The rain-delayed Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is in the books and Kyle Busch finally won a race this season. Busch’s win did little shake up the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs heading into the final elimination race at Martinsville. And it didn’t influence oddsmakers on who will win at Martinsville. Martin Truex Jr comes in as the lone favorite at +310.
Truex has won the last two races at the famed short track in Virginia. A win this weekend will push him over the cutline and onto the list of the final for drivers racing for the Cup Series Championship next week at Phoenix.
Following behind Truex is a nice group of drivers representing all three manufactures in the Series. Chase Elliott is the lone Chevrolet driver (at +850 and below) favored to win with the rest being Toyotas and Fords.
As mentioned above, Kyle Busch won at Texas but he was eliminated from the Championship Playoffs during the last round. But the win did help move Busch back up the favorites list as he’s bunched in with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano at +850. Here are the favorites according to Intertops.
Martin Truex Jr +310
Brad Keselowski +525
Denny Hamlin +550
Chase Elliott +750
Kevin Harvick +850
Kyle Busch +850
Joey Logano +850
Championship Playoff Drivers:
Not much changed after the Texas race as the remaining eight drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs hold the same spots. Logano was locked in due to his win in this round. Martinsville is the last race in this round and four drivers will be eliminated. The remaining four will race for the Championship next week at Phoenix.
Start Time: Sunday, November 1, at 2:00 PM Eastern
2020 Xfinity 500 Picks
Kevin Harvick +850
Kevin Harvick’s lone win at Martinsville came in 2011 and it’s not considered one of his best tracks. However, this is a playoff cutoff race and only four drivers move forward. Harvick has a small advantage in points and a solid run could secure his advancement. But a win would cement it! And He’s not as bad as people say at Martinsville. Over the last ten races at the track, he’s finished in the top-ten six times.
Denny Hamlin +550
Denny Hamlin has won five times at Martinsville Speedway. Everything I said about Harvick above also applies to Hamlin – last chance of a win to move on. Hamlin has finished in the top-five 15 times and 21 times in the top-ten. He’s only had two DNFs at Martinsville out of 29 Cup Series starts.
Ryan Blaney +900
Ryan Blaney has four top-five finishes in his last six races at Martinsville. At the last Martinsville race, he finished second, and the race before that he came across the line in the fifth spot. Blaney seems to have figured something out about the Virginia racetrack.
Martin Truex Jr and Chase Elliott: I like both Martin Truex Jr and Chase Elliott at Martinsville but hiccups over the last few races have put a seed of doubt in my mind. They both need 100% perfect runs to score the win this weekend because coming back from a mistake is hard to do at Martinsville.
One Fantasy Driver
Here’s the guy I round out my fantasy team with this week – Bubba Wallace! NASCAR stats show that Darrel Wallace Jr has scored a bunch of points at Martinsville over the last two races at the track. There may not be too many passing points on the fantasy side at Martinsville, but the Wallace stats shows that he’s managed to finish stages well.
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
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
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
Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL,
SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:
·Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
·The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook
·Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian
·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
·Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of
·Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt
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
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