A Rare Saturday Night NASCAR Cup Series Race Is Around The Corner
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Saturday, April 9, with the heavily-anticipated 2022 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400. It will mark the eighth race of the 2022 season and the first on the Martinsville Speedway since the Xfinity 500, which took place on October 31, 2021.
Looking at the NASCAR Cup Series odds for this weekend, the top of the field looks very tightly contested, with the usual favorites taking up the top spots. Most notably, Martin Truex Jr. leads the way following his incredible showing in Richmond. But can Truex Jr. step up again and claim his second Martinsville spring race?
In this betting preview, we will look at the main drivers you should watch out for and provide our tips and predictions on who you should bet on!
Keep An Eye On The Pain Relief 400 Favourites, Truex Jr. and Elliott
The current NASCAR Cup Series odds show Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott as the main favorites, which makes a lot of sense. Not only are they two of the best drivers in the field, but they’ve also both achieved success in Martinsville before.
Truex Jr. won this race last year and is one of the main candidates to do it again this weekend. That sounds fair, albeit we have to address the elephant in the room – Truex Jr. has yet to win a race this season.
Admittedly, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is still very young, but you would definitely feel better betting on Truex Jr. had he won at least one race. Still, that doesn’t mean he has been driving poorly. On the contrary, Truex has shown many good qualities across the opening seven runnings.
He placed 13th at Daytona and California, to which he added an eighth-place finish in Las Vegas and was 35th in Phoenix. Since then, Truex Jr. locked in three straight top-10s with an 8th-place finish in Atlanta, a 7th-place finish at COTA, and has recently claimed his first top-5 (4th) in Richmond.
Besides showing improvement, Truex Jr. is also the defending champion of this race, which he won in April 2021. Moreover, he did well in the fall race, when he claimed a fourth-place finish.
We also can’t look past his success here in the previous years. Truex also won the 2020 spring race and the 2019 fall race, meaning he has three 1st-place finishes across the last six starts – two of which came in spring. Very few drivers can compare to Truex Jr.’s form in Martinsville, but here is one driver that could cause him issues.
Chase Elliott has yet to win a spring Martinsville race, but he did win the 2020 fall race and has since added a runner-up (2021 spring) and an 18th-place finish (2021 fall). That might not look too good, but if we look at his average finish over the last few years, you will quickly see why Chase Elliott is one of the top dogs to win this weekend.
Over his last six starts, Elliott secured one victory (2021) and three top-5s, all of which came in the spring race – second in 2021, fifth in 2020, and second in 2019.
Like Truex Jr., Elliott has yet to win a race this season, but he has still tied with Ryan Blaney at the top of the NASCAR Cup Series standings, thanks to his consistency. Over the opening seven races, Elliott has snatched one top-5s and four top-10s, including 10th at Daytona, ninth in Las Vegas, and sixth in Atlanta.
Elliott has been driving well, and it’s only a matter of time before he wins his first race. Will that come this weekend?
Don’t Sleep On Blaney, Hamlin, Logano, and Busch
Usually, there are only a couple of outsiders we keep an eye on, just in case any of the favorites fails to step up, but for the 2022 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400, we have four drivers that could deliver.
Ryan Blaney came very close to locking in a top-10 here last year and should be considered a threat to win this weekend. He is the current NASCAR Cup Series leader (besides Elliott) even though he has yet to win a race, which only shows how consistent he has been over the first seven races.
Most notably, he had claimed two fourth-place finishes at Daytona and Phoenix, to which he added back-to-back top-6 finishes at COTA and Richmond. Admittedly, he has yet to win here, but he has two 11th-place finishes from 2021 and two runner-up finishes from 2020.
Denny Hamlin sits in 20th place in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, with only one top-10 finish. However, he won the Richmond race last weekend, proving that he is still a threat despite having only three top-20.
Logano is still seeking his first victory of the season, but he came close at Fontana, where he placed fifth. Since then, he has only managed two top-10s (Phoenix and Atlanta) and has a 31st and 17th-place finish from the last two. His poor form is concerning, but Logano has not finished outside of the top-10 once across his last five starts in Martinsville and has two top-5s from 2020.
Lastly, we have Kyle Busch, who sits in the 10th spot in the standings, with one top-5 and four top-10s on the season, including a ninth-place finish from Richmond. Like Logano, Busch has not achieved much this season, but he has a strong record in Martinsville.
Last year he placed 10th in the spring race and runner-up in the fall race. Moreover, he placed worse than 10th in the spring race only once across his last six starts. That stretch includes two runners-up, one third-place finish, and a win from 2016.
2022 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 Betting Prediction
With so many great drivers attending the Pain Relief 400, it’s hard to pick a winner, but after looking through all the information we have on them, it’s tough to pass on Martin Truex Jr.
There is a very good reason why he is priced as the favorite, but he is worth a bet even at the best odds. He has an impressive record on Martinsville Speedway and has been one of the most consistent drivers of the season, for which he deserves not only recognition but also a lot of respect. Very little would suggest Truex Jr. can’t win this weekend, but there is one more driver we will keep an eye on.
Admittedly, Kyle Busch has yet to show any form of consistency this season, but he has yet to disappoint at Martinsville Speedway. Besides his 19th-place finish in 2020, Busch has been phenomenal on the track, where he is always in the mix to come out ahead.
Prediction: Martin Truex Jr. to win
Prediction: Kyle Busch to win
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.