Wednesday night saw something of a return to normal, or as normal as things get nowadays, in NASCAR. The All-Star Race was run at Bristol with about 20,000 fans in attendance, which makes you wonder of we are going to start seeing fans allowed into the stands in the coming weeks. That is not likely to happen this weekend, though, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 set to go at the Texas Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott should be coming into this event on a bit of a high after pocketing a cool million dollars after winning the All-Star Race. As always, though, there are any number of drivers who could make their mark in this race, so it might be a good idea to look at the favorites and how they usually perform at this track, along with their NASCAR odds.
NASCAR Cup Series – O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Kevin Harvick (+270)
We are now 17 races into the NASCAR season, and it is Kevin Harvick who is leading the way at the top of the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings. He already has 4 wins on the season, as well as landing in the top 5 no less than 10 times. Harvick has been the model of consistency, finishing in the top 10 in 14 of the 17 races. While Harvick has yet to win this race, he has had some real joy at the Texas Motor Speedway. He has won 3 of his last 5 starts there and has and been in the top 10 in 7 straight runs at Texas. That, combined with the start he has made to the season, makes him the clear favorite this weekend.
Kyle Busch (+600)
If you look back at the history of this race, you see one driver who has excelled more than most. Over the last 7 running’s of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, it has been Kyle Busch who has taken the checkered flag 3 times, which makes it very clear why he is among the favorites to win this weekend. The problem here, though, is that Busch is off to a poor start this season, failing to pick up a single win and sitting down in 11th in the driver standings. He loves this race, but he is off the pace this season.
Denny Hamlin (+600)
If we are going to talk about drivers who have a history with this race, then we need to talk about Denny Hamlin. He has won this race twice in his career and comes into this one as the defending winner after taking the checkered flag at this race last season. Hamlin, like Harvick, has 4 wins already on the season and has also landed in the top 10 in 10 of his 17 races. He has 3 career wins at Texas Motor Speedway, but I think he will be trailing Harvick in this one.
Martin Truex Jr. (+750)
It is somewhat surprising to see Truex Jr. in among the favorites here when you consider that he has never won at Texas Motor Speedway. He does have a win this season and is sitting in 7th in the driver standings, but there is also very little to suggest that he might be a factor this weekend. At this race last season, Truex Jr, finished in 12, His best run at this track was a 2nd place finish, which came back in 2017. I just don’t see him getting the win in this one.