Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500: It’s About Time for Ryan Blaney’s Luck to Make a Major Turnaround

  • Can Denny Hamlin execute a clean race at one of his best race tracks?
  • It’s long past time for Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney to shine.
  • Christopher Bell looks to continue his outstanding run in the Playoffs.

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. Click on the odds below and place your bet.

Winner Odds
Denny Hamlin +550
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Kyle Larson +600
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Christopher Bell +700
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Chase Elliott +800
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Kyle Busch +900
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Ross Chastain +1000
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Ryan Blaney +1000
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Martin Truex Jr. +1000
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William Byron +1200
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Tyler Reddick +1500
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Joey Logano +2000
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Bubba Wallace +2000
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Kevin Harvick +2000
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Alex Bowman +2500
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Our Picks for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Ryan Blaney to win the race at +1000

Austin Cindric to finish in the top three (+1500) and top five (+600)

Christopher Bell to win the pole position at +800

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Predictions

Denny Hamlin Is Favored at a Track Where He Has Been Consistently Fast

Denny Hamlin has driven one of the fastest cars in the NASCAR Cup Series this season—on a consistent basis.

Hamlin has fashioned two victories this year, and he rolls into the second round of the Playoffs on the strength of three straight top-10 finishes in the Round of 16, two of them runner-up results.

Hamlin has three victories at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. His total is second among active drivers to Kyle Busch, who has won four races at the track but was eliminated from the Playoff last Saturday at Bristol.

Yes, Hamlin has shown consistent speed all year. What has not been consistent is the performance of Hamlin and his team on pit road. Arguably, Hamlin could have won each of the first three Playoff races but for mistakes on pit road.

Though Joe Gibbs Racing has swapped the pit crews of Hamlin and Kyle Busch—given that Busch is no longer in the Playoffs—Hamlin’s propensity to speed on pit road hasn’t been fixed with the exchange.

That’s one of the reasons we’re not picking the race favorite to win this week at +550 via DraftKings Sportsbook.

It’s About Time for Ryan Blaney’s Luck to Make a Major Turnaround

After qualifying sixth, Ryan Blaney suffered through a miserable night on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After losing a wheel on pit road and suffering suspension damage during a brush with the outside wall, Blaney spent a third of the event in the garage while his team repaired the No. 12 Team Penske Ford. He finished 30th, 162 laps down.

The only good news was that Blaney survived the cut and advanced to the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He’s tied for sixth in the standings, just four points ahead of Chase Briscoe, the first driver below the current cut line for the Round of 8.

But Blaney is headed to Texas Motor Speedway, where he won the NASCAR All-Star Race in May. Admittedly, that was against a short field, but all three Penske Fords were fast in that race, finishing 1-3-4.

In 13 starts at Texas, Blaney has three top fives, seven top 10s, and a pole, with a best finish of second in 2018. He has scored top 10s in each of his last four points races at the track.

We like Blaney (+1000 via DraftKings) to get a breakthrough win at Texas on Sunday and gain early advancement to the Playoffs’ Round of 8.

Christopher Bell Looks to Continue Spectacular Run in Cup Playoffs

The only driver to score top-five finishes in each of the first three Playoff races was Christopher Bell, who ran fifth at Darlington, third at Kansas and fourth at Bristol.

Though we don’t think Bell will win Sunday’s race, we do think he’ll win the pole position (+800 via DraftKings Sportsbook) and post another strong finish. Bell has claimed three poles this year, and two have come at 1.5-mile intermediate speedways (Las Vegas and Kansas).

We also like underrated rookie Austin Cindric to finish in the top three (+1500) and top five (+600) in Sunday’s event. As we noted earlier, the Team Penske Fords were fast in the All-Star Race, where Cindric ran third.

How to Watch the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Race Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (NASCAR Cup Series race)
Location Texas Motor Speedway
Time Sunday, September 25, 3:30 p.m. ET
How to Watch USA

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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