NASCAR STP 500 Preview: Who Takes the Checkered Flag at Martinsville Speedway?

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D.S. Williamson

March 23rd, 2019

Kyle Busch continued tearing it up on the asphalt last Sunday with his second straight Monster Energy Cup victory

Kyle will enter Martinsville Speedway a massive favorite on March 24. But who can threaten to steal the checkered flag from the heavy favorite? Are their outsiders and long shots you should be parking wagers with? The short answer: Of course, there are.

NASCAR STP 500 Preview Favorites

Kyle Busch +175
Brad Keselowski +500
Martin Truex Jr. +550
Joey Logano +600
Denny Hamlin +900
Clint Bowyer +1000
Busch has won three in a row before, but this is asking a lot. It’s difficult for drivers and crews to put together two straight victories, much less three. The fact that Kyle offers odds below +200 makes him a definite play against.

This might be a good race to back Joey Logano at +600. Logano finished second to Busch at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana last week. He started fifth and led 3 laps, which doesn’t sound all that great, but Kyle dominated pretty much from the outset.

At last year’s STP 500, Logano finished a terrific sixth. He won at Vegas on March 3, finished fourth at the Daytona 500, and 10th at Phoenix on March 10. He’s in good enough form to pull off the upset win on Sunday.

NASCAR STP 500 Pick: Joey Logano

Outsiders In The Mix at NASCAR STP 500

Kevin Harvick +1400
Ryan Blaney +2000
Chase Elliott +2000
Kurt Busch +2500
Aric Almirola +2500
Jimmie Johnson +3000
Kyle Larson +4000
Kevin Harvick has yet to win a race this year. He has finished in the top 5 in most of the events, though. After an awful 26th-place finish at Daytona, Harvick finished fourth at both Atlanta and Las Vegas. He finished ninth at Phoenix before another fourth in California.

Kevin raced well enough for a fifth-place finish at the 2018 STP 500. Almost as important? Teammate Clint Bowyer won the 2018 STP, meaning Stewart-Haas Racing most likely pointed their drivers to this event when they planned out the year during NASCAR’s offseason.

It’s rare to get anything above +1000 on Kevin Harvick to win a race. The opportunity to back Harvick at +1400 is just too good to ignore. He’s the play.

NASCAR STP 500 Pick: Kevin Harvick

NASCAR STP 500 Underdogs That Can Win

Erik Jones +5000
Daniel Suarez +8000
Ryan Newman +8000
Austin Dillon +10000
Erik Jones has been in bad form in the last three races: 13th at Las Vegas, 29th at Phoenix and 19th at California. It’s hard to back Jones even though he offers excellent odds.

A driver who might be turning around his form and offers overlay odds is Daniel Suarez. It’s taking Suarez and new team Stewart-Haas Racing a while to get on the same page. They may have finally clicked last Sunday, when Suarez finished 13th at Auto Club Speedway.

If Suarez can improve some, he’ll get into the top 10. With more luck, he can break into the top 5, and if things really go his way, he can win. Is Daniel a long shot? Absolutely. But at +8000, he’s worth a look.

NASCAR STP 500 Pick: Daniel Suarez