The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue today with the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Kyle Busch- Kyle Busch has had a stellar year on mile and a half tracks, with a win at Kansas, 5 top 3’s, and 6 top 5’s in 7 starts this season. Busch is a proven winner at Texas Motor Speedway, with 4 wins, 14 top 5’s, and over 1,000 laps led in 30 career starts. With a strong run today, Busch will be the first driver to punch his ticket to the Championship 4!
Top 10: Ryan Blaney- Blaney has been on quite the heater since the All-Star Break, with 2 wins, 8 top 5’s, and 11 top 10’s in 16 starts. Blaney rides that momentum into Texas, where he has finished inside the top 10 in 6 of his last 7 starts, leading over 250 laps during that stretch. Blaney won at Atlanta in the spring and has 4 top 5 finishes on mile and a half tracks this season. Blaney is a lock for a top 10 today.
Dark Horse: Austin Dillon- A winner at Texas in July 2020, Dillon has put together some of his best races this season on mile and a half tracks, finishing inside the top 13 in all 7 races on that style track this season. Dillon has also finished inside the top 15 in each of his last 6 races this year, so he has been avoiding the big mistakes and putting together some clean finishes. I would be quite surprised to see Dillon win here again today, but I predict that Dillon’s consistency will result in a top 10 finish today.
Driver to Fade: Cole Custer- Fords have struggled with speed this season and Custer is no exception to the rule, earning just 7 top 15 finishes so far, with 3 of them coming on superspeedways. Mile and a half tracks have been particularly rough for Custer, with just 2 top 20 showings in 7 starts, with a best finish of 17th coming at the July Atlanta race. Custer is an easy fade and will finish outside the top 20 today.