Race: Goodyís Fast Relief 500 Picks
Date: Sunday October 30, 2016
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Well, thatís the end of that round, folks! It sure started and ended quickly, with Joey Logano coming out on top at Talladega. Although it wasnít Keselowski, a Penske car showed strength enough to come away with the victory. Crazy as it may seem, Brian Scott came away with an astounding 2nd place finish with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounding out the top five. Thatís the thing about Talladega. Virtually anything is possible. I feel like Daytona is even a little more of a ďdrivableĒ track. Talladega can throw a wrench in the system real fast, leaving drivers in very precarious positions. That being said, the four drivers eliminated as we head into the next round include Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, and Chase Elliott.
This weekend, we are starting out the final segment with a bang as we go from the largest track on the circuit to the smallest. Short track racing is very aggressive in a much different way that superspeedway racing is. Drivers have much more contact here throughout the entire track and can become angry very fast when guys get stuck in traffic. Thatís the one thing that you donít have too much of at the superspeedways. While guys may be surrounded by the rest of the field, most of the cars are lead lap cars or maintaining speed due to the draft. Here on the short tracks, cars are lapped fast and many times over. The leaders are constantly battling to maneuver around the ones trying to keep their Lucky Dog hope alive. Lap cars have a tendency to race two wide here, leaving the lead cars in a bad situation having to try and get around them.
So we go from the 2.666 mile superspeedway of Talladega to the 0.526 mile asphalt/concrete oval of Martinsville this weekend. The banking here is relatively flat as well with only 12 degrees of banking in the turns and no banking on either of the 800 foot straights. You can literally set Martinsville inside of Talladega multiple times over. Itís pretty crazy the difference in the track lengths. Overall, Martinsville is a place where veterans thrive. Itís a tough track to get around without leaving with a souvenir on a fender. The beauty of Martinsville is that even if a driver gets turned or hits a wall, he can almost always continue and make repairs. The damage is generally not catastrophic. With the track length being so short, the drivers really have to focus on taking care of their tires and brakes. The brakes heat up very quickly here with the guys having to really bring it down going into the turns. Simultaneously, we see a lot of tire wear due to the way these cars go around the track. Teams spend a lot of time setting up their cars just right to avoid excessive wear.
As I previously stated, the veterans will do well here. When it comes to the best of the best, there are three drivers to keep your eyes on. Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon will be racing for the lead. Johnson is second to only Jeff Gordon for the most wins at this track, boasting an impressive eight. Jeffís nine wins are very impressive. Hamlin has five wins here. When it comes down to it, though, I think that Johnson will edge out both of them. He has been much improved in the last part of the season and this is absolutely one of his best tracks. Other guys to keep your eyes on include Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch. Letís take a look at your potential winners heading into Martinsville:
My Pick to Win: Jimmie Johnson. Bet YOUR pick to win using your credit card and take advantage of a HUGE 50% bonus at one of the web's best auto racing websites: MyBookie.
Middle of the Road Pick: Jamie McMurray
Dark Horse Prediction: Jeff Gordon
Gordon is a no-brainer. With his record here, heís got just as good a shot as anyone. He hasnít been in a car consistently this season, but this track will likely be like riding a bike to him. It will all come back. Jamie McMurray is another driver who actually does very well here and at Richmond. Heís got a knack for these Virginia short tracks. Although heís not a Chase contender, I think heíll put up a good fight when itís all said and done.
Here are your current top 8 after last week's race:
1. Joey Logano
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Carl Edwards
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kurt Busch
8. Kyle Busch
These drivers only have 2 races to go until the finale at Homestead where the top 4 will compete for the Championship. This race is critical for not only a win but also for those coveted points to maintain one of the top four positions. Martinsville will prove to be challenging, but also very fun to watch. Watch early and see how these qualify, too. A solid starting position is absolutely essential here. If you think about the track, drivers can be half a lap down from the beginning if they start in the back of the pack. They will get lapped fast. Stay tuned this weekend for an awesome weekend of short track racing at Martinsville Speedway! Find the largest array of NASCAR wagering options at 5Dimes.
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