AmericanBettingExperts.com welcomes a new NASCAR writer, Sam Sayre this week, who shares her preview, picks and predictions for Wednesday’s NASCAR 500 race from Martinsville Speedway.
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Date and Time: Wednesday, June 10th at 7:00 pm ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Race Sponsor: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief
Lap Total: 500 laps on a .526 mile track and a 263-mile race
When NASCAR started, Martinsville Speedway was a founding member. It has been around more than 70 years. It is the only track that was on the schedule in the first NASCAR Cup Series that is still on the schedule today. All of these drivers know what it means to race here and collect the “trophy” which is a grandfather longcase clock as a nod to Martinsville’s famous furniture industry. These clocks can be valued at over $15,000, but are worth way more as bragging rights.
This is the shortest track on the schedule, but it is one of the biggest for action. You are going to see a lot of beating and banging due to the exciting bumper to bumper racing. Tempers usually overflow quickly here. It has two 800 feet straight aways hooked together by short, right almost flat turns.
The Martinsville Speedway race was originally scheduled for May 9, 2020, before Covid-19 hit. It has over 60,000 seats and is known for the best hotdogs around. However, no fans will be in attendance and only a limited amount of essential personnel will be permitted in the track area. This is the first of two races this week. It is the seventh race back since the halt and the eleventh race of the NASCAR season overall. The next race here will be the First Data 500 which will be the ninth race in the NASCAR Cup playoffs.
There are no qualifying or practice rounds, but the starting lineup is already set. Ryan Blaney will start the 263-mile race from the pole and Aric Almirola will be on the outside pole.
Unusual Surface With No Banking at Night?
“The Paperclip” race should make for some of the wildest racing we’ve seen this season because of the faster speeds and better handling thanks to the cooler track temperatures at night. This is the first night race hosted by Martinsville Speedway in Cup Series history. This half-mile oval has a unique racing surface with asphalt on the straightaways and concrete in the turns. It only has 12 degrees of banking in the turns and 0 degrees of banking in the straightaways.
Teams here used to race hard down the straightaways and slam on the brakes in the corners. That changed about 5 years ago and now teams use less horsepower and lower gearing to give a more consistent lap speed. You may see some teams chance tires late in the race. Of course, this means cars staying out longer on tires that should be replaced just to keep the track position. Watch betting on these daredevils because if they chance it too long then they will end up in the wall.
It is hard to pass at Martinsville Speedway and track position is extremely important. We are probably going to see some chances being taken especially towards the end. The bump and go is a popular move here as is trying to trying on another driver’s bumper to get them loose. They aren’t trying to wreck anyone. Just move them enough to get around them.
NASCAR Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Key Stats
- No one has won from the front row since 2013.
- Lights being used for the first time.
- Eight of the last nine winners here have started in the Top 10.
- Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers here with nine wins.
- Drivers voted this the most stressful track.
- Five straight different winners: Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr.
Last Season Winner: Brad Keselowski (Spring race) and Martin Truex Jr. (Fall race)
Pick Martin Truex Jr. +600 at Bet MGM
Martin Truex Jr. is starting fifth on Wednesday night driving the #19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won the 2019 fall race at Martinsville leading 464 laps out of 500 laps. Over the last four races, Truex has the best driver rating with 115.4. He has finished no worse than eighth place in the last 4 races.
Earlier this year, Truex yelled on the radio about his teammate, Denny Hamlin’s driving. You need to watch to see if Truex’s famous temper flares again here with drivers or his pit crew which have cost him several times already this year.
Pick Brad Keselowski +650 at FanDuel
Brad Keselowski is starting sixth on Wednesday night in the #2 Ford Mustang for Team Penske. He won the 2019 spring race at Martinsville leading 446 laps out of 500 laps. His driver rating is 114.6. Brad has already had two wins this season. He has also won two of the last six races here at Martinsville.
Brad has a checkered reputation. He’s energetic yet brash, and he doesn’t mind speaking his mind and being himself. He also drives this way. This week, Brad spoke out about the use of the Confederate Flag by many NASCAR fans at races. This didn’t go over well with fans of other drivers. Many drivers have said that he causes wrecks yet doesn’t take any credit for them. Let’s see this race if Brad becomes distracted by any of this.
Pick Jimmie Johnson +2200 at FanDuel
You say you want a dark horse…well Jimmie Johnson fits the bill especially at this value. He is the driver of the #48 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendricks Motorsports. He finished second at the Coco-Cola 600 and third at Bristol. He is showing his old speed again and wants a guaranteed spot in the playoffs in his last year.
Martinsville is the best track in his career. He has 9 wins, 19 top 5’s, and 24 top 10’s in 36 career starts. A lot of fans can’t root for Jimmie Johnson because they say he is too corporate. Well, he has been showing the fire that fans have been asking for this season. He knows it could be his last season and he wants to show everyone that he still can win.
Extra: Pick Kyle Busch Top 3 Finish +130 at Bet MGM
Kyle Busch is starting seventh on Wednesday night. In the last four races, he has an average driver rating of 113.4. Kyle hasn’t won any of the last four races here but has an average finish of 5.75. He also has the second-best pit position.