Sunday’s NOCO 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN) favorites, sleepers, fades and Martinsville Track Trends


  • JGR, Penske, HMS have won 16 of the last 17 Martinsville races including 3 of the last 5 belonging to HMS at that.
  • Spring race starting spots for eventual winners: 10 of the last 12 races were won via a top 10 starter (9th, 5th,1st, 22nd, 15th, 7th, 4th, 9th, 3rd,5th, 7th, 5th).
  • The front row starters have failed to win each of the last 19 Martinsville races overall.
  • The last six overall Martinsville races were won by a driver coming from 5th on back.

They’ll once again run 400 laps at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway this weekend but a shift back to a daytime event. That’s a big change from a few years ago to where Martinsville didn’t have lights ready for NASCAR as well as the distance always being 500 laps.

How much of a factor will that play?

I mean you’re truly only talking about a 53 mile differential in mileage still between the 500 lap and 400 lap events. We’ve shortened races at other tracks by 100 miles. This is basically half of that. So, will it truly change the outcome?

It may.

Since the stage era began in 2017, we’ve had 12 Martinsville races. In them, the leader at Lap 400 failed to win the race in the end 5 times. They’ve also won the race 7 times too including 7 of the last 10 overall.

Live Betting

  • The eventual race winner had a top five finish in the first stage every year minus the last two Fall races. Bell was 6th last October in Stage 1.
    • William Byron finished 2nd in both stages last spring.
  • If you want to win, you better find yourself 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 (3 times) or third (twice) in 9 of the 12 second stages. Bell was 5th last October.
  • In just 4 of the 9 short track races run last season, the driver to lead the most laps won the race in the end. William Byron failed to lead the most laps in Phoenix but won the race too last month.
  • 7 of the 12 races at Martinsville under the stage era here saw the driver to lead the most laps win the race in the end.

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 30: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)


Christopher Bell (+600)

He was a fade last year until his playoff win. Bell had three Top 8’s, two of which are Top 5’s, in four Truck Series starts at Martinsville. However, in five Cup Series starts entering last October’s race, he finished 28th, 15th, seventh, 17th and 20th respectively with nine career laps led…Then he went out and led 150 laps to take a clutch victory. Bell enters off of a win last Sunday in Bristol and has had a Top-6 finish in all but two races this year. He’s the heavy favorite for good reason.

William Byron (+600)

Byron picked up where Chase Elliott left off in last year’s spring race. He finished second in both stages and led the final 212 laps for the win. Byron also has six Top-8’s in his last seven Martinsville starts including a runner-up in the playoff race in 2019, fourth and fifth respectively in 2021 and a win in the spring race. He’s won twice already this season too including at Phoenix.

Denny Hamlin (+700)

Four of his last six Martinsville finishes have seen him come home 11th or worse (28th in the spring, 5th in the Fall). However, he’s also won here five times, swept both stages last year in the Fall race and led 203 laps in the process. Last year’s test here between the spring and Fall races could have put him back on the right path. The only concern for me is the fact that Hamlin has been cold on the season again with three finishes of 20th or worse in the last five weeks including four of the last five being outside the Top-15 at that.

Martin Truex Jr. (+800)

He’s won three of the last seven Martinsville races. The only ones that he didn’t win was the last three Fall races to where he led 129 laps in the Fall of 2020 and was fourth in 2021. Truex, has seven top-5’s in his last 11 tries on the Virginia paperclip and on a track with a tight turning radius similar to Martinsville (LA Coliseum), he won. My concern here though is, Truex hasn’t won a points paying race since 2021 (52 races) and has scored just two Top-10 finishes all season. While he had a win in his grasps in Richmond, more times than not, they’ve thrown away chances at victory during this skid.

Joey Logano (+800)

Joey Logano has scored pair of Top-5 finishes at Martinsville in 2020 and again last past spring (2nd) to go along with nine Top-10’s in his last 10 tries. He was 6th last October too. Like the two above him, my concern is that his best races were on superspeedways this season with them being his only Top-5 finishes (2nd Daytona, 1st Atlanta). He was 11th at Phoenix last month, a place he won at last November. The short track package has affected the Ford’s, which is why he’s among the favorites, but I do have doubts.

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 30: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #6 Kohler Generators Ford, and Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)


Ryan Blaney (+1100)

He’s a better fantasy play this weekend instead of an outright win bet. Maybe see if you can get him on a Top-5 finish bet instead. Yes, Blaney was fourth in the spring race, third in last year’s Fall race while also coming home runner-up in both races in 2020. He was fourth and fifth respectively in 2019. Blaney, has seven Top-5s in his last 10 tries on the Virginia paperclip overall. While he was 11th in both races in 2021, he did sweep both stages in the spring race. That’s the good. However, Blaney is winless this year. He was winless in all of last year. He was winless in the 2021 playoffs. Can he end his winless drought of 54 races?

Kyle Busch (+1400)

Busch has 13 Top-10 finishes in his last 15 at Martinsville starts including a runner-up in the Fall race of 2021. At the Coliseum, he and his RCR teammate of Austin Dillon were 2-3. Dillon was in the top five here a year ago too.

Ross Chastain (+1600)

Finished fifth and fourth respectively last year in Martinsville and has been very good at Phoenix lately too. Pretty good odds for this factor.

Alex Bowman (+2000)

These odds baffled me. Bowman has three Top-6 finishes in his last five Martinsville starts including a win in the 2021 playoff race. On the season, he’s had a top 10 in all but two races as well.

Brad Keselowski (+2200)

Keselowski has six Top-5 finishes in his last nine starts in Martinsville including 10 in his last 14 overall. He also has four Top-3’s in his last eight there too.

Aric Almirola (+4000)

He’s not had a Top-5 ever on this track, but was 20th and sixth in 2021 respectively and eighth in the spring of last year too.

Austin Dillon (+5000)

Finished third in the spring race and now has Kyle Busch as a teammate…Dillon was good in the LA Coliseum too and enters on the heels of a Top-5 last weekend in Bristol.

Austin Cindric (+5500)

He was a respectable 11th as a rookie here in the spring race in 2021. In fact, he’s had a top 11 in all but one Martinsville race since Oct. 28, 2017 on this track. That came last October (26th).

Ty Gibbs (+6000)

Won last year’s Fall race in the Xfinity Series after being eighth in the spring. He was also fourth in the 2021 Xfinity Series spring race and is driving a JGR car now in Cup too. Gibbs was 19th here with 23XI Racing last Fall. Gibbs enters having scored a Top-10 finish in each of the last four weeks.

AJ Allmendinger (+20000)

He’s a very good driver on this track in being seventh in the 2021 Xfinity Series race and third last spring.

Noah Gragson (+40000)

In nine combined Truck Series and Xfinity Series starts on this track, Gragson has eight Top-7’s including seven of the eight in the top five. He has four Top-4’s in five NXS tries at that including a win in the 2021 playoff race.

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 30: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)


Kyle Larson (+600)

Larson, has two Top-5 (5th place in 2021, 2nd last Fall) in his last 11 Martinsville tries including 11 of his 16 tries there seeing him finish outside the Top-15. I think his runner-up was more of an anomaly than the standard.

Kevin Harvick (+2000)

He’s had just two Top-5s in his last 21 Martinsville starts including 15th and 17th in 2020, ninth and 12th last year and 14th and 16th last year.

Tyler Reddick (+2800)

Not one of his stronger tracks. Reddick has finished 16th or worse in five of his six Martinsville starts with a best finish of eighth.

Daniel Suarez (+4000)

This isn’t one of his finer tracks. Suarez has been 27th or worse in six of his last seven Martinsville starts. He was 12th last Fall. Also, each of his last five finishes on the season (22nd, 29th, 27th, 23rd and 25th) have been outside the Top-20.

Chase Briscoe (+4000)

He was ninth in both races last year, but was also 27th and 22nd in 2021 and in three combined Truck Series and Xfinity Series starts on this track, he finished 11th, 19th and seventh respectively. That’s no top five finishes in his career there with 25 laps led since 2017. Do you really think he just all the sudden wins now, especially after a slow start to this season?

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