The 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Series waves the green flag for the First Data 500 later today. Here are our NASCAR Predictions for today’s race.
According to the latest oddsmakers, Kyle Busch is the favorite in this race, as he has +260 odds to win. Other short odds to win are Denny Hamlin (+500), Brad Keselowski (+600) and Martin Truex Jr. (+600). The First Data 500 takes place today at 3PM ET from Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia.
Denny Hamlin has been the man to beat at Martinsville for a big part of his career. He has tallied five wins at this track and has an average finish of 10.1 with a 106.6 driver rating. Hamlin knows this track gives him the best chance at qualifying for the final Chase for the Championship, so I expect him to have a strong race today. I like Hamlin as the real favorite for this race.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.
Martin Truex Jr. hasn’t done well at Martinsville, but 2017 seems to be his year. Truex has won each of the first two stage races in this postseason and it’s not crazy to think he will do it again. He has finished in the top 7 of this race the last two years. While he is winless at this track and has a driver rating of just 75.1, this Truex is much different than the driver we have seen in past years. You won’t get him at 6/1 odds very often right now.
Jimmie Johnson has +900 odds for today and he has a tremendous history at this track as well. A 9-time winner at Martinsville, Johnson can secure his spot in the final race with a win and attempt to be the first to defend a championship in the new playoff format. Johnson has the top driver rating of Martinsville (116.9) in today’s field and his average finish there is 7.5 over 31 races. There isn’t much room for error right now for Johnson, so expect him to lock in.