NASCAR Xfinity 500 Picks: The Eckel 4 are all in on Martin Truex Jr. as the playoffs cut down to fastest four
This is a first.
As NASCAR heads to its penultimate race of the season Sunday’s Xfinity 500 and will send four drivers to next week’s Cup Championship, The Eckel 4 are all in agreement.
Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney, Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis and the guy whose name is on top all think Martin Truex will reach Victory Lane Sunday and advance to the Cup Championship race in Phoenix.
That means, of course, Truex will either win the race easily or crash on the first lap.
Truex, who currently sits in sixth place three points out of the top four, is also the favorite for the race at odds of 4-1. The New Jersey native and 2017 Cup Champion has won the race the past two years and three of the past four in the city that bears his first name.
As far as the Cup Championship goes, Kyle Larson is the only driver to qualify for the Final Four thus far. Larson won both of the Round of Eight races in Kansas last week and in Charlotte two weeks ago.
Larson, who has nine wins this season, has never won at Martinsville but the way he’s driving it wouldn’t be a shock to see him for the 10th time this year and third week in a row. His odds are 7-1 and “Tobacco Road’’ ranks him as his No. 2 driver this week.
Chase Elliott (13-2) and Denny Hamlin (6-1) have not clinched a spot in the Final Four, but both are close.
Elliott, last year’s Cup Champion, is +34. In 12 career starts in Martinsville he has a win and seven top 10 finishes. “The Dr.’’ puts him right behind Truex this week.
Hamlin, who returns to his home state Sunday where he is a five-time winner, is at +32. A win would obviously clinch a spot, but just avoiding disaster would do so as well. “Left Turn’’ is one of two selectors to think he has a chance.
Kyle Busch (9-1) is currently in the fourth spot, but is just one point ahead of Ryan Blaney (7-1) and three ahead of Truex. Busch, the 2019 Champion, is a two-time winner at Martinsville, while Blaney is looking for his first win in his 12th trip.
Brad Keselowski (8-1), the 2012 Champion, is six points back. He needs a good race and for the drivers ahead of him to stumble.
Joey Logano (8-1), the 2018 Champion, is 26 points back and needs to win the race to advance.