Blog: Bum odds for Martinsville

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Steve Kim

Something magical happened at Martinsville in 2010. In fact, it was a near miracle. With seven laps to go, Denny Hamlin’s car pitted to change four tires, there by giving up the lead and falling to the ninth spot. From there Hamlin willed his way to fourth, later third. Then when Matt Kenseth, who was just ahead of Hamlin, made an ill fated move, the cars parted in front of Hamlin, who blitzed ahead for the win. That was his second consecutive win at the track.

Could this miracle happen again? Unlikely. Could Hamlin win at Martinsville? Possibly. He has four wins there. Does he deserve 4 to 1 odds? That’s the level the published odds indicated.

I say no way.

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

After adjusting, the published odds embed 13.7% chance for Hamlin to win. That is ahead of the six time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson (12.4%). That also trumps Tony Stewart (9.8%). He’s way ahead of last year’s winner Kevin Harvick (6.2%). I don’t think Hamlin should be ahead of these guys.

In addition, more than 50% of expected win probability is concentrated into the top five racers. So it’s five on 38. As part of that 38, you get some very good racers like Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Casey Kahne, Dale Jr., and Matt Kenseth. The year to date points leader Greg Biffle is also part of the 38. My preference is to take the 38 drivers rather than the top five.

The table below shows the expected win probability embedded in the published odds for Martinsville.

Driver % Win
Denny Hamlin 13.7%
Jimmie Johnson 12.4%
Kyle Busch 9.8%
Tony Stewart 9.8%
Jeff Gordon 8.5%
Kevin Harvick 6.2%
Carl Edwards 4.3%
Dale Earnhardt Jr 4.3%
Kasey Kahne 3.3%
Brad Keselowski 3.3%
Ryan Newman 2.6%
Clint Bowyer 2.6%
Jeff Burton 2.2%
Jamie McMurray 2.2%
Martin Truex Jr 1.7%
Greg Biffle 1.7%
Matt Kenseth 1.7%
AJ Allmendinger 1.7%
Joey Logano 1.3%
Juan Pablo Montoya 1.3%
Aric Almirola 0.7%
Brian Vickers 0.7%
Paul Menard 0.7%
Kurt Busch 0.7%
Marcos Ambrose 0.7%
David Gilliland 0.2%
Bobby Labonte 0.2%
David Ragan 0.2%
Regan Smith 0.2%
Other Drivers 1.3%

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags busch, featured, hamilin, johnson, steve kim, stewart