Joey Logano celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
- Martin Truex Jr. leads the way as the favorite to claim a second straight Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 victory
- Brad Keselowski hunts for a third career win at this event, while Joey Logano aims to build on his recent win at the Food City Dirt Race
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Saturday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway
NASCAR returns this weekend after taking a break over the Easter holiday with the running of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Saturday. Martin Truex Jr. has emerged as a narrow +500 favorite to take home the checkered flag at this event for a second straight year.
However, the 40-year-old faces stiff competition in his bid for his second win of the 2021 season. Past winner Brad Keselowski joins Chase Elliott as a +600 bet, while Joey Logano aims to build on his recent win at Bristol as he arrives at Martinsville Speedy for Saturday night’s race sporting attractive +700 odds.
NASCAR Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Odds
|Driver||Odds to Win at DraftKings||Odds to Finish Top Three||Odds to Finish Top 10|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+500||+145||-385|
Odds as of April 8th
Martin Truex Jr. Aims to Extend Steady Run on Asphalt
NASCAR drivers return to an asphalt track for the first time in three weeks when the flag drops for Saturday night’s race at 7:30 PM EST. That’s just fine with Martin Truex Jr., who has tallied top ten finishes in each of his past four outings on asphalt, including his lone win of the season at last month’s Instacart 500 in Phoenix.
CHECKERED FLAG: @MartinTruex_Jr becomes the fifth winner of 2021 in five races!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 14, 2021
Truex will be aiming to carry that momentum into his pursuit for a second straight win at this event. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver claimed victory here last June after starting a distant 19th and has now earned the win in two of his past three appearances at Martinsville. Further bolstering his position atop the odds is his much more favorable starting position from the fourth row on Saturday night. Truex has taken full advantage of favorable starting positions this season, finishing sixth or better in three of the previous races he has started among the first five rows.
Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Recent Winners
|Year||Race Winner||Pole Position||Most Laps Led|
|2020||Martin Truex Jr. – Joe Gibbs Racing||Ryan Blaney – Team Penske||Joey Logano – Team Penske|
|2019||Brad Keselowski – Team Penske||Joey Logano – Team Penske||Brad Keselowski – Team Penske|
|2018||Clint Bowyer – Stewart-Haas Racing||Martin Truex Jr. – Furniture Row Racing||Clint Bowyer – Stewart-Haas Racing|
|2017||Brad Keselowski – Team Penske||Kyle Larson – Chip Ganassi Racing||Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2016||Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing||Joey Logano – Team Penske||Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing|
Brad Keselowski Vies for Third Career Win
Sports bettors should not sleep on Brad Keselowski in this weekend’s race. The Team Penske driver has claimed victory in two of the past four editions of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. Despite being listed in the Top 10 NASCAR Cup Series odds, the 37-year-old has struggled to produce this season.
Keselowski on the coming short tracks: “I’m pumped. When we got out of Bristol, I left with a smile on my face…Martinsville, Richmond, those are two of my best racetracks.” #NASCAR
— Geoff Magliocchetti (@GeoffJMags) April 7, 2021
Keselowski looked to have turned the corner on a middling start to the season with top-five finishes in three of four outings in late February and early March. But he has finished well out of contention in his past two outings, capped by a distant 11th-place performance at the Food City Dirt Race two weeks ago. Those results have relegated the Team Penske driver to the No. 10 spot on Saturday’s starting grid, well back of the No. 2 starting spot he occupied ahead of his two recent victories at this event.
Joey Logano Poised for Breakthrough?
That opens the door for Joey Logano, who aims to build on his victory two weeks ago on the dirt track at Bristol. That win has helped Logano earn the pole position for Saturday night’s race, marking the third time in six years he has led the pack at the start of this race. While the 31-year-old has yet to convert his strong starting position into a victory at Martinsville, he has been a consistently steady presence in past editions of this race.
— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) April 2, 2021
Logano led for 247 laps in last year’s race before settling for fourth place a year ago. But considering he has consistently knocked on the door this season, with five finishes among the top four, Logano is well-positioned for a breakthrough this weekend on the short track at Martinsville.
The Picks: Joey Logano to win (+700); Martin Truex Jr. to finish top three (+145)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.