The NASCAR machine heads to the short track at Martinsville this coming Sunday, March 25 at 2 PM EST for the STP 500. We finally got to see a different winner last weekend at the Auto Club 400, with Martin Truex Jr. taking the checkered flag to halt a 3-race winning streak from Kevin Harvick. Running on the short track is always a different ball of wax for NASCAR drivers, though, but we still have some of the usual suspects sitting atop the betting odds list for the race this weekend. Let’s take a closer look at some of the favorites, all NASCAR Betting Picks, as we make a few race predictions as we go.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 22, 2018
What: STP 500
When: Sunday, March 25, 2018, at 2:00 PM ET
Where: Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway, Virginia, United States
Corporate sponsor: STP
First race: 1950
Distance: 263 miles (423 km)
Laps: 500 (Stage 1: 130) (Stage 2: 130) (Stage 3: 240)
Busch has made a fantastic start to the season, landing in the top 5 on 3 separate occasions, including back to back second-place finishes during that winning run by Harvick. Those performances have helped land Busch in the #2 spot in the driver standings after 5 races, and his consistency to start the season makes him a top betting option every single Sunday. Busch has landed in the top 5 in each of his last 5 races at Martinsville, so it’s easy to see why he is the clear favorite this weekend. He won here last time out, and I like him to do it again at the STP 500.
Keselowski is another driver who has yet to pick up a win this season, but who has also been in and around the front-runners in most of his 5 starts. He is currently sitting at the #4 spot in the driver standings and could move up with a solid run this weekend. He has landed in the top 10 in 9 of his 16 races at Martinsville, finishing top 5 in each of his last 4 runs there. He was the winner of this event last season, so look for him to be among the top drivers on Sunday.
Hamlin has had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Martinsville track, enjoying periods of dominance followed by stretches of poor luck. He last won here in 2015 at this very race but landed 30th and 39th at the following STP 500 events. Overall, though, he has had 5 wins in 24 attempts at Martinsville, including a stretch between 2009 and 2010 where he won 3 in a row. Given his last efforts at this race, I don’t see him winning here, but a top 10 seems feasible.
While Logano is in here as one of the favorites, it is worth noting that he has not won at Martinsville in 18 attempts, although he has logged 5 top 5 finishes during that time. He landed in the top 10 in 2 of his last 3 races here, which included a 4th place finish at the STP 500 in 2017. There are probably better options if you are looking for the outright winner, but a top 10 is not out of the question for Logano.
Martin Truex Jr.
Trues Jr. is coming into this one fresh off a win at the Auto Club 400 last Sunday, but can he go ahead and make it two in a row? He hasn’t cracked the top 15 in his last two appearances at this particular race, although he did finish 2nd the last time he raced at Martinsville. That said, he has never won at this track, so perhaps he should be skipped in favor of someone else.