O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas (Cup Series) – Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks

  • Drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have been sharing the glory at intermediate speedways, a trend that’s unlikely to continue in Fort Worth.
  • Jimmie Johnson is the leading Cup winner at Texas Motor Speedway, but the seven-time champ is a long shot this weekend.
  • Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin—the leading winners this season with four victories each—will vie for supremacy on Sunday.
What O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Cup Series race
Where Texas Motor Speedway
When Sunday, July 19, 3 p.m. EST
How to watch NBCSN

Four days after competing in the NASCAR All-Star Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway short track, top NASCAR drivers are headed to cow country and Texas Motor Speedway’s intermediate track for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.

Texas is a mirror image of Kentucky Speedway, with relatively flat, slow corners at one end of the track and high-banked, high-speed corners at the other. The difference is that Turns 1 and 2 are the dicey corners at Texas, as opposed to Turns 3 and 4 at Kentucky—and vice versa on the high-speed ends.

Texas Motor Speedway was reconfigured and repaved before the April 2017 race, with banking in Turns 1 and 2 lowered from 24 to 20 degrees. Sunday’s race will be contested at 334 laps (500.5 miles), with stage breaks at 85 and 170 laps. Denny Hamlin is the defending winner.

NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Odds

The odds for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 are provided by BetMGM.

Winner Odds
Kevin Harvick +350
(BET NOW)
Kyle Busch +550
(BET NOW)
Denny Hamlin +600
(BET NOW)
Chase Elliott +700
(BET NOW)
Martin Truex Jr. +900
(BET NOW)
Brad Keselowski +900
(BET NOW)
Ryan Blaney +1100
(BET NOW)
Joey Logano +1100
(BET NOW)
Aric Almirola +2000
(BET NOW)
Jimmie Johnson +2200
(BET NOW)
Alex Bowman +2500
(BET NOW)
Kurt Busch +2500
(BET NOW)
Erik Jones +2500
(BET NOW)
William Byron +3500
(BET NOW)
Matt DiBenedetto +3500
(BET NOW)
Matt Kenseth +3500
(BET NOW)
Clint Bowyer +5000
(BET NOW)
Christopher Bell +6500
(BET NOW)
Cole Custer +8000
(BET NOW)
Tyler Reddick +8000
(BET NOW)
Austin Dillon +10000
(BET NOW)
Ryan Newman +10000
(BET NOW)

Streak of Different Intermediate Winners Is Likely to End at Texas

Uncharacteristically, the NASCAR Cup Series’ six trips to 1.5-mile intermediate speedways have produced six different winners this season:

  1. Joey Logano (Las Vegas)
  2. Brad Keselowski (Charlotte 1)
  3. Chase Elliott (Charlotte 2)
  4. Kevin Harvick (Atlanta)
  5. Denny Hamlin (Homestead-Miami)
  6. Cole Custer (Kentucky)

Of those winners, only Custer has been a real surprise. The driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford is the first rookie to win a race at NASCAR’s highest level since Chris Buescher triumphed in a rain-shortened race at Pocono in 2016. Despite the victory, Custer is listed at +8000 for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. That’s as it should be—lightning won’t strike twice.

In fact, the streak of six straight different winners is endangered. It’s difficult to imagine a Texas winner coming from outside that esteemed group. Of course, Custer pulled off the shocker at Kentucky, so nothing is out of the question.

Is This the Week Jimmie Johnson Becomes a Contender?

The track record is impeccable. Jimmie Johnson is the leading all-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway with seven victories. He won six times before the track was repaved and reconfigured in 2017 and the seventh time in the first race after the transformation. So why is the seven-time champion posted at +2200 this week?

The easy answer is that Johnson, who returned to action after a brief bout of coronavirus kept him out of the July 5 race at Indianapolis, hasn’t won anything at all since the 13th event of 2017 at Dover. The seven-time champion is winless in his last 111 starts, by far the longest dry spell of his career.

Johnson showed speed after NASCAR’s reopening, but he threw away a stage win May 17 at Darlington with a mistake on the final lap. At Charlotte, he finished second but was disqualified because the rear end of his No. 48 Chevrolet was outside tolerances. In his last five races, Johnson has a best finish of 13th at Talladega, rendering a sudden turnaround at Texas a dubious proposition.

Kevin Harvick Versus Denny Hamlin—Top Winners Vie for Supremacy

Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin lead the NASCAR Cup Series with four victories apiece. Hamlin is the defending winner of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Harvick is the most recent winner at Texas Motor Speedway, having triumphed in last year’s Playoff race.

So who gets the nod on Sunday? Harvick (+400) has won three of the last five Cup events at TMS, all of which have come after the repaving. All three also have come in the fall. Hamlin has three Texas wins, too, dating to his sweep of both events in 2010.

Harvick’s No. 4 Ford has been faster than Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota on a consistent basis, but Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, has done an excellent job of hitting the setup off the truck. Without practice, that’s a major advantage, and the ability to unload with a competitive car is one major reason why Hamlin has four wins this season and teammate Kyle Busch has none.

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Our Pick

Denny Hamlin (+600).

Why Hamlin?

Because he offers a better payday than Harvick in a toss-up. Harvick didn’t have winning pace on a hot track last Sunday at Kentucky. Sunday’s race at Texas will be even hotter.

More NASCAR Predictions & Odds

Bank of America Roval 400 (Cup Series) Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks
Bank of America Roval 400 (Cup Series) Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks
Chase Elliott could use another win in Sunday’s race at Charlotte Roval to bolster his NASCAR Cup title defense. Is he likely to get it? Our analysis is here.
10 October | 06:28 | Reid Spencer
Drive for the Cure 250 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Xfinity Series)
Drive for the Cure 250 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Xfinity Series)
Surprisingly, AJ Allmendinger isn’t the favorite to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at the Charlotte Roval. But should he be? Our analysis is here.
8 October | 12:24 | Reid Spencer
YellaWood 500 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Cup Series)
YellaWood 500 Predictions, Odds & Picks (Cup Series)
Can Ford drivers continue to dominate the action at Talladega Superspeedway. We’ll find out in Sunday’s YellaWood 500. Our analysis is here.
2 October | 02:12 | Reid Spencer

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]