Talladega and Kansas are behind us in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and it’s time to return to short track racing at Martinsville. This is the series second trip to the track this season after Brad Keselowski won the Spring race earlier in the year. As far as odds go, not much has changed as Keselowski is still among the favorites despite not making the next round of the playoffs. But, he’s further down the odds list this week.

America's Bookie's odds to win the First Data 500 are listed below in full but here are the top-favored drivers to win outright. Make a note, they are all Toyota drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).


Kyle BUSCH5/2Toyota
Denny HAMLIN 9/2Toyota
Martin TRUEX JR 6/1Toyota


For the record, Martinsville is the first of three races in the last playoff round. Only eight drivers are still eligible to win the Cup Series Championship. Those drivers are; Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney.

Auto Racing Glance: FIRST DATA 500

Ford Dominates Last Five Martinsville Races

Trends matter! That’s why the Finest Online Sportsbooks, such as America's Bookie Sportsbook Review, start posting odds. One of those trends would have to be manufacture wins at the same track. However, there may be a different stat taken into consideration this week and that’s the average active driver rating at a track for the last five races. 

Here are the last five race winners at Martinsville.


2019Brad KeselowskiFord
2018Joey LoganoFord
2018Clint BowyerFord
2017Kyle BuschToyota
2017Brad KeselowskiFord


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing is the lone Toyota winner over the last five races. He and any Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman can’t be counted out at Martinsville.

Now, here’s the driver rating average over the last five Martinsville races. Once again, take note that Kyle Busch leads the pack.


1.Kyle Busch(193
2.Brad Keselowski(189)
3.Denny Hamlin(173)
4.Martin Truex, Jr.(164)
5.Ryan Blaney(158)
6.Joey Logano (146)
7.Clint Bowyer(145)
8.Kevin Harvick(142)
9.Chase Elliott(134)
10.Kurt Busch(116)


Predicting the First Data 500 at Martinsville

Chase Elliott once again appears on the above list as a driver that has had great runs at Martinsville. His Roval win came after driving his car head-on into a barrier wall and being forced to the back of the pack. That kind of patience, when moving from the back to the front, is needed at Martinsville. Elliott could be the shining star this weekend for Chevrolet Racing.

Denny Hamlin won the checkered flag at Kansas propelling him into the round of eight. Hamlin comes in as the third-best driver at the track over the last five Martinsville races. If he unloads strong, and his team continues to avoid mistakes that plagued them earlier in the season, then Hamlin can punch his ticket to the Championship race at Homestead.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch both have amazing driver rankings at Martinsville but those averages are short on actual wins at the short track during the last five races. Busch has one while Truex has come close. Either driver can win if they can turn long lead runs into being upfront when the checkered flag flies. Both need to avoid mistakes in the pits to keep track position. It’s been eighteen races since Busch has won a race – Martinsville could break that streak.

third-best Harvick, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney are all Ford drivers that are still in the playoff picture following Kansas. Any of the three could win at Martinsville but they’ll have to beat Brad Keselowski who is the defending Martinsville winner. He’s been booted from the playoffs which make him the perfect spoiler.

Odds for the First Data 500 at Martinsville


Kyle BUSCH5/2
Denny HAMLIN 9/2
Martin TRUEX JR 6/1
Joey LOGANO 7/1
Chase ELLIOTT 7/1
Kevin HARVICK 14/1
Ryan BLANEY 14/1
Clint BOWYER 25/1
Kyle LARSON40/1
Erik JONES40/1
Jimmie JOHNSON40/1
Kurt BUSCH40/1
Daniel SUAREZ60/1
Alex BOWMAN80/1
William BYRON80/1
Austin DILLON300/1
Ryan NEWMAN300/1
Ryan PREECE300/1
Paul MENARD300/1
Chris BUESCHER500/1
Ty DILLON2000/1
Daniel HEMRIC2000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR2000/1
Michael McDOWELL2000/1
David RAGAN2000/1
Matt TIFFT5000/1
Corey LAJOIE5000/1
Landon CASSILL5000/1
Ross CHASTAIN5000/1
FIELD (all others)1000/1



About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.

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