2011 Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 Vegas Odds and Predictions – Favorites and Drivers to Bet On: Short tracks generally provide some of the most unpredictable racing in the series, but that hasn’t been the case at Martinsville Speedway. The last nine races at the track have been won by just two drivers – Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Johnson has five wins and Hamlin has four wins during the stretch with Hamlin winning the last three. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t place a few wildcard bets, but you might want to handcuff your picks with a bet on Johnson and Hamlin. It seems like smart money.

The April event last season turned out to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Pre-race favorite Hamlin was on his way to making the bettors happy, dominating the action all afternoon. A late race caution changed all that, and Hamlin restarted eighth with five laps to go as other drivers opted for different pit strategies. At a track like Martinsville where passing is difficult, Hamlin’s chances of winning should have been over, but nobody told that to Hamlin. He charged through the field, passing Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth for the lead on the final lap to pick up the win.

In the fall race, Hamlin ended up in Victory Lane once again, but it was once again a bit of a surprise. After starting near the front, he fell back through the field as his No. 11 car struggled with handling issues. His crew chief Mike Ford went to work, and he got Hamlin dialed in just in time for the stretch run. Hamlin took the lead with less than 50 laps to go, and he cruised to the season sweep.

The Favorites

Six-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson has ruled the half-mile track since joining the series in 2002. He has finished in the top-10 in 17 straight starts at the track, picking up 13 top-five finishes during the stretch. Johnson’s 5.3 average finish in the best in the series, and he has finished in the top-five in 10 of his last 11 starts. Throw some money his way.

Denny Hamlin has been challenging Johnson’s reign at Martinsville in recent years. In addition to winning the last three races at the track, he has finished sixth or better in his last nine starts at the track. Hamlin has four career wins at Martinsville, and he his 6.1 average finish is second-best in the series. As he goes for the four-peat this weekend, bettors should back him.

He hasn’t won at the track since 2005, but Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven wins at the track. He hasn’t exactly been a bum at the track in recent years either. Gordon has finished in the top-10 in 15 of his last 16 starts at the track, and he has finished inside the top-five in 11 of his last 12 starts. If someone is going to snap the stranglehold of Hamlin and Johnson, Gordon is a likely candidate.

The Dark Horses

Carl Edwards has never won a race at Martinsville, and he has only finished in the top-five once in 13 career starts. That being said, there is reason for bettors to be optimistic about his chances. He has been one of the top drivers throughout the 2011 season, and he finished in the top-10 in both races last season. In fact, all four of his top-10 finishes at Martinsville have come in the last six races.

He has been hit or miss at Martinsville, but Kyle Busch definitely has some upside for bettors. His last four starts have yielded four finishes outside the top-20 as well as four fourth-place finishes. It is pretty much a coin flip whether or not Busch will be in the mix for a win or a non-factor, but he isn’t a bad guy to give the benefit of the doubt to.

Sleepers Specials

His short career in the Cup Series hasn’t brought a lot of success for are Brad Keselowski, but Martinsville just might be his best track. He has finished 10th and 12th in his two starts, and it is one of only two tracks where he has recorded a top-10 finish since joining Penske Racing. If Keselowski is going to come out of nowhere and win, Martinsville is probably going to be the track.

Last season, Joey Logano emerged as a surprising force at the flat tracks. He has finished 12th or better in three straight starts at Martinsville, and he finished second and sixth at the track in 2010. After being in the mix for a win in both starts last season, and upset win this weekend isn’t completely out of the question.

Big Names to Avoid

He has been great in 2011, but Kurt Busch has had nothing but trouble at Martinsville in recent years. He doesn’t have a single top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at the track, and he hasn’t even cracked the top-15 in his last seven starts. Bettors should wait for another week to put their money on Kurt.

It seems like once a year that David Reutimann delivers a surprise win, but don’t look for it to be this weekend. He has yet to finish in the top-15 in eight starts at Martinsville, and his 25.5 average finish at the track isn’t exactly encouraging. Bettors should save their money.

Check out the opening vegas odds to win the 2011 Goody’s Fast Relief 500 this Sunday, April 3rd at Martinsville Speedway.

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