One of Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott will not get a chance to run for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series title.
The four favorites to advance to the championship round of the postseason were surprised by Joey Logano's victory at Kansas Speedway. That leaves three positions—two to potential race winners—left to move on from the round of eight. The first of those two races takes place Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Harvick and Hamlin captured three of the past four races in Fort Worth, Texas. The exception to that trend was Austin Dillon's victory in July. Keselowski and Elliott do not have wins at the track, and they finished ninth and 12th in the season's first trip to the course.
Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch are still alive in the round of eight, but their best way to get into the final four is through a victory because of the gap in points between themselves and the top four.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Information
Date: Sunday, October 25
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCSports.com or NBC Sports app
Kevin Harvick: +240 (bet $100 to win $240
Denny Hamlin: +450
Joey Logano: +750
Chase Elliott: +850
Ryan Blaney: +1000
Martin Truex Jr.: +1000
Brad Keselowski: +1100
Kyle Busch: +1500
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Harvick and Hamlin are two of four racers to take three or more wins at Texas Motor Speedway.
All three of Harvick's triumphs in the Lone Star State occurred in the past six races. He started in the top three in each of those victories. On Sunday, the No. 4 car driver begins the 500-mile race in the pole position with Logano next to him.
Hamlin will have to make up some ground since he begins the race on the fourth row alongside Kurt Busch. The Joe Gibbs Racing competitor won back-to-back races at Texas in 2010 and picked up his third victory at the track in 2019.
You could make the case that Hamlin may have trouble winning since he owns a single victory at Texas since 2011, but he still possesses seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10 placings.
Hamlin produced a rare 20th-placed finish at Texas in July, and his form at the track suggests he will rebound from that result. If he lands in the top five or 10 again, Hamlin should feel safe about his position in the final four heading into the race at Martinsville Speedway on Nov. 1. The same can be said about Harvick's playoff chances.
Keselowski could be face much more difficulty than the top two drivers in the playoff standings. He has five top-five placings in 24 races at Texas. Those statistics convinced the oddsmakers to give the Penske Racing driver higher odds than other playoff competitors to win Sunday.
Elliott may be in a tough spot as well given he did not finish in the top 10 in each of his past three starts at Texas. If Keselowski and Elliott slip up Sunday, it may open the door for Bowman and Truex to pick up points and threaten their playoff positions at Martinsville.
Keselowski sits on the cut line with an eight-point advantage over Elliott. Bowman is 19 points back of Elliott, there is a four-point difference back to Truex and Busch is 40 points behind the No. 19 car driver.
Busch most likely needs a victory at Texas or Martinsville to advance, while Bowman and Truex still have an opportunity to move on through points if the Texas trends of Keselowski and Elliott continue Sunday.
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