NASCAR Preview – Will Martinsville Spill Over to Texas?
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Martinsville proved one thing, it ain't over till it’s over! Martin Truex Jr and Joey Logano dueled over the last five laps at Martinsville last Sunday. In the last turn, the two rubbed, aka – Logano pulled off the dump and run move before Truex slid up the track. Logano won, Denny Hamlin came in second and Truex slid across the line in third.
Following the race Truex mentioned retaliation, Logano brushed it off. But, you have to wonder if any of the bad feelings from Martinsville will spill over into this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway? One thing’s for sure, oddsmakers don’t seem to think so. Logano, last week's winner, has punched his ticket to racing for the Cup Series Championship.
That’s probably why Logano (+1200) is not even in the top-five of favored drivers. They may be thinking that he’ll protect his equipment and let the seven desperate drivers left in the Playoff race battle it out. After Texas and Phoenix, four of the remaining eight eligible drivers will be cut leaving four with a chance to claim the crown in Miami. Three of those remaining eight Playoff drivers top the favorites list heading into Texas.
Martin Truex Jr
The Big Three at Texas
Harvick, Busch, and Truex have been nicknamed the “Big Three” this season due to the number of races they won during the regular season. Now, the “Big Three” are once again riding the pre-race leaderboard. And, there’s a good reason. Kyle Busch has three wins at Texas including the spring race this season. Kevin Harvick won the fall race this time last season.
And, while Truex has never won at the Fort Worth track he has posted some impressive numbers there. He has a pole, four top-five and 14 top-ten finishes. But, his best number comes from racing on 1.5-mile tracks similar to Texas. Here’s why that’s important. He’s posted 13 of his 19 Cup Series career wins on this type of track.
Now, do the math for the “Big Three” drivers on intermediate tracks in the Cup Series. Truex has 13 intermediate track checkered flags, Busch has 21 wins and Harvick tops them with 29 victories! Between the three they have won 63 times on this type of track!
Looking at Texas Trends
Two trends to examine at Texas are past race winners and wins by the manufacturer. Kyle Busch has three wins at the facility in the Cup Series while Harvick and Logano both have one. But, they are the only two drivers left in the Playoffs with wins there. Jimmie Johnson has won at the track seven times making him the winningest driver at the track in NASCAR history. But, he was eliminated from the Playoffs several races ago. That leaves Busch and Harvick as easy favorites.
Here’s how the wins by manufacturer numbers break down. These lean toward the Toyota camp over the last five races. Toyota has gone to victory lane three times in the last five races. Chevy and Ford won the other two times.
But, things begin to separate slightly if you expand the number of races to twenty. Ford has five checkered flags at Texas, Toyota has six while Chevrolet topped them with eight. If you noticed that it only adds up to nineteen winners, it’s because Dodge won a single race of those twenty.
The bigger trend to consider is wins by manufacture this season. Chevy may have outdone the other manufacturers at Texas over the last twenty races, but they’ve been hammered in 2018. Chevrolet drivers have won four races this season with Chase Elliott (+1200) accounting for three of them.
Back to Elliott, he’s one of the dark horse picks for Texas. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet has won two of the last four races and is by far the strongest Chevrolet driver in 2018.
Playoff Standings Heading into Texas
Currently, there are eight drivers still eligible for winning the Cup Series Championship. Eight drivers have been eliminated. Joey Logano is at the top of the pack with his win at Kansas during race one of Round three of the Playoffs.
Playoff Standings Following Martinsville
1. Joey Logano
In with Win
2. Kyle Busch
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Kurt Busch
6. Chase Elliott
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Aric Almirola
Drivers Eliminated from Playoffs
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Brad Keselowski
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Kyle Larson
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Alex Bowman
15. Erik Jones
16. Austin Dillon
Additional Martinsville Odds
NASCAR Weekend Viewing Guide:
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, The Xfinity Series, and The Camping World Truck Series are all racing at Texas this weekend. The ARCA Racing Series finished their season last week at Kansas.
THURSDAY, NOV. 1
• 4:05-4:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice (No TV) • 6:05-6:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice (No TV)
FRIDAY, NOV. 2
• 2-2:55 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 3:05-3:50 p.m.: NASCAR Xfinity Series first practice, NBC Sports App • 4:10 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, FS2 • 5:35-6:25 p.m.: NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice, NBC Sports App • 7 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • RACE: 8:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JAG Metals 350, FS1
SATURDAY, NOV. 3
• 12:30-1:25 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series second practice, CNBC/NBC Sports App • 1:40 p.m.: NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying, CNBC/NBC Sports App • 3-3:50 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, NBC Sports App (NBCSN joins in progress at 3:30 p.m. ET) • RACE: 4:30 p.m.: NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App
SUNDAY, NOV. 4
• 3 p.m.: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 (334 laps, 501 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App