The 35th race of the NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to be run on Sunday. It will set the Championship 4 next weekend at the Phoenix Raceway too.
But, who’s going to win Sunday’s Xfinity 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN)? My guess, someone out of the Team Penske or Joe Gibbs Racing camps.
They make the most sense to produce a winner because they took four of the top five finishing spots in the spring race last year, four of the top five in the October race to go along with a 1-2-3-4 finish back in June as well. They’ve also won six of the last seven races on the Virginia paperclip too.
Brad Keselowski has nine straight top 10 finishes in Martinsville including leading 446 of 500 laps in a dominating day in March of 2019. He’s scored a pair of third place runs the last two races on the track and has won three of his four races in 2020 on 750 horsepower tracks. He’s also had a top five in eight of those nine races as well including four straight.
Joey Logano won the Fall race in 2018 and has four top eight finishes in his last five Martinsville starts. He’s already won this round and can treat Phoenix as a glorified practice for next week’s championship in Phoenix.
Ryan Blaney can play spoiler. He has five top eight finishes in his last six Martinsville tries including four of those being in the top five itself. He was fourth and fifth respectively last year and second back in June. Also, Blaney has four top seven finishes in his last five starts on the season now too.
That’s a good group for Penske. They finished 2-3-4 this past spring under the lights.
JGR has a good group too.
Like Blaney, Kyle Busch can play spoiler. He has just two finishes outside of the top five since 2015 and finally coming off a win. That’s 12 starts. In the spring race, he’s finished first, second, second and third respectively since 2016. In the Fall race, Busch has been fifth, fifth, first, fourth and 14th respectively.
Denny Hamlin has three top five finishes in his last four starts in Martinsville. That leaves Martin Truex Jr. who started off 0-for-26 at Martinsville and has since won two straight. He has a top 10 finish in 10 of his last 12 Martinsville starts including being second, fourth, third, eighth, first and first respectively in his last six.
This is the group to beat.