Midweek NASCAR returns once again with the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday June 10. The drivers caught a bit of a break last week by having a full week in between events, but we’re back to a condensed schedule once again, this time on the short track in Ridgeway, Virginia.
The Half Mile of Mayhem awaits now and we did see some pretty chaotic racing around the short track at Bristol about a week and a half ago. We’ll see how things go on the .526-mile “Paperclip” this week. Once again, no fans will be in attendance and there will be no practice or qualifying for the race, so things could be a little bit dicey at the outset.
The chalk held up last week with Kevin Harvick’s win at Atlanta. Let’s see how things go this week at Martinsville.
Here are the odds per 5Dimes Sportsbook as of 6/8 at 7 p.m. ET:
|Martin Truex Jr||+660|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||+33000|
|John Hunter Nemechek||+110000|
|Darrell Wallace Jr||+110000|
Points leader and double race winner Kevin Harvick is priced at +1320 this week, which gives you an idea of how he must fare at Martinsville. Kyle Busch is winless, but has six top-four finishes on the season and he is your +400 favorite on the short track. He only has two wins at Martinsville in his career, but not from a lack of effort. Busch has seven top-five finishes in the spring race to go along with his 2016 win and seven to go along with his 2017 in the fall race.
He was 14th in the fall last year to snap a streak of seven straight races in the top-five on the asphalt and concrete track.
Interestingly, Brad Keselowski is the second choice at +550. We think of Keselowski on bigger tracks, especially 1.5-mile loops, but he won this race last year and also back in 2017. He did not sweep either season, as he has not won the fall race, but has four straight top-five finishes and a fifth back in 2013 in that event. He’s got four top-five finishes in this one, including the two wins. We really don’t think of him as a short track guy, but this track seems to suit him well for some reason. He won on the short track at Bristol, but that was as opportunistic as it gets with Chase Elliott and Joey Logano coming together with three laps to go.
Keselowski won last year’s spring race and swept the first two stages as well. He was second and fourth in the first two stages in 2018 and fourth and third in 2017. For whatever reason, this really is an excellent track for him. He also won the first two stages in the 2017 fall race.
Speaking of Elliott and Logano, they are both +880 this week. Elliott won the first two stages at Bristol prior to the wreck and Logano was running up front as well. Logano has one win at Martinsville, but a handful of top-five efforts. Elliott has a much smaller sample size and a couple of top-five finishes, including a runner-up here last year.
Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are +660, as it would appear that Joe Gibbs Racing should have a good day. Hamlin is a five-time winner at Martinsville, with his most recent trip to Victory Lane coming back in 2015. He’s been in the top five in four of the last five fall races, but only has one in the spring since that 2015 win.
Truex, who was third last week and won the first two stages at Atlanta, is not really thought of as a short track guy, but he won the fall race here last year for his third straight top-five finish in that event. He’s got three top-five finishes in the spring and has run extremely well on the short track at Richmond. He seems to be getting better in these events and it sure seems like switching to Toyota with Furniture Row Racing was the key factor.
It sure looks like it will be tough to skirt Toyota and JGR this week. Ford, however, has won the last three with Keselowski’s two wins and Clint Bowyer in the cold and snow of March back in 2018. Bowyer is well down the board at +2700 after a disappointing 20th last week.
One other Ford under consideration is Ryan Blaney at +1320. It seems like Blaney’s team has ironed out some kinks with three top-five finishes in the last four races. Blaney has also finished in the top five in three of his last four trips to Martinsville.
If you want a balloon number, this week’s contender is Aric Almirola at +4400. Almirola finished ninth in the spring last year, but was third for the first stage and sixth for the second stage. He also ran in the top 10 of both stages in the fall before finishing 37th.
There are a lot of drivers that seem like they have a great chance to win this week. Keselowski is on the card and will be a look in some matchups and other props. A small piece of Blaney and Almirola will round things out for us.
Coverage of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 will be at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 on Wednesday night.