After a short break in the schedule, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series is back in action this coming weekend with a Saturday night event. The world’s best stock car drivers will all be shooting for the momentum-boosting win two weeks after the history-making Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The 2021 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. With a bunch of familiar names at the top of the NASCAR Odds leaderboard, let’s find out what five drivers look like potential winners.
Odds To Win 2021 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Martin Truex Jr. +500
Chase Elliott +600
Brad Keselowski +600
Denny Hamlin +700
Joey Logano +700
Ryan Blaney +800
Kyle Busch +1200
Kyle Larson +1200
Kevin Harvick +1400
William Byron +2000
Alex Bowman +2500
Christopher Bell +3000
The Top 5 Drivers to Win
Currently, eighth in the NASCAR Cup standings, 45-year-old Kevin Harvick has five Top-10 finishes and a pair of Top-5 finishes in seven races. In 39 career appearances at Martinsville, the prohibitive favorite to win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship, has 19 Top-10 finishes, five Top-5 finishes, and one win. While Harvick has an average finish of just 14.9 at the track, the Californian has managed to record three Top-10 finishes in his last five appearances at the track.
Did You Know that the legendary Richard Petty is still the youngest winner at Martinsville Speedway? In 1960, when Petty was 22 years, 9 months, 8 days old. The North Carolina native piloted the No. 43 Plymouth to Victory Lane.
Logano is currently second in the NASCAR Cup standings with four Top-10 finishes and three Top-5 finishes. Logano took the checkered flag at the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol two weeks ago.
“How about Bristol on dirt, guys! This is incredible,” Logano said to the crowd, a reduced capacity sellout of about 30,000 fans. “There’s nothing like winning at Bristol, but putting it on dirt and being the first to do it is very special.”
In 24 career appearances at Martinsville, the 30-year-old Connecticut native has recorded a dozen Top-10 finishes, eight Top-5 finishes, and one win (2018). Logano has recorded three straight Top-10 finishes at Martinsville including a fourth-place finish in this event a year ago. With an average finish of 12.4 at Martinsville, I expect Logano to have a decent chance to take the checkered flag.
More On King Richard
Petty (No. 43) also owns the record for most victories at Martinsville with 15.
Hamlin sits atop the NASCAR Cup standings with six, Top-5 finishes this year. The 40-year-old Floridian might not have a victory but he’s got some tremendous history at Martinsville. In 30 career races at the track, Hamlin has 21 Top-10 finishes, 15 Top-5 finishes, and five victories. Hamlin finished 24th in this race a year ago but has three Top-5 finishes in his last five appearances at Martinsville.
Martin Truex Jr.
Third, in the NASCAR Cup standings, Martin Truex Jr. has four Top-10 finishes, two Top-5 finishes, and a win in Phoenix this year. The 40-year-old veteran has won two straight NASCAR Cup races at Martinsville including a win in this race a year ago. The New Jersey native also took the checkered flag in the 2019 First Data 500. In 30 career appearances at Martinsville, Truex Jr. has recorded 13 Top-10 finishes, seven Top-5 finishes, and two victories. Truex Jr. has six Top-10 finishes in his last seven appearances at Martinsville and that makes him my No. 2 pick to win this coming weekend.
In 22 career appearances at Martinsville, Brad Keselowski has recorded a stupendous 16 Top-10 finishes, 11 Top-5 finishes and a pair of wins in 2017 and 2019. The 37-year-old Michigan native has also recorded five consecutive Top-5 finishes at Martinsville and nine Top-5 finishes in his last 10 starts at the track. Currently, fifth in the NASCAR Cup standings, Keselowski has not finished outside the Top 10 at Martinsville since 2015. If nothing else, recent history says the 2012 NASCAR Cup champion is going to be very difficult to beat this coming weekend.