Kevin Harvick (4) and Martin Truex Jr. (19) run during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Sparta, Ky.
Kevin Harvick (4) and Martin Truex Jr. (19) run during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Sparta, Ky. |Mark Humphrey | Associated Press
NASCAR

Thursday Night NASCAR: The Eckel 4 pick the Super Start Batteries 400 where Kevin Harvick is the favorite

Can we expect another surprise winner, or is it time for one of the favorites to get back to victory lane? Thursday, race, 7:30 pm EDT (NBCSN).

Mark Eckel

There is Thursday night racing as NASCAR heads back to Kansas City for the Super Start Batteries 400.

This will be the 10th running of the race that debuted in 2011 and has seen eight different winners in its first nine years. Only Brad Keselowski, who won the initial race in ’11 and came back and won again last year, has won twice.

NASCAR has seen two surprise winners in its last two races as rookie Cole Custer made a monster move on the final lap to steal a win in Kentucky two weeks ago; and Austin Dillon came on strong to win his first race of the season and third of his career last week in Texas.

Custer and Dillon, with their respective wins, both qualified for the playoffs which has also shaken up the playoff race a bit.

Right now William Byron, Eric Jones, who has raced well lately, Bubba Wallace and rookie Tyler Reddick are just outside of the cut. Seven-time Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson is the last man in at 16th in the standings.

Remember drivers earn five playoff points for each of their regular-season wins and one playoff point for each of their stage wins. The top 10 finishers in the regular-season standings earn playoff points on a sliding scale, starting with 15 points for the Regular Season Champion and ending on one point for the 10th-place finisher.

Thursday’s race can shake up things even more, especially if there is another surprise. Here’s how The Eckel 4, which includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis, see the race.

Martin Truex Jr. (6-1): Only Patrick Mahomes has had more success in Kansas City recently than Truex. The New Jersey-born driver won this race in 2017 and came in second in 2018. Three of The Eckel 4 think a return to Victory Lane could happen again Thursday night.

Ryan Blaney (10-1): Blaney has quietly been one of the most consistent drivers all season. He has just one win, but has accumulated 630 points, second only to Kevin Harvick. He has a second and a third in Kansas.

Kyle Busch (15-2): “Tobacco Road’’ won’t give it up, even though he has as many wins this season as Busch does. What’s even harder to believe is Busch doesn’t even have a stage win this season.

Kevin Harvick (4-1): Yes, he’s the favorite. And no, you just can’t leave him out.

Logshot Plays: Kurt Busch (25-1), Eric Jones (25-1)

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Super Start Batteries 400

Site: Kansas City, Kansas.

Schedule: Thursday, race, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN).

Track: Kansas Speedway.

Race distance: 267 laps, 400 miles.

Last year: Brad Keselowski won after starting fourth.

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