NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesSunday, October 28 – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Tums Fast Relief 500
Martinsville Speedway – Martinsville, VA
The NASCAR circuit moves to Virginia on Sunday afternoon to the slowest track on the circuit, Martinsville Speedway. This will be the fourth-to-last race in the Chase for the Cup. This oval-shaped short track is just 0.526 miles long with 12-degree banking on the turns, and flat equidistant straights (800 feet, or 0.15 miles, each). This track hasn’t seen many winners in the past decade, as either Jimmie Johnson (6), Denny Hamlin (4) or Jeff Gordon (4) have won 14 of the past 19 races at Martinsville.
Odds to Win Race
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||12-to-1|
|Martin Truex Jr.||20-to-1|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||75-to-1|
|Field (Any other driver)||200-to-1|
Drivers to WatchJimmie Johnson (9/2) - Sometimes you have to be chalky, but Johnson appears to be a slightly better play than race favorite Danny Hamlin. In addition to his six career wins at Martinsville, Johnson has a 5.8 career average and 14 top-5's, having not finished worse than 12th at this track since his rookie season in 2002. Johnson led for nearly 1,800 laps in this stretch. He also has four top-4 finishes in the past six races this season, and placed a respectable ninth at Kansas last week. The odds aren't outstanding, but getting 4.5 times your wager will be a nice way to close the weekend.
Kevin Harvick (16/1) - These odds are pretty unbelievable for a driver who went off at 6-to-1 last fall after having just won at this track last April in the Goody's Fast Relief 500. That was one of three top-5's in his past five starts at Martinsville. For his career, Harvick's average finish is best on short tracks (13.3) with 26% of his short-track races ending up with top-5 showings. Despite his seven-race streak of double-digit finishes, at 16-to-1 is a good enough reason to hope for another win in Martinsville.
Tony Stewart (9/1) - "Smoke" has won three times at Martinsville, including last October, marking his ninth top-5 finish at this track. He's racked up seven short-track victories in his career and has finished in the top-5 in 31% of his career short-track races. Stewart's fifth-place finish last week at Kansas was pretty impressive too, considering he started 33rd. With all the low numbers on the board, Stewart has one of the more favorable odds at 9-to-1, considerably more than the 7-to-1 odds he had when he won last year's race.
Brian Vickers (40/1) - Mark Martin's sub has flown under the radar, but he's been pretty effective this year. Other than his blown engine at Watkins Glen, Vickers has an average finish of 9.1 in his other six races. Three of these races have resulted in top-5 finishes. Vickers placed a mediocre 18th in the April race at this track, but in the spring of 2010, he nearly won in Martinsville, finishing in sixth place. At 40-to-1 darkhorse odds, Vickers is a worthy gamble.
Jeff Burton (100/1) - It was a long time ago, but Burton has won at this track way back in 1997. He also has nine other top-5's at this track and finished sixth here last fall. He's rightfully a longshot with a an average finish of 19.8 this year, but with this decent Martinsville history, put down a one-unit wager and hope he conjures up some magic.