Richmond was a bit less exciting of a race than others we’ve seen so far, but strategy at the end made for an exciting finish as Denny Hamlin became the 7th different winner in 7 races this year. Richmond showed us more of a veteran driver race than we haven’t seen in a while. Hamlin’s win also ended a 12 race winning streak by drivers under the age of 30 dating back to last year’s fall Talladega race won by Bubba Wallace.
This week we head to Martinsville Speedway, “The Paperclip,” a ½ mile track in Ridgeway, VA–one of the first paved tracks and the oldest track still on the circuit since the inception of NASCAR in 1948. The half-mile of mayhem, as it’s also known, loves to bring plenty of intensity. The tight racing quarters make for exciting racing, they’ve cut the race from 500 to 400 laps, and it’s on Saturday night under the lights. Intensity is going to be cranked up from the drop of the green flag. Similar to Richmond, you can expect this race to be dominated by veteran drivers.
Cody’s Betting Card for Martinsville
#JordanJinx – Ryan Blaney to Win (+1000)
The Jordan Jinx struck again last week as Joey Logano was having an excellent day until his jack broke on a late pit stop, forcing a long green flag stop and miring him back in the field. This week it’s on Ryan Blaney. I don’t blame Jordan for making this pick, though. If you listened to this week’s NASCAR Gambling Podcast you’ll hear how much we love Ryan this week. With the best average finish in the last 6 races here, and as hot as he has been this year so far, maybe the jinx works in reverse and grants Blaney his first Grandfather clock.
Brad Keselowski over Chase Briscoe (-120)
It’s been a rough start to the season for Brad and his new Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team, but a solid 13th last week and being a good veteran driver on this track should carry his momentum in here for a solid run. In his two Cup series starts here, Briscoe has finished 27th and 22nd, and while his season has started much better this year–including grabbing his first win at Phoenix–he doesn’t have a ton of experience here. This is another case of veteran over young gun.
Cody’s Best Bet: Chase Elliott over Denny Hamlin (-150)
The real “hack” may have won last week, but I’m still not convinced. Chase Elliott is tied for the points lead because he has had a super consistent season thus far, but he hasn’t won…yet. It’s coming, though. Chase will start from the pole Saturday night after laying down a fast qualifying time, while Hamlin was lackluster and will start 25th. If Denny gets into trouble early we know he loves to give up. I’m going to keep fading Hamlin again this week.
To Win: Martin Truex, Jr. (+900)
Truex opened the week at +550 as the favorite, but his odds slipped after a poor qualifying effort, which leaves him starting 20th Saturday. Truex opened as the favorite for good reason, though: he’s won 3 of the last 5 at Martinsville and finished in the top 8 in 8 of the last 9 here. After a stellar effort last weekend at Richmond, Truex should be able to find his way to the front and is great value at +900.
Long-Shot: Daniel Suarez to Win (+15000)
Go big or go home, right? I don’t like as many long shots this week because it should be a veteran/favorite race. BUT…in case things get wild or rain pops up or any number of things, why not have a driver from a team that has won this season and has done well? Suarez has proven in the past that when he is in good equipment he can run well here. It’s a long shot for a reason, but at +15000 on Barstool Sportsbook it’s worth a stab!
I don’t know if I totally agree on ‘veterans/favorites’. The youngsters seem to be ‘getting’ the new cars quicker than the vets! I could see a Byron/Bell/Blaney in the mix. However, I look for Elliot and Truex to clash in the final stage.
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