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XFinity 500 Preview Article

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
XFinity 500 Preview and Best Bet

NASCAR Cup Series: XFinity 500
Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET (NBC) at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia

Playoff Update

Sunday's upcoming race follows the second race of the Round of 8.

You have to give Kyle Larson credit. Despite already clinching his spot in the Championship Four by winning the first race of the Round of 8, he went ahead and won the second race, too.

Larson's win brought him nothing concrete because his place in the Championship Four is officially irrevocable. But he stayed hot. This is, indeed, just the time of year where drivers want to find their strongest racing form.

This being said, there are seven drivers left who remain in playoff contention.

I recommend focusing on these seven drivers as candidates to invest in, although Larson is clearly someone still worth considering as is Kevin Harvick who, despite having been eliminated, continues to show top-level racing form.

So, in total, there are nine drivers who are most worth looking at to invest in.

The standings are close: the four drivers who, if things remain the same, will be eliminated based on point total are Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano.

Based on his point total, Logano appears the most desperate. But desperation can lead to catastrophic results in a NASCAR race. Available incentive should give him and the other six playoff contenders every motivation to perform as well as possible in Sunday's race.

Race Info

For this race, drivers must complete a total of 500 laps

As has nearly always been the case this season, there will be three stages for this race.

Stage 1 requires drivers to complete 130 laps. Stage 2 consists in the next 130 laps. Stage 3 consists in 240 laps.

An entry list gets published at the start of every week for the next race, So, barring any unexpected circumstances, we already know which drivers will participate in this race.

As for the starting lineup, that gets published every Wednesday morning for the week's upcoming race.

Because drivers are already quite familiar with the racetrack at Martinsville, there is zero need for qualifying or practice to take place.

Instead, NASCAR's predetermined formula will continue to establish which driver starts in which position.

Track Info

Martinsville Speedway is known for a couple things, one being its surface -- or rather surfaces.

It is an oval track with asphalt on the straightaways and concrete on the turns.

No other NASCAR track has this cool combination.

Martinsville Speedway is also known for being the shortest track in NASCAR's Cup Series.

Each lap at this track is .526 miles long.

So in completing 500 laps, drivers will have accumulated 263 miles.

There is a minimal degree of banking at this track. The four turns are banked at 12 degrees while the straights aren't banked at all.

Driver To Avoid

I recommend avoiding any positive investment in Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch's most recent performance -- he finished 28th at Kansas -- may be a sign of things to come given his recent history at Martinsville.

In his last four races at Martinsville, he finished 14th, 19th, ninth, and 10th.

During this awful stretch of races here, he led all of five laps.

My Guy

I like Ryan Blaney, who has one of the best driver ratings at this track in recent history.

It is true that Martin Truex Jr. has the best driver rating here recently, but he is paired up with Kyle Larson in match-up betting and Larson is simply too scary to against.

Blaney, though, is matched up with Kyle Busch.

Unlike Kyle Busch, Blaney owns a strong history at this track that, in view of his recent races run here, one can hardly quibble over.

Blaney has finished top-five in four of his last five races here.

He promises to bounce back from an 11th-placed finish in his last try here where he led 157 laps.

Best Bet: Blaney ahead of Kyle Busch at -145 with Bovada
 

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