ends upon completion of the 105th lap. Stage 2 likewise requires 105 laps. Stage 3 consists in the remaining 124 laps.

An entry list is published at the start of every week for the upcoming race. Every spot but one has been filled.

As for the starting lineup, that gets published on Wednesday morning. Because the track for this race is quite familiar to NASCAR competitors, there is no need for qualifying or practice.

Instead, a predetermined formula will determine which driver starts in what position.

Track Info

In terms of layout, the Texas Motor Speedway resembles that of the Charlotte Motor Speedway where NASCAR drivers just competed.

So, in a sense, this upcoming track will feel extra familiar to everyone in the race. Most famously, drivers competed here for the most recent All-Star race back in June.

Drivers will compete on an asphalt track surface which manifests itself in four turns.

Each lap requires 1.5 miles. So in completing 334 laps, drivers will have accumulated just over 500 miles.

There is a fair amount of banking at this course, which is good for speed because drivers use the available banking to corral additional momentum for their vehicles.

At this track, turns 1-2 are each banked at 20 degrees while turns 3-4 are each banked at 24 degrees.

Driver To Avoid

One driver to avoid investing in is Denny Hamlin because of his consistently bad and frequently quite awful history at this track.

In his last three races here, his best performance was a ninth-placed finish while he finished 20th and 28th, respectively, in his two previous efforts here.

Those 20th- and 28th-place finishes were particularly poor because he enjoys top-10 starting position in each race: he started seventh before finishing 20th and actually started in third place before finishing 28th.

Overall, his average finishing position is 14.03, which is worse than his average starting position because he consistently drops a significant number of spots relative to his starting position.

My Guy

Based on average driver rating at the Texas Motor Speedway, there are few drivers really worth liking for Sunday's race.

One of those drivers is not Hamlin. But one of those drivers is Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch has one of the best average driver ratings at this track in recent times.

In his last six races here, Kyle Busch has two races and three top-five finishes despite starting from a worse position, on average, than his nearest competitors.

He has gotten progressively stronger at this track, finishing seventh, fourth, and first, respectively, in his last three races at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Because of his advantage over Hamlin -- in view of each driver's history here -- I recommend betting on him to finish ahead of Hamlin on Sunday.

Best Bet: Kyle Busch at -110 over Denny Hamlin at Bovada.
 

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Odds and Expert Picks

NASCAR Cup Series: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 1 p.m. ET at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas

Playoff Update

Last Sunday at Charlotte witnessed the Round of 12's concluding race.

Therefore, four more drivers were eliminated last Sunday, meaning that half of the original playoff field is no longer in playoff contention.

These eight eliminated drivers will still compete, but they will not be able to advance to the next round.

It must feel psychologically deflating for a driver to have just had his hopes and dreams dashed, his season effectively ended.

Given this psychological situation, I am not interested in backing those four most recently eliminated drivers -- Harvick, Christopher Bell, William Byron, and Alex Bowman -- in any shape or form.

The four drivers who had been eliminated after the first round have had more time to come to terms with their deflating elimination. However, because they have less incentive to compete well I still will not back them.

For me, only the remaining eight drivers, the ones who remain in playoff contention, are potentially worthwhile options to invest in.

Just like in the previous rounds, there are still three races in this round.

This upcoming Sunday will mark the first race of the Round 8.

Race Info

Drivers must complete a total of 334 laps for Sunday's race.

As has almost always been the case this season, there will be three stages for this race.

Stage 1 ends upon after the 105th lap. Stage 2 likewise requires 105 laps. Stage 3 consists in the remaining 124 laps.

An entry list gets posted at the start of every week for the next race. Every spot has been filled with one exception.

The starting lineup gets published every Wednesday morning. Because Sunday's track is already familiar to NASCAR drivers, there will not be any qualifying or practice.

Instead, a predetermined formula will establish the order in which drivers start.

Track Info

The layout of the Texas Motor Speedway resembles that of the Charlotte Motor Speedway where NASCAR drivers have just competed last Sunday.

So, in a sense, Sunday's upcoming track will feel as familiar as possible to the competitors.

This track is also known for having hosted the last All-Star race back in June.

Drivers will race on an asphalt track surface.

Each lap has four turns and is 1.5 miles-long. So, in finishing 334 laps, drivers will have amassed a tad over 500 miles.

There is a nice amount of banking at this course, which encourages higher speeds because drivers use banking to collect momentum for their vehicles.

Turns 1-2 are both banked at 20 degrees. Meanwhile, turns 3-4 are each banked at 24 degrees.

Driver To Avoid

I recommend that you avoid investing in Brad Keselowski.

Historically he is rather bad at this track. His average finishing position here is 16.31, which is 2.21 places worse than his average starting position.

At best, one can say that he is hit-or-miss at Texas Motor Speedway.

While he has enjoyed some respectable performances here lately, he has also suffered some awful endings.

For example, he finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in his last two races here.

However, in his four races before those two, he finished 39th, 36th, 12th, and 33rd, respectively.

There are guys out there who enjoy stronger histories at Texas Motor Speedway than Keselowski does. Likewise, there are more consistent options to back.

My Guy

One of those consistent options with strong histories -- also measured by driver rating -- at this track is Ryan Blaney.

Blaney has finished top-eight in six of his last seven races here.

Despite the fact that he is consistently near the top, the odds do not imply that he has a strong chance of winning.

Because he is consistently strong at Texas Motor Speedway, I think that he has a great chance of winning.

He is currently priced at +900 to win and I think this is a very attractive deal.

Best Bet: Blaney To Win at +900 at Bovada
 

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