Martin Truex Jr. survived Kansas for his seventh win of the season, and the Round of 8 will start on Sunday at Martinsville, which will host its second race of the season. The first was won by Brad Keselowski, while the 2016 fall race was won by Jimmie Johnson. Both of those drivers are in the Round of 8, along with Truex, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.
Event: First Data 500
Category: NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series
Date: Sunday, October 29th, 3:00 PM PM ET
Location: Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway, Virginia
Truex won at Kansas from the pole, leading 91 laps along the way. He was followed by Kurt Busch, Blaney, Elliott and Hamlin in a wreck-filled race, while Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were eliminated from the playoffs.
Past Five Winners
2016: Jimmie Johnson
2015: Jeff Gordon
2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2013: Jeff Gordon
2012: Jimmie Johnson
Hendrick Motorsports has done a good job at this track, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for their drivers. Hendrick drivers have won the last three Playoff races at Martinsville. Brad Keselowski will be going for the season sweep on this track. Not only did he win the last race, he’s placed second or better in three of the last five times he’s started here. Kyle Busch has also been hot on this track. He’s placed fifth or better in his last four starts. Not surprisingly, Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with wins on this track. In total, he has nine at Martinsville, which is four more than Denny Hamlin, who is in second place. Hamlin will be one of the hometown favorites this week as he is from Virginia. He is second among active drivers here with an average finish of 10.1 and driver rating.
What To Know About The Track
Martinsville opened in 1947 and it is the only track that has been in NASCAR since it was born in 1948. It is a half-mile track (0.526 miles to be specific) with 12-degree banking in the corners and no banking on the straightaways. Martinsville has been repaved so it is easier to pass at the top of the track, but the preferred line is still around the bottom, and near the end of the race, drivers won’t hesitate to move whoever is in front of them out of the way.
A Good Matchup To Bet: Jimmie Johnson over Denny Hamlin
Since 1975, no two drivers have been better at Martinsville than Johnson, who is rated at +100 in this matchup against Hamlin, who is -130. Johnson has an average finish of 7.5 in 31 starts here, including nine wins, and six of those wins have come in the fall. Hamlin has an average finish of 10.1 in 23 starts at Martinsville, including five wins, and two have come in the fall. The spring race was an anomaly as Johnson started 17th and finished 15th at Martinsville, while Hamlin started 12th and led 24 laps, but finished 30th. Now that the pressure is on, you can expect both of these drivers to be better at Martinsville, and Johnson gets the slightest of edges over Hamlin, who is from Virginia and loves to do well here.
Top-Five Pick: Chase Elliott
Elliott has been phenomenal this season and as the pressure increases, he has done better. He has four top-fives in the playoffs so far and finished fourth at Kansas, and he finished third at Martinsville in the spring. You would think that Elliott, at 21 years old, would start to feel that pressure, but he is embracing it and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he managed to win a race after finishing second three times in the playoffs. Elliott looks like a championship driver not in the future, but right now.
Odds To Win First Data 500
Martin Truex Jr +800
Kyle Busch +300
Brad Keselowski +500
Kyle Larson +1000
Denny Hamlin +600
Jimmie Johnson +800
Kevin Harvick +1200
Chase Elliott +1500
Matt Kenseth +1800
Ryan Blaney +3000
Erik Jones +6000
Joey Logano +1500
Clint Bowyer +3000
Kurt Busch +6000
Jamie McMurray +4000
Daniel Suarez +8000
Dale Earnhardt Jr +8000
Ryan Newman +8000
Kasey Kahne +10000
Austin Dillon +10000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +12500
Click here to get all of the latest NASCAR betting lines at BetDSI including head-to-head matchups, props and odds to win each NASCAR and NASCAR Xfinity playoffs!
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