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NOCO 400: Christopher Bell Is on a Roll as He Heads to NASCAR’s Shortest Track

Written by: Reid Spencer
Published April 14, 2023
11 min read
  • Christopher Bell is on a roll as he heads to NASCAR’s shortest track.
  • Defending winner William Byron has extra motivation at Martinsville.
  • Joey Logano needs a big rebound after his dirt track disaster at Bristol.

NOCO 400 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.


William Byron


Christopher Bell


Chase Elliott


Denny Hamlin


Kyle Larson


Martin Truex Jr. 


Ryan Blaney


Joey Logano


Kyle Busch


Ross Chastain


Alex Bowman


Our Picks for the NOCO 400

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NOCO 400 Predictions

NOCO 400 Predictions

Christopher Bell Is on a Roll as He Heads to NASCAR’s Shortest Track

Same pick. Same price. We delivered Christopher Bell as the winner of last Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at +650 via DraftKings Sportsbook and can’t find a reason not to pick the Baby-Faced Assassin at the same odds this Sunday at Martinsville.

Not only did Bell win at Bristol, but he also took over the NASCAR Cup Series lead from Ross Chastain. In eight races so far this season, Bell has posted six finishes of sixth or better.

Consider also that the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville. His cars have been consistently fast this season, and we expect that trend to continue Sunday at the .526-mile paper-clip-shaped track.

Hence, for the second straight week, Bell is our pick to win at +650 (DraftKings).

William Byron Has Reason to Be Motivated at Martinsville

The Appeals Panel giveth, and NASCAR taketh away. A week after the NASCAR Appeals Panel rescinded the points portion of penalties to Hendrick Motorsports drivers for unauthorized modifications to the louvers on its Chevrolets, NASCAR docked Hendrick drivers William Byron and Alex Bowman 60 points each for infractions involving the greenhouses of their Camaros.

The penalty knocked Byron back to 14th in the series standings. With two victories in the first eight races this season, Byron is guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs, but he needs to gain spots in the standings to earn regular-season bonus points.

Byron is the defending winner of the spring race at Martinsville, and we don’t doubt that he’ll be strong again on Sunday. After all, he’s the oddsmakers’ favorite at +600 via DraftKings.

We just think Christopher Bell will be better. 

Joey Logano Needs a Major Rebound after Disaster on Bristol Dirt

Last weekend at Bristol, Joey Logano experienced the extreme ends of the competitive spectrum.

On Saturday, he won the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race on the half-mile dirt track. On Sunday, he was involved in an early crash and finished last in the NASCAR Cup event.

In the NOCO 400, Logano hopes to break Ford’s seven-race drought at Martinsville. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has one victory at the track, but five of his 28 career poles have come at the venerable speedway.

We think Logano is likely to have the fastest Ford on Sunday. We just don’t think he’ll win the race, as tempting as his +1200 price may be (via DraftKings).

We’re also not backing Chase Elliott (+700 DraftKings), who has missed six races with a broken left tibia, the result of a snowboarding accident. We think it will be too difficult to shake off six weeks of inactivity at a heavy-braking track like Martinsville. 

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How to Watch the NOCO 400

  • What: NOCO 400 NASCAR Cup Series race
  • Where: Martinsville Speedway 
  • When: Sunday, Apr. 16, 3 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: FS1
Image for Reid Spencer


Reid Spencer

212 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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