After the fiasco that was the Bristol Dirt Race and a week off for the Easter holiday, the drivers head to the Martinsville Speedway for the running of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
BLUE-EMU MAXIMUM PAIN RELIEF 500
What can you say about NASCAR’s attempt to run a race on a dirt track without doing any testing prior to it. What a fiasco it turned out to be once again. When will they learn to take expert advice? They could have went to Eldora Speedway to run the races and that has been proven for years and years. This is Tony Stewart’s track and it wouldn’t have taken much advertising to get fans interested in the race. Instead they had tire issues and overheating issues because they didn’t want to listen to anyone.
Anyway, let’s see what we can figure out for this Saturday night’s race at Martinsville. The shortest track on the circuit and one of the flattest tracks too. Handling means more than speed at this track and the use of the chrome horn usually comes into play. Drivers won’t be having a lot of patience with slower cars in front of them as they move them out of the way to get by.
Martin Truex Jr.: I’m picking Martin to win this week on a short flat track. He has won 2 of the last three races here and has finished in the top five in five of his last seven Martinsville starts. He also has lead almost 750 laps in his last six races here which leads all drivers over that stretch.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has nine top five finishes in his last ten Martinsville starts including two wins. His other finish in that stretch was a top ten finish. That tells me that Brad has figured out a way to get around this track and communicate with his crew chief to relay the adjustments he needs to make his car handle better as the race moves through it’s stages.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan has finished runner-up here in each of his last two starts. He has also finished in the top five in five of his last six races here. This is the type of racing Ryan enjoys. The type where you can trade a little paint with your competitors if you need to move them to get by. One of the moves that has been prevalent here for a long time.
Chase Elliott: Chase won the fall race here last year on his way to his first championship. I think he has really learned how to run on the flat tracks over the past few seasons and is one of the drivers to beat on a weekly basis no matter what type of track he is on.
Joey Logano: All of the Penske drivers run extremely well here and Joey is no exception. He has seven top ten finishes in his last nine starts including a win back in the fall of 2018. With three drivers on the same team it makes it a bit tougher to get by them all if they are running up front together. Two can do a bit of blocking to keep the leader out front.
Kyle Busch: Not that long ago, Kyle had a run of eight straight top five finishes at Martinsville which included two wins and two runner-up finishes. The last year and a half has been a struggle for this team, but they seem to be getting a bit better once again. I’m not sure if this is the right time to use Kyle or if we should give them more time and see if they can consistently run in the top ten again.
Kurt Busch: Kurt has four top ten finishes in his last five starts at this track and has actually been more consistent than his little brother lately. This is the type of track where this team has a better chance to win as they don’t need the power as much as the handling on this track. I think Kurt should come away with another top ten finish this week.
Denny Hamlin: Denny used to be very dominant here early in his career. He has won five times at Martinsville, but four of those wins came before the 2011 season. Lately he has been doing a lot of wheel hopping here and with all of the pit road speeding penalties he gets this isn’t the place to take a chance on him. A pit road penalty will put you multiple laps down and those are very hard to make up.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has had good stretches and bad stretches at this track in his career. He has never been consistent enough to say, yes, this is Kevin’s week to win. In his last ten starts he had a stretch of five straight top ten finishes and then the other five races he finished anywhere from fifteenth to twentieth. That just isn’t good enough to take a chance on him this week when you are limited in the amount of starts a driver gets during the season.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game Group B
- Kurt Busch
- Alex Bowman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Ryan Preece
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Ryan Blaney
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Busch
Dark Horse: Alex Bowman
Stay Away From: Ross Chastain
Big 18: Denny Hamlin