Kevin Harvick, on far side of wall, celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Kevin Harvick, on far side of wall, celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)|Associated Press
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Bet NASCAR! The Eckel 4 pick the Quaker State 400 and ask if anyone can beat Harvick and Hamlin – Truex, maybe

Quaker State 400, Kentucky Speedway, 2:30 TV: FS1

Mark Eckel

Quaker State 400, Kentucky Speedway, 2:30 TV: FS1

Kevin Harvick’s and Denny Hamlin’s domination of this crazy 2020 NASCAR season continued last week in Indianapolis.

Sunday the dominating duo face what might be their toughest test in Kentucky.

Through 16 races this season Hamlin and Harvick have combined for eight wins, including four of the last five and seven of the last 12 since racing resumed.

They have also combined for 18 (nine each) top five finishes and 23 (Harvick 13, Hamlin 10) top 10 finishes.

Harvick won last week when Hamlin, with the lead and about 20 laps to go, suffered a right front tire blowout that led to a crash. If that hadn’t happened you were looking at the third consecutive race that they went 1-2.

Now the circuit heads to Kentucky where the best Hamlin has ever finished is third, and the best Harvick has ever finished is fifth.

Will either get their first win here this week?

Let's see what The Eckel 4. which includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis, think. Last week the foursome notched its ninth win of the season. And this week we’re leaving out Harvick, which will probably come back and bite us.

Martin Truex Jr. (5-1): There’s a reason the New Jersey native, who has been up and down this season, is the favorite. He’s won twice here, going back-to-back in 2017 and 2018. Truex’s only win this season came in Martinsville, another track he really likes. Two of the four “experts’’ put MTJ on top this week.

Denny Hamlin (6-1): The two who didn’t pick Truex to win, like Hamlin and what’s not to like. No, he’s never won here, but he is having some kind of year and may want to make up for his mishap of a week ago.

Ryan Blaney (14-1): “Left Turn’’ is very high on Blaney, who finished second here in 2018 and is quietly putting together a very good year. At these odds he’s definitely worth a look.

Brad Keselowski (6-1): The two selectors who put Truex first, put Keselowski second. If it wasn’t for the success of Harvick and Hamlin this season more people would be talking about B.K., who has two wins and 11 top 10 finishes thus far. He’s also won three times in Kentucky.

Kyle Busch (11-2): If you bet Busch and he wins you know who to thank. If he loses again send all complains to sbaker@tobaccoroad.com.

Longshot Picks: Aric Almirola (25-1), Kurt Busch (16-1)

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