Starting Order & Odds for Martinsville Elimination Race

Martinsville Speedway

Getty Denny Hamlin (left) and Martin Truex Jr. (right) will line up together at Martinsville.

The NASCAR Cup Series Round of Eight comes to an end on Sunday, October 31, with an elimination race at Martinsville Speedway. Seven drivers will enter with the goal of joining Kyle Larson in the championship four, but only three will achieve this goal. Here are the odds and starting order for the pivotal playoff race.

NASCAR released the lineup on Wednesday, October 27, and revealed that Larson will start the Xfinity 500 in the pole position. Teammate Chase Elliott will join him on the front row as he tries to maintain his 34-point cushion above the cutline. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. will make up the second row while Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski will line up together on the third row.

The fourth and final row of playoff drivers will feature the two men battling on the cutline. Kyle Busch holds on to the final transfer spot with a one-point advantage while Ryan Blaney sits just one point below the cutline.

The Xfinity 500 Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway will take place on Sunday, October 31, at 2 p.m. ET. NBC will provide coverage as the drivers battle over the course of 500 laps.

A New Driver Has the Best Odds To Win

As the winner of nine races in 2021, Larson has regularly had the best odds to win, regardless of track size. However, this trend has changed heading toward Martinsville. Truex is actually the favorite based on recent success at the Virginia short track.

According to the BetMGM odds, Truex will enter the playoff weekend at 4-1, the best in the Cup Series. He has three wins in the past four trips to Martinsville, including the 2021 spring race. Truex sits just ahead of Denny Hamlin (6-1), who leads all active drivers with two postseason wins at Martinsville (2009 and 2010). Chase Elliott, the man who won the Martinsville cutoff race in 2020, is third with 13-2 odds.

Larson (7-1) will enter the Martinsville weekend in a tie with Blaney for the fourth-best odds. They are just ahead of Logano (8-1) and Keselowski (8-1). Busch will round out the list of playoff drivers with 9-1 odds to win his third race at Martinsville.

The 2020 Martinsville Elimination Race Featured Last-Lap Chaos

The last time the Cup Series drivers headed to Martinsville for an elimination race — November 1, 2020 — a stunning turn of events occurred. Elliott raced his way to Victory Lane while regular-season champion Kevin Harvick wrecked and ended the night below the cutline.

The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford entered the race above the cutline with Keselowski, Hamlin, and Kansas winner Logano. Alex Bowman, Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Truex were all below the cutline. Elliott started eighth and won, which knocked Harvick out of the final transfer spot. Though Harvick made one last-ditch effort to overtake another driver.

With Elliott crossing the finish line first, Harvick needed to gain one more point to secure his own spot in the championship four. He could achieve this goal by passing Busch on the final lap, which he attempted to do by spinning out the No. 18. However, the plan backfired as Harvick also spun and slammed into the wall, destroying the rear of the No. 4.

Busch was on the receiving end of this failed pass attempt, and there is a scenario where something similar could happen again in 2021. However, the two-time Cup Series champion told Heavy that there is no guarantee based on how the points play out in the race.

“I think every situation is different. You can’t compare what happened last year to this year because you don’t know how the points are going to go down at the end of these races and who will be racing for what,” Busch said to Heavy in an email interview. “I think in the elimination format you’ve seen guys do some desperate things because that’s what the format creates at times, which creates some excitement for the fans. I think each guy is willing to do something different to get to the next round during the playoffs and also to make it to the Championship 4 and have a shot to win it at Phoenix.”

READ NEXT: The Truck Series Reveals Bonus Amounts for Remaining Races

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x