The Monster Energy Cup Series rolls back east after a three-race stretch in Las Vegas, Phoenix and California. We will also get our first short-track race of the season in the STP 500 from venerable Martinsville Speedway.
This race has been dominated by Fords lately, as the manufacturer has picked up three wins in the past four starts at the Virginia short track. That includes a victory by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer last spring in a rare Monday race, as the Sunday run was wiped out by a rare March snow. Penske Racing’s Joey Logano made sure it was a Ford season sweep at Martinsville, picking up checkers in the fall run.
Who is going to win at Martinsville this week?
It’s not a bad idea to put a little bit of bread on the chalk on Sunday. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch (+180) has been unstoppable lately. He has two straight victories at ISM Raceway in Arizona and Auto Club Speedway last weekend, his 200th victory across the three NASCAR national series. He is a good bet to make it three checkered flags in a row, too. Rowdy rolls into Martinsville with seven consecutive top-5 finishes at the track, including wins in the spring 2016 race and the fall 2017 run. Over his past five starts at Martinsville he has run every single one of his laps inside the Top 15, too.
Brad Keselowski (+450) hasn’t been quite as automatic as Busch, but he is a solid bet to make some noise at Martinsville, too. He has six straight top-10 showings at the track, and five of his runs have resulted in top-5 finishes, including a victory in the spring 2017 race. As mentioned, Fords have dominated lately, and his Penske teammate Joey Logano (+600) won the last stop at the historic Paper Clip in the hills of Virginia. NASCAR betting is a little trick since there are legitimately 12-15 drivers with a realistic shot of winning each week, more if it’s a restrictor-plate track. But Martinsville is a tricky place and track experience matters greatly.
Martinsville Speedway long shot bet
If you like to roll the dice on a long shot, consider Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson (+3000).
That sounds strange, as he is a seven-time series champ, but he also carries a career-worst 64-race drought into Martinsville. However, he leads all active drivers with nine wins at the track, and he has a 8.0 Average-Finish Position across 34 career starts with 19 of his finishes inside the Top 5, leading 2,863 laps. The next best driver in laps led is Denny Hamlin with 1,536. Again, experience matters at Martinsville.