Breaking down the field and drivers to monitor ahead of Sunday’s playoff elimination race at the Martinsville Speedway with our NASCAR power rankings and picks for the Xfinity 500.
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season's penultimate race runs at Martinsville Speedway Sunday. Three spots are still up for grabs in the Championship 4 as the playoffs visit ‘The Paperclip’ for the annual running of the Xfinity 500. As one of the shortest and flattest NASCAR tracks, races at Martinsville always deliver plenty of beatin’ and bangin’.
From a handicapping standpoint, be aware that NASCAR made several changes to the Next Gen Car package and tires after it was so difficult for drivers to execute passes in the spring Martinsville race. While past driver stats and long-term trends are worth considering, the cars could drive very differently compared to even the most recent race at Martinsville.
As far as the track itself, Martinsville Speedway is both flat and short. The straightaways are asphalt and the turns have a concrete surface. Because of the track’s flat nature, braking and control are paramount to succeed in the corners. Like any short NASCAR track race, track position is extremely important. Bettors should account for qualifying results and where drivers start the race when making their NASCAR betting picks.
Xfinity 500 Betting Odds
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1800||+1400||+1700|
Xfinity 500 NASCAR Power Rankings
10. Chase Briscoe (+1200 via DraftKings)
Statistically speaking, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to believe in Chase Briscoe this weekend. However, with the No. 14 team needing to win to make the Championship 4, it’ll be all hands on deck. Briscoe did finish ninth at Martinsville this past spring and will have coveted track position from the drop of the green flag Sunday after qualifying on the second row.
9. Ross Chastain (+1800 via DraftKings)
Ross Chastain comes into the Xfinity 500 with the best situation as far as points are concerned to make the Championship 4. The No. 1 car finished fifth in the spring race at ‘The Paperclip’ and qualified on the fifth row for Sunday’s event. Chastain doesn’t have great historical stats here, but he's in vastly superior equipment this season compared to previous years.
8. Brad Keselowski (+2000 via BetMGM)
Only two races remain for Brad Keselowski to extend his 11-year streak with at least one win. The veteran has a win and five top-4 finishes in his last seven starts at Martinsville. He also owns the fifth-best average finish (10.3) among active drivers in 20 short-track races dating back to the start of 2019. Keselowski will start on the third row after a strong qualifying run.
7. Martin Truex Jr. (+1800 via DraftKings)
When it comes to short tracks like Martinsville, Martin Truex Jr. is always a threat to win. He has three wins in six races here dating back to the Fall of 2019. A 6.8 average finish in his last 10 starts leads all drivers over that span. Truex’s success at short tracks extends beyond Martinsville. He's won six of 20 short-track races run in the Cup Series dating back to 2019.
6. Kevin Harvick (+2000 via DraftKings)
Kevin Harvick’s consistency at Martinsville is hard to ignore. In his last 10 starts here, Harvick averaged a 10th-place finish and has never finished worse than 17th. A 10.5 average finish in 20 short-track races since the start of 2019 ranks sixth among active drivers. The No. 4 car also showed plenty of speed in qualifying and will start Sunday’s race on the fourth row.
5. William Byron (+1000 via BetMGM)
The winner of the spring race at Martinsville, William Byron comes into the Xfinity 500 only five points above the cutline to make the Championship 4. Considering Byron’s success rate at ‘The Paperclip’ throughout his young Cup Series career, one has to believe he'll be a factor on Sunday. The No. 24 team now has four top-5s and a fifth top-10 finish in the last six races here.
4. Kyle Larson (+750 via BetMGM)
After dominating last weekend’s race at Homestead, Kyle Larson qualified on the pole for the Xfinity 500. Martinsville isn’t necessarily known as one of Larson’s strong tracks as he has only two top-10 finishes in his last eight starts. However, with the No. 5 car still in the running for the owner’s championship, bettors are really forced to go against Larson at their own peril.
3. Denny Hamlin (+750 via FanDuel)
The first driver out of the Championship 4 on points entering the weekend is Denny Hamlin. Based on his history at Martinsville and short tracks in general, he should be a contender on Sunday. The No. 11 car has been a top-5 finisher in three of the last seven races. Hamlin also owns two wins and 11 top-5 finishes in 20 short-track races since the start of 2019.
2. Chase Elliott (+550 via DraftKings)
After struggling at both Las Vegas and Homestead, Chase Elliott has work to do to make the Championship 4. Fortunately for the No. 9 team, Martinsville is a track where they've excelled recently. Elliott won the Xfinity 500 back in 2020 and has four top-5 finishes in his last seven starts here. An average driver rating of 117.3 over that same span leads all drivers.
1. Ryan Blaney (+650 via FanDuel)
Coming into the Xfinity 500, Ryan Blaney finds himself 18 points below the cutline. It’s tough to have better stats at a track where a driver has never won in his career than what Blaney has at Martinsville. In his last seven starts, he's been runner-up twice and finished top-5 on five occasions. After qualifying on the second row, the No. 12 car will have excellent track position right away as Blaney takes another stab at capturing his first win of the 2022 season.
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Xfinity 500 power rankings and picks made 10/29/2022 at 4:33 p.m. ET.