The first of four scheduled trips to Virginia is on Sunday, March 24th with the 71st running of the STP 500 at the Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia.
The Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The STP 500 is the first of two races here with the second one being the First Data 500 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Clint Bowyer won the race last year and this year, another loaded field is set to enter the race with several drivers who can really win the event. Let’s take a look at who the oddsmakers think are going to be the drivers to watch this weekend.
Kyle Busch is the betting favorite to win the STP 500. After winning the Ticket Guardian 500 in Arizona last March 10th, Busch kept the pace with another victory at the Auto Club 400 in California. With back to back wins in the last two weekends, no question Kyle Busch deserves to be the +162 favorite here. Busch has finished no lower than 6th place in six out of his last seven races overall and when it comes to the STP 500, he won here in 2016, finished runner-up in the previous two years and has placed at least 5th in each of his last seven appearances here at the Martinsville Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. place 8th last week at the Auto Club Speedway. The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Cup champion has five Top 10 finishes in seven races this season including three in the Top 5. Heading to this weekend, Trues has finished no worse than fourth in his last three races at the Martinsville Speedway.
2017 winner Brad Keselowski has placed at least 6th in four out of his last six appearances at the STP 500. Keselowski also loves racing at the Martinsville Speedway as he’s finished no lower than 5th in six out of his last eight races here.
Joey Logano finished next to Busch in California last weekend but while he came up short again, Logano has three Top 5 finishes already this season, including a win at the Pennzoil 400 last month in Las Vegas. It’s interesting that he’s won just once here in Martinsville Speedway but that victory came in his last race here, the First Data 500 last October 2018.
Denny Hamlin hasn’t picked up a victory since his triumph at the Daytona 500 last season but he’s surely been consistent. Hamlin is averaging a 6.8 finish in his first five races this season and is doing a good job holding his own in the Drivers Championship. Hamlin has won here thrice, the last being in 2015, with only Richard Petty, Darren Waltrip, and Rusty Wallace winning more than him. He also holds two victories at the Martinsville Speedway while racing in the Camping Truck World Series.
Here are the odds to win the 2019 STP 500. Odds were taken from bet365 as of 3/21/19:
|Martin Truex Jr.||+500|
It’s hard not to go with Kyle Busch especially if you’ve cashed out on him in the last two weeks. Here’s a guy who hasn’t slowed down since finishing second at the Daytona 500 last February. In fact, Busch’s win last weekend gave him 200 in his career and made him only the second driver after Hall of Famer Richard Petty to win that many NASCAR races.
I say go with the hot wheel here as Busch isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. I think despite having the lowest plus money among the favorites, he really has the best chance of winning this race. So yeah, I’ll roll with Kyle Busch at the STP 500 but if you want a better value pick, then consider Chase Elliott at +2200.
Elliott only has one Top 10 finish this season but I like how he’s raced at Martinsville. He’s earned three Top 10 finishes in his last four races here and is averaging a 6th place finish in his last two STP 500 races. Also, Elliott has two wins at this race track while racing in the Camping Truck World Series so he’s been showing up in Ridgeway and I like him as a dark horse pick in this race.