Bet Sunday NASCAR: The Eckel 4 pick the Toyota 350 road race in Sonoma, like Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, more
Toyota 350, Sonoma, Ca., 4 p.m. TV: FS1
NASCAR heads west to Sonoma, Sunday, for the Toyota 350 and there are some interesting trends to watch. Here are some of them.
Kevin Harvick, with nine, and Denny Hamlin, with seven, combined for 16 wins in 2020. This season, after 15 weeks, neither driver has been to Victory Lane. Hamlin still has a comfortable overall points lead, thanks to nine top five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes. Harvick, last year’s points champion, is mired in ninth place overall.
New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. will look for his fourth win of the season, Sunday, and his third straight win in Sonoma. Truex became just the second driver to repeat at Sonoma in 2019 (the race was not run last year due to Covid) and will attempt to match Jeff Gordon’s three straight wins from 1998-2000.
Kyle Larson, last week’s winner in Charlotte and second to Hamlin in total points, is looking to go back to back and to also catch Truex for most wins in 2021 with a win Sunday.
The unheralded and underrated William Byron, third overall in points, has 12 top 10 finishes in the last 13 races. He began the season in rough form, but has been very good of late. He’ll look to continue that streak Sunday.
And speaking of hot, last year’s Cup Champion Chase Elliott is back. Elliott has four top-five finishes and a win in his last five starts and is the heavy favorite Sunday.
And really speaking of hot, here is how The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis see the race.
Chase Elliott (2-1): The odds aren’t good, but there’s a reason for that. Although he’s never won at Sonoma (one top five, four top 10s) he leads all drivers with six overall road wins. “Left Turn’’ and the Doc both think he cruises this week.
Kyle Larson (7-1): From strictly an odds standpoint this is the better bet. And all four of “The 4’’ mentioned Larson, who gained the pole position for the race as well.
Martin Truex Jr. (9-2): Truex has won here three times, including 2018 and 2019, so it’s tough to overlook him here. And “Tobacco Road’’ made sure he did not.
Kevin Harvick (15-1): The odds are too good to ignore. Harvick won here in 2017 and finished second to Truex in 2019. He’s been in the top six finishers in each of his last five races here.
Longshot Play: Brad Keselowski (20-1)