Bet NASCAR: The Eckel 4 pick the Instacart 500, Sunday afternoon from Phoenix – like Harvick, Logano, more
Instacart 500, Phoenix, 3:30 p.m. TV: Fox
Four races into the NASCAR season and a favorite has yet to emerge as a winner.
The circuit heads to Phoenix Sunday for the Instacart 500 where last year’s Cup Champion Chase Elliott is the 5-1 pick of the oddsmakers.
After a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 to open the season, Elliott has finished out of the top 10 the past three races. He did win his first-ever Cup Championship with a win at Phoenix last year.
Joey Logano, last year’s winner of this race, is 8-1 and is liked by one member of the Eckel 4 to take a second trip down victory lane.
Here are Sunday’s selections from the quartet, which as always includes Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney, Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis.
Kevin Harvick (6-1): After three top six finishes to start the season, last year’s point champion finished a disappointing 20th last week in Las Vegas. He’s had success in the desert. He has five wins in this race, including three straight from 2014-16, and nine total wins in Phoenix. He’s also finished in the top 10 in 15 straight races here. They don’t call him The Cactus King for nothing.
Joey Logano (8-1): Logano won here last year and looks to become the first repeat winner since Harvick. He also has four straight top 10 finishes in Phoenix, so he likes the track almost as much as Harvick does. After some tough luck the first month, he might be due for a win.
Kyle Larson (10-1): Last week’s winner in Vegas looks for a back-to-back and to also be the first driver to win two races this season. Larson has three top four finishes in his last four races on Phoenix, including a fourth-place finish in this race a year ago.
Brad Keselowsi (6-1): After a second-place finish a week ago in Vegas, Keselowski earned the pole this week. Three of his four wins a year ago came on tracks of one mile or under (Phoenix is one mile).
Kyle Busch (8-1): None of “The 4’’ put Busch on top (and since he hasn’t won a race in forever, that’s probably smart). Two of “The 4’’ put him second, however. He could easily be in the mix.
Longshot Play: Aric Almirola (35-1): He’s off to a terrible start with three finishes of 30th or worse. But he’s too good of a driver not to get back on track.