The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway is set for today (Saturday) April 10th at 7:30 PM. Tune in on Fox Sports 1, MRN radio, or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 to catch the race.
NASCAR begins its long stretch of consecutive weekend races beginning with Martinsville, which is known as “The Paperclip” for its elongated road course shape. It’s the shortest track on the schedule too - by a little over half of a mile - and also the oldest, with the first NASCAR race held there in 1949.
Braking is always an issue at Martinsville Speedway as well, as drivers must dramatically slow down to navigate the track's tight, low-banked turns. Regardless of whether weather again delays another NASCAR race, The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 is sure to be 500 laps of exciting, tight, bumper-to-bumper racing. For breaking down the best betting value for this race, we'll look at 2020 data specifically, which would be the most relevant due to the car packages being the same this year. In 2019, NASCAR had a different setup and it was extremely difficult to pass. Now let's get into the action!
Drivers to Look Out For
Martin Truex Jr (+450 FanDuel) - Martin Truex Jr won the “spring” (June) race last year, completing 50% of his laps inside the top 5 and 72% inside the top 10. After he took the lead on lap 370, no one could complete a pass on him as he was the strongest car in the field. In the fall race Truex also ran 79% of his laps inside the top 5 and was very dominant. With 40 laps remaining and Truex sitting in 2nd place, he had a loose wheel and had to pit under green, ultimately finishing 22nd. He has a win under this belt already this year, but another win would certainly have him sitting nice in the Cup Series points standings.
Ryan Blaney (+700 FanDuel) - Ryan Blaney finished in 2nd place in both of his recent trips to Martinsville, but what's more impressive though is that during the first Martinsville race Blaney started 2nd, went a lap down and was still able to drive back up through the field to have a top 3 finish. He has a good feel for this track and runs well here. Maybe the #12 Penske Ford can visit victory lane again come Saturday night.
Chase Elliott (+600 FanDuel) - If there was a time for Chase Elliott to get his first win, then Martinsville presents a great opportunity. Elliott finished 5th at the first Martinsville race, running 100% of his laps inside the top 10 (impressive) and 71% of his laps inside the top 5. In the fall race he took home the checkered flag and when Martin Truex Jr had the tire issues, Elliott was there to take the lead. Even before taking the lead, he ran 99% of his laps inside the top 10 and 90% of his laps inside the top 5. This might be the place for the reigning champ to get his first victory of 2021, and +600 odds certainly present value.
Best Value Bets
Ryan Blaney Top 5 Finish (Yes +115 DraftKings) - Can’t pass this up if we're getting him plus money. I’m not worried if the race gets rained out and pushed to Sunday afternoon. Blaney has shown that he can run well day or night. Be patient here. His team might play the long game and have the car set up accordingly.
Kyle Busch (-112 FanDuel) vs. Kyle Larson - This isn't an intermediate track that Kyle Larson is usually comfortable with. He has struggled in the past with tis type of track, which doesn't meet his style of racing. Yes, he's in a Hendrick car, and that should have a positive effect, but I don’t see it being enough here. Kyle Busch, however, is experienced on this track and has had success at this track. No practice is bad for Busch, but long races typically give him enough time to figure everything out. Busch finished 19th at the first race, but that was when he was still figuring out how to race without practices. Fast forward to the fall race, and he finished 9th there. He also ran 89% of his laps inside the top 10 and 19% inside the top 5. Busch is a solid top 10 finisher, and that should be enough to beat out Larson on Saturday evening.
Kurt Busch Top 10 Finish (+115 DraftKings) - The elder Busch brother is the veteran of the veteran's group in NASCAR. His first full year was back in 2001, and he's the last active driver to race in the Daytona 500 where Dale Earnhardt Sr. died. The number of laps that Kurt Busch has turned at Martinsville is amazing. The only question is, though, does he still have it? In both Martinsville races last year he finished inside the top 10 (7th, 9th), and in the spring race he ran 79% of his laps inside the top 10. In the fall race 85%. He’s not going to be flashy out there, but he'll have the car where it needs to be towards the end.