One more lap would be nice, but 68 laps are scheduled for this weekend’s EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. No, it’s not an F1 race. No, it’s not an IndyCar race. It is a NASCAR Cup Series race named a Grand Prix. If that sounds weird to you, that’s because it really, truly is.
The drivers will race at the Circuit of the Americas for the first-time ever in one of seven road course races on the docket and the first of two in a row with a stop at Sonoma next week. The Circuit of the Americas, better known as COTA, is down in Austin, Texas, which also means that we’ll have a big crowd in attendance.
Let’s see if we can make sense of a new course with a lot of twists and turns during a NASCAR season that has already brought a lot of them. The odds are from BetOnline Sportsbook.
|Martin Truex Jr||+425|
|Darrell Wallace Jr||+20000|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||+20000|
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Betting Odds
It should come as no surprise that Chase Elliott is the favorite at +240. He seems to do very well on the road courses and there are a lot of drivers that win a lot on ovals, but simply don’t like them. He can win anywhere and is a deserving favorite in this one.
Martin Truex Jr. is the second favorite at +420. He’s got three wins already this season, but only has two top-five finishes otherwise, as he’s been all over the place and a little inconsistent. That said, he’s also been a factor in a lot of races.
After those two, things get really interesting. Denny Hamlin is +900, followed by the Kyles, Busch and Larson, at +1200. Ryan Blaney is +1400 with Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick at +1600 and a quartet of guys at +1800.
Naturally a road course, especially and unknown one, is going to depress some of the favorite prices and compress some of the middle-tier guys. Here, though, we see Elliott and Truex much lower as favorites, so that drags a lot of other guys down.
Case in point, guys like AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric are +2200. On an oval, those guys would be three or four times higher on the price.
Circuit of the Americas Overview
Circuit of the Americas, henceforth referred to as COTA, has 20 turns across a 3.426-mile layout. A lot of them are just small little directional deviations, but there are some very tight turns on the backside of the track after the long straightaway between turns 11 and 12.
There may be some drivers that have some level of exposure here, but most do not. That is why we’re seeing Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, and Austin Dillon all in the Xfinity Series race for this weekend.
This course is a lot more like the courses that we would see in F1. Track architects and visionaries had a lot more background with courses around the globe, so this won’t be like the road courses you see at Charlotte, Sonoma, Watkins Glen, or anything like that.
The course can fit 120,000, but we’ll see how many do show up on Sunday for the 1:30 p.m. CT start.
Road Course Standouts
With no NASCAR data from COTA, we need to look at guys that have done well on road courses recently to see if we can find the drivers that like these formats and have success with them. Obviously all road courses are created differently. A lot of ovals are fairly standard, with little nuances and quirks like different degrees of banking in the turns, but a lot of them are somewhat boilerplate.
This course is a lot different. It is the F1 layout as opposed to a road course designed more for stock cars. In any event, it’s about the best we can do to handicap for this one.
Christopher Bell won on the Daytona Road Course in the second race of the season, but Chase Elliott won the first stage and led the most laps. Joey Logano was a surprise second and Denny Hamlin was third and won the second stage.
The schedule last year was all thrown off because of COVID, but Elliott won the road course race at Daytona and also the Charlotte Roval race. Hamlin was second at Daytona and Logano was second on the Roval. Others in the top five between those races were Hamlin, Truex, Kurt Busch, Blaney, and Erik Jones.
Two years ago, we saw Truex win at Sonoma and finish second at Watkins Glen. The Watkins Glen win went to Elliott, who also won on the Roval. There are a lot more road courses now this year, so that should excite both of those guys.
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Picks
One of Elliott or Truex probably wins the race, but the prices are so short that better bets are on the board. Christopher Bell had a lot of success in the Xfinity Series, where there are more road courses like Road America and Mid-Ohio. He won at Daytona earlier this year as well, so he’s a good look at +1800.
Ryan Blaney is also a decent bet at +1400. He won on the Roval back in 2018 and had a couple top-five finishes on road courses in 2019. He also runs well bunched up at Talladega, so tight racing conditions aren’t as problematic for him.
Coverage of the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix will be on FS1 with a 2:30 p.m. ET start time.