NASCAR puts its All-Star event at the cozy confines of the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday in the rear view to move back to the wide-open spaces of the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
NASCAR O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Preview
As has been the case at most events since NASCAR returned from its COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in May, Kevin Harvick rolls into another event carrying the online betting favorite label, for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series point standings and his four victories in 17 starts matches Denny Hamlin for the series leads. He also has 10 top-fives and 14 top-10’s, both statistics that top all other drivers.
And at Texas Harvick (4.5-1) has been no slouch over the years. In 34 career Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway Harvick has three victories, 11 top-fives and 22 top-10 finishes. Harvick has an average finish of 9.8 is third best of all active drivers. Harvick has won three of the past six Cup Series events at Texas, including the last event at the track last November.
Denny Hamlin (7-1) goes to Texas looking to turn around a recent cold spell. After a run of four consecutive top-four finishes, Hamlin crashed at Indianapolis on July 5 and was relegated to a 28th place finish and then was 12th at Kentucky Speedway on July 12.
At Texas Hamlin’s numbers over the years have run the gamut. He has three career Cup Series victories over 28 starts, but also 10 finishes of 15th or worse. He the March 2019 event at Texas, but went back to the track in November and finished 28th.
Astoundingly, reigning series champion Kyle Busch (6.5-1) goes to Texas still looking for his first Cup Series victory in 2020. Busch sits 11th in the series standings and the feeling is a turnaround is due any week.
Texas would hardly be a surprising place for that turnaround to begin. Over 28 career Cup Series starts at Texas Busch has three victories and his 12 top-five finishes is third best of active drivers.
Chase Elliott (8-1) rolls into Texas coming off victory in Wednesday’s All-Star event at Bristol.
Elliott has struggled to find the fast groove at Texas over his Cup Series career and we probably don’t expect that to change for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. In eight starts at Texas has five top-10 finishes but his best finish at the track is sixth. He was 13th and 32nd in the two events at the track in 2019.
Joey Logano (12-1) has one victory at Texas, but that goes back to March 2014. Logano has 10 top-five finishes over 23 Cup Series starts at Texas. Over the last nine events at the track he has eight finishes of seventh or better, including four podium finishes. He was fourth in the last event at Texas last November.
Jimmie Johnson (23-1) leads all active drivers with seven career victories at Texas Motor Speedway. From Nov. 2012 to Nov. 2015 Johnson won five of seven events at Texas. His last win at the track came in April 2017. Johnson’s 16 top-five finishes over 33 career starts at Texas leads all drivers all-time. He also has 22 top-10’s over his career at the track with an average finish of 10.7, which is fourth best of active drivers.
Erick Jones (26-1) has five consecutive top-10 finishes at Texas including a streak of three consecutive fourth places finishes at the track. Jones’ average finish of 9.4 over seven Cup Series starts at Texas leads all drivers all-time at the track.
Matt Kenseth (36-1) has struggled since coming out of retirement to replace Kyle Larson at Ganassi Racing in May. But nobody should be surprised to see Kenseth have a turnaround at Texas.
Kenseth has a pair of wins at Texas (2002, 2011) and 14 top-five finishes over 30 starts at the track. His average finish of 9.5 is second best all-time at the track.
So, that’s it for our preview of this weeks’ O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, good luck!