NASCAR Pre Race Media: Sunday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN) Race Preview/Favorites

TRACK: Martinsville Speedway – (.526-mile oval) DISTANCE: 500 Laps – Stage 1: 130 Laps, Stage 2: 130 Laps, Final Stage: 240 Laps, 263 Miles

Starting Lineup

Favorites – Big Drivers Ones To Beat

Brad Keselowski

Hard to go against the guy who’s trending in a way to win. He’s won this race in 2017 and again in 2019…2021? Keselowski, has five consecutive top five finishes in Martinsville including nine in his last 10 starts. The worst finish in that time frame? 10th.

Joey Logano

A pair of top five finishes came at Martinsville last year to go along with five top 10’s in his last six tries. He is coming off of a win in Bristol.

Denny Hamlin

He’s had three top five results in his last five Martinsville tries including a top five in all but one race run in 2021.

Kyle Busch

Last year wasn’t great at Martinsville for Busch, but he’s had eight top fives in nine tries prior to that including two of which being wins.

Martin Truex Jr. 

He won two of the last three Martinsville races including this very one last year. He led 129 laps last Fall but didn’t win. Truex, has five top fives in his last seven tries on the Virginia paperclip.

Chase Elliott

He won last year’s Fall race en route to a Championship 4 appearance. He was also fifth in the spring race to go along with three top fives in his last four Martinsville starts.

Preview

The second ever Martinsville night race is here. This time though, it won’t take place behind closed doors. Saturday night’s race will be the first following a week off to observe Easter as well as the first race to start under the lights in primetime this season.

Sparks will fly as we’ve seen some great action on the Virginia paperclip lately with Chase Elliott winning in thrilling fashion last Fall. Will we see another wild ending on Saturday night?

We know Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing should be the teams to beat. JGR and Penske have put four cars in the top five of the finishing order in three of the last four Martinsville races and have won four of the last five and five of the last seven there overall too. Brad Keselowski has five straight top fives and nine in his last 10 tries. Ryan Blaney has four straight top fives and five of his last six. Joey Logano has four top sixes in his last six tries. Kyle Busch has eight top fives in his last 11 starts. Denny Hamlin has three in his last five. Martin Truex Jr. has five top fives in his last seven.

As you can see, if you want to win on Saturday night, you need to go through them.

  • If you want to win, you better be in the top two or three by the end of the second stage. Since we began stage racing in 2017, the eventual winner has finished either first (4 times), second (2 times) or third (once) in seven of the eight second stages. In fact, both races in 2019 and the one last Fall saw the race winner earn a stage win in the second stage. Same for the playoff race in 2018 too.
  • On top of that, the winner had a top five finish in the first stage every year too (8-for-8). That means you need to hit it off right from the get go.
  • Three of the last four winners have all come from a top five starting spot with 10 of the last 11 coming from the top 10 overall.
  • 9 different winners in the spring race in the last 10 years. Brad Keselowski (2017, 2019) only repeat winner in the last decade.

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