User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Goody's 500 preview

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

We've had five races and five different winners thus far into the 2011 season and the best thing of all for many NASCAR fans, Jimmie Johnson isn't one of the winners. However, we know it's coming soon and it could happen as soon as this weekend in Martinsville where he even has sicker numbers than he does for California.

However, unlike the race at Fontana, Johnson actually has a statistical equal at Martinsville in Denny Hamlin. Even though Johnson still is tops with six wins and a career average finish of 5.3 at Martinsville, Virginia native Hamlin has won the last three races in a row giving him a total of four in only 11 starts.

Advertisement

Hamlin's career average finish of 6.1 doesn't even tell his true story on the track because the number is drastically inflated by a 37th place finish in his rookie year. Outside of that race, he's gone on to finish sixth or better in nine straight races. Not even Johnson can match that run, but he comes close.

Johnson's successful run at Martinsville started in 2002, his rookie year, where he finished sixth. Since then, he's finished ninth or better in every race. That's an amazing streak of top level consistency for 17 consecutive races, which is unheard of run.

As great as a driver as Johnson is, he's still been able to avoid all the little things that plague other teams every so often; what about engine failures, tires going down, pit issues, getting tangled in other peoples’ errors? None of that seems to plague Johnson, or Hamlin, at Martinsville.

It's about as close to a lock that there is in NASCAR with these two at Martinsville which is why the odds for each will be considerably lower for this track than at the others.

However, there are some concerns with Hamlin based on last week where both he and teammate Joey Logano experienced engine problems. Logano's issue was found before the race and they made an engine change, but Hamlin's played out on the track and led to a 39th place finish dropping him four positions in season points to 21st.

"For some reason, our stuff is just struggling to keep it all together," Hamlin said after his race was finished Sunday. "I don't know why. I don't know what's changed in the off season. I think we're just having some part failures."

Chances are Martinsville will be just what the car doctor ordered for Hamlin's team to get them back in a groove. Hamlin will also have other interests to inspire him as well with the improbable VCU basketball squad from his home state making the Final Four.

If daring to wager on someone else other than Johnson or Hamlin this week, you should begin with Jeff Gordon who swept the 2003 and 2005 season at Martinsville. From 2005 to the spring race last year, Gordon finished in the top-five for 11 straight races.

Tony Stewart is one of the few to capture a Martinsville win over the last decade having done so in 2006 while racing for Joe Gibbs. He came out strong with own team in the 2009 spring race finishing third, but hasn't been able to better the run in his last three starts.

It's surprising to see that a driver like Kyle Busch has never won at Martinsville since he's been so good on the other small tracks throughout his career. In 12 career starts, Busch has a best finish of fourth which he's matched three other times.

A wild card for this race could be Dale Earnhardt Jr. who has always run well at Martinsville. But it's not his past that makes him a candidate, rather it's the present day situation that has him 12th in points after five races. Sharing garages with Jimmie Johnson this season has obviously helped change something for the No. 88 even if it's nothing more than smelling the winning aroma of five championship trophies.

Top 5 Finish Predictions:

1) #11 Denny Hamlin (4/1)
2) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (30/1)
3) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
4) #48 Jimmie Johnson (9/2)
5) #18 Kyle Busch (7/1)

  
HEADLINES
• Roberts: Irwin Tools Night Race
• Blaney nips Kyle Busch for NNS win
• Bristol spring race moved to mid-April
• Ryan Truex cleared to race at Bristol
• Roush Fenway lands Ortho as sponsor
• Hamilton tops Rosberg for pole in Spa
• Chevy wins Indy manufacturers title
• Keselowski gets 1st Truck Series win
• Hamilton, Rosberg the focus in Belgium
MORE HEADLINES
 
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!