Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville (Cup Series) - Predictions & Odds
- Can Martinsville end the streak of different winners in the NASCAR Cup Series?
- In an odd-numbered year, Brad Keselowski hopes to join teammates in Victory Lane.
- Oddsmakers favor Martin Truex Jr. to win for the third time in four Martinsville starts.
Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Odds
|Martin Truex Jr||+500|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||+15000|
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After its first foray onto the dirt in 51 years, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to a far more familiar milieu for Saturday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The paper-clip-shaped asphalt-and-concrete track is NASCAR’s shortest at .526 miles and most venerable, having hosted races in the premier series since 1949.
Saturday night’s race, the eighth on the Cup docket this season, is scheduled for 500 laps (263 miles), with stage breaks coming after 130 and 260 laps. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending winner of this event. Reigning series champion Chase Elliott is the most recent winner at the track.
How to Watch Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
|Blue- Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Information|
|What||Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Cup Series event|
|When||Saturday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
They Call It the Streak. Can It Survive 500 Laps at Martinsville Speedway?
Seven races to start the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Seven different winners. Only twice in NASCAR’s so-called modern era (1972 to present) has a streak of different winners to start a season reached eight. In 2000, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a record run of 10 straight different winners with his victory at Richmond.
Three years later, the number of different winners reached nine straight before Kurt Busch won at Fontana, California, to end the string with his second victory of the season. And strictly by the numbers, this year’s streak should continue through Martinsville.
Why? Because seven of the 10 active short-track winners in the NASCAR Cup Series—including the five most prolific—are winless so far this season. That group includes defending Cup champion Chase Elliott (+600), Brad Keselowski (+600), Denny Hamlin (+700), Kyle Busch (+1200), Kevin Harvick (+1400), Kurt Busch (+3000) and Ryan Newman (+8000).
If any one of those drivers happens to win, the streak continues.
Brad Keselowski Needs a Victory to Keep Up with His Teammates
Ryan Blaney won on the worn-out asphalt at Atlanta. Joey Logano took the checkered flag on the dirt at Bristol. That leaves Brad Keselowski as the only Team Penske driver who has yet to taste victory in 2021.
If you’re into numerology, you can find a reason to like Kez’s chances in Saturday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. He won the first Martinsville race of the season in both 2017 and 2019. Now we’re in another odd-numbered year, and the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford likes his chances.
“I’m pumped,” Keselowski says. “When we got out of Bristol, I left with a smile on my face knowing that we had Martinsville, we had Richmond (April 18)—those are two of my best race tracks. At Martinsville, we’ve been just so solid the last few times…”
“Solid” is an understatement. In his last 10 starts at Martinsville, Keselowski has finished in the top five nine times, including the two wins. At +600, he’s not the favorite on Saturday night, but he’s a popular choice—and worth a bet at the price.
If Any Driver Can Spoil the Streak of Different Winners, It’s Martin Truex Jr.
If took Martin Truex Jr. a long time to go from zero to short-track hero. Shut out on the tracks less than a mile long for the first 13 full-time years of his NASCAR Cup Series career, Truex finally broke through with a victory at Richmond in 2019.
Apparently, the nickel had finally dropped. Later that season, Truex won again at Richmond. He added a victory at Martinsville the week after that and won again at Martinsville in the series’ first trip to the .526-mile track last year.
Truex already has a win at Phoenix this year (on a flat one-mile track), and he has been installed as the favorite for Saturday’s race, with little argument. Even at a relatively stingy +500, he’s a pretty good bet.
“For us, it’s just been really figuring out what I needed in my car and making it do the things I needed it to do,” Truex says. “We’ve been able to kind of do that here these last few trips pretty consistently. Just hope that we can make that happen again.”
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association.
Email: [email protected]