NASCAR Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 preview
The NASCAR drivers will go short-track racing on a short turnaround from Sunday’s Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta as they head to Martinsville Speedway for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Wednesday, June 10 (7:00 p.m., FS1).
Kyle Busch, still in search of his first win in 2020, has been installed as the tepid favorite. Through 10 races last year, the 2019 Cup Series champion had already won three times. It looks like Busch can be beaten, so let’s go looking for a trio of potential upsetters.
Nascar Cup Series - Blue-Emu Max Pain Relief 500 2020 - Winner
Wed, June 10 2020, 11:20 PM
Martin Truex Jr.
Denny Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, is still serving a four-race suspension after Hamlin’s tungsten weight issue from the Coca-Cola 600, but the No. 11 Toyota driver has been doing just fine in his absence. Hamlin was second at Charlotte on May 28, and fifth at Atlanta on Sunday. He should have done much better than 17th at Bristol on May 31 after leading 131 laps, but a late spin-out sunk him.
Hamlin has five career victories at Martinsville and has hit the Top 5 in each of his last three starts there. He’ll roll off the grid 12th in this one.
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. is fresh off his best finish of the season as he took third place at Atlanta on Sunday. That was his fifth Top 5 finish over his last six races.
Truex has been on a solid run at Martinsville, amassing eight Top 10 finishes at "The Paperclip" since 2015 (10 races). That includes his dominant victory from last October when he led 464 of 500 laps. Truex will start in fifth place.
Ryan Blaney had a good run going at NASCAR’s other short track – Bristol Motor Speedway – on May 31, but an accident ended his day prematurely. That’s his only finish outside the Top 5 over his last four races.
Blaney is fifth among active drivers in average finishing position at Martinsville at 12.88 (eight races). He’s placed Top 10 in each of his last five visits there, leading 145 laps in the process. He’ll start from the pole by virtue of winning a random draw.