Martinsville Speedway might be a short racetrack, but the STP 500 will definitely be long on contenders.
There should also be no lack of drama. Last year Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch dueled for the final 60 laps before Keselowski took the checkered flag.
Busch, however, is getting the slight nod as a favorite for Sunday. He is 15/4 at sportsbook.ag, while Keselowski is second at 9/2. Denny Hamlin is third at 11/2. Chase Elliott and Joey Logano follow at 7/1.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has Busch at 3/1 and Kewelowski at 5/1. Hamlin and Lagano are at 6/1.
The past performance there and his finishes this year are the reason Busch is the top pick. He has five consecutive finishes at Martinsville, and this season has two seconds and a third.
�We�ve run well the last two years especially at Martinsville and we�re definitely pumped about getting back there,” said Kyle Busch. �I�m hoping we can have a really good car there again this time around, like we did the last two years, especially. We led a lot of laps and we were really fast.�
Hamlin, Logano Looking for Win
Hamlin, Busch�s teammate, has had five victories at this layout, the last one in 2015. He has had three finishes at fourth or better, and has led 81 laps in those three races. He just hasn�t been able to hold on for a victory.
�We�ve had a strong start to the season, we�re just still searching for that little bit of speed we need to really contend for a win,� he said. �Obviously, Martinsville is a place where I know I can be successful, so I�m looking forward to getting back there.�
Another driver who could win is Lagano. He has won the pole four of the last six races there and since 2014 has four top 5 finishes.
Keselowski Eyes Repeat
The 34-year-old�Keselowski has two top 5 finishes, including a fourth place at last week�s Auto Club 400, and believes this race favors many entrants, not just three or four as in weeks past.
�When you are at such a small track and the air is flowing over the car much slower, aerodynamics don�t mean as much,� he said. �That doesn�t mean they don�t mean anything. You definitely need the air to cool the brakes and all those things, but they don�t mean nearly as much. I think that puts the car more in the driver�s hands and more in the crew chief�s hands.�
Another unique characteristic of the venue is there is a lot of contact.
�There�s a lot of rubbing, there�s a lot of beating up against other cars,� he said. �That can be really tough. For one for the car to hold up and also for the driver to hold up mentally.�