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Cook Out 400 Predictions: Martin Truex Jr. Seeks Rally After Richmond

Written by: Reid Spencer
Published July 28, 2023
8 min read
  • Hendrick hopes to win during company’s 40th anniversary celebration.

  • Beware the pole winner, despite the perks that go with qualifying first.

  • Despite disappointment at Richmond, Martin Truex Jr. remains confident.

Cook Out 400 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. Click odds in the table below and claim $150 in bonus bets when wagering at least $5 at DraftKings.

Driver Odds
Denny Hamlin +500
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Martin Truex Jr. +600
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Ryan Blaney +650
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Kyle Larson +700
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Christopher Bell +800
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Joey Logano +900
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William Byron +1100
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Ty Gibbs +1100
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Chase Elliott +1100
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Brad Keselowski +1700
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Tyler Reddick +2200
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Our Picks for the Cook Out 400

Cook Out 400 Predictions

Cook Out 400 Predictions

Hendrick Motorsports Hopes for Victory During 40th-Anniversary Bash

Once upon a time, Hendrick Motorsports was the dominant force at Martinsville Speedway. During one stretch from 2003 through 2009, Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson combined to win 10 of 13 races at the 0.536-mile short track.

Recently, however, the four current Hendrick drivers—Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Kyle Larson—have had to battle for supremacy with their Joe Gibbs Racing counterparts—Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, and Ty Gibbs.

Team owner Rick Hendrick is celebrating his organization’s 40th anniversary at Martinsville, where Geoff Bodine’s victory in the eighth race of 1984 kept the team from folding. All told, Hendrick drivers have won 28 races at the paper-clip-shaped track, a record for a NASCAR Cup team at a single venue.

Most likely among the Hendrick drivers to celebrate the milestone with a victory is defending winner Kyle Larson (+700 via DraftKings Sportsbook), but he’s not our first choice to take the checkered flag.

Pole Position at Martinsville Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

The No. 1 pit stall at Martinsville Speedway is by far the most advantageous. It’s the closest stall to the exit from pit road, with unobstructed egress and no danger of incurring a speeding penalty on the getaway.

Under NASCAR Cup Series rules, the driver who wins the pole position has the first pick of pit stalls, and at Martinsville, the No. 1 stall is always first choice. Drivers contend that the first pit stall is worth two or three positions on every stop.

Here’s the anomaly: If that’s the case, then why aren’t victories from the pole position at Martinsville commonplace?

Perhaps pole-winning speed on a qualifying lap doesn’t translate to long-run speed in race trim. Whatever case, the pole winner at Martinsville hasn’t been to Victory Lane since Jimmy Johnson accomplished the feat in April 2013.

Among full-time active drivers, Denny Hamlin was most recent to win from the pole when he claimed the fourth of his five Martinsville victories in 2010.

So if you’re inclined to place your bets after time trials, you might want to be wary of the driver who starts from P1.

After Richmond, Martin Truex Jr. Comes to Martinsville with a Vengeance

Last week, we gave you Denny Hamlin as the winner of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, and win he did—though it took a late-race caution, a lightning-fast pit stop, and some finagling with a controversial overtime restart for Hamlin to take the checkered flag.

A casualty of Hamlin’s success was his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Martin Truex Jr., who led 228 laps and was within a half-lap of probable victory before an accident involving Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson slowed the action on Lap 399 of 400 and forced overtime.

Truex was shuffled back to fourth at the finish, and he comes to Martinsville highly motivated. A three-time winner at the track, Truex is the most successful of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers there over the past five years.

Now that he’s mastered NASCAR’s Gen 7 car, we expect Truex to claim the grandfather clock trophy on Sunday at +600 via DraftKings Sportsbook.

How to Watch the Cook Out 400

  • What: Cook Out 400 NASCAR Cup Series Race

  • Where: Martinsville Speedway

  • When: Sunday, April 7, 3 p.m. ET

  • How to Watch: FS1

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AUTHOR

Reid Spencer

222 Articles

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]

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