NASCAR: The Eckel 4 pick the debut Echo Park Texas Grand Prix, like Chase Elliott, others, on the road course
Echo Park Texas Grand Prix, Austin, Tx. 2:30 p.m. TV: FS1
What can you expect in Sunday’s first-ever road race at the Circuit of The Americas?
In one of the most unpredictable of NASCAR seasons through the first 13 weeks, week 14 brings a race that has never occurred before.
“Gosh, the unknowns,” Chris Gabehart, crew chief for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Cup Series points leader Denny Hamlin, told NASCAR.com. “There’s just so many things that you’ve got to keep track of at this track, and none of us have been there to do it, so we’re just guessing at some of them, at that.”
Road races aren’t east to predict when it’s Daytona, so when it’s a new track it’s really anybody’s race.
“I’ll definitely have a chart in the car,” William Byron, currently second in Cup Series points behind Hamlin, said. “The funny thing is, when we’ve been in the simulator together and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and I have been talking, I’ve referred to a lot of corners as that corner over there by the backstretch, or that one over there with the double corner. So, I don’t know. It’s going to be a lot of guessing.’’
Here’s the guesses of The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis. If you missed it, “The 4’’ gave you last week’s long shot winner Alex Bowman at 16-1.
Chase Elliott (2-1): There’s a reason Elliott has such short odds and why three of “The 4’’ picked him to win. He’s really good on road tracks. He has five road wins in his career and has won four of his last five races on road courses. You can’t leave him out, even with the short odds. Last year’s Cup Champion is also overdue fo his first win in 2021.
Kyle Larson (14-1): “Left Turn’’ who has been really hot of late, was the one to bypass the heavy favorite and go with Larson, who has been one of the most consistent drivers all season. Larson already has a win this season and has been in the top five six times, which is second to Denny Hamlin’s eight top five finishes.
Martin Truex Jr. (5-1): In an unprecedented twist, all four of “The 4’’ have Truex, the New Jersey native, No. 2 this week. The three-time 2021 winner has four road course wins in his career.
Longshot Play: A.J. Allmendinger (28-1)