The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 27 for the First Data 500. A win at “The Paperclip” for the remaining eight playoff drivers will guarantee a spot in the final four at Homestead for the championship.
Denny Hamlin is the horse-for-the-course play Sunday. In 27 starts at Martinsville, Hamlin has five wins, 14 top-five finishes and has led more than 1,500 laps. He has also been able to conquer three poles there in his career. Hamlin is coming off of a victory at Kansas, and over the last 15 Cup Series races, nobody has been better. Hamlin has 10 top-five finishes and three wins in the his last 15 Cup Series starts. His team is making a strong run for the Championship and he has the hot hand right now. Hamlin also showed dominance at Bristol, which means the team’s short-track program is good. Hamlin is the perfect play for Sunday, even at relatively short odds. Hamlin should be the favorite come Sunday morning, so better to jump in now.
Penske Racing has won three of the last five races at Martinsville, so we know Blaney will have the magic setup. He has seven starts at Martinsville, but only three of those have been with Penske. In those three races he has captured two top-five finishes. After a miracle win at Talladega, you have to believe this team feels like it is playing with house money. At +1200 Blaney should be in the mix all race long. He has led 145 laps at Martinsville, so he is capable of getting to the front. But can he stay there? He’s worth taking a shot.
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