Picks for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 – Truck Series (2022)
Two weeks ago, I was feeling good about my Truck Series pick. Kyle Busch dominated COTA and was on his way to victory. That was until a late-race incident dropped him out of the lead. That cleared the way for my longshot, Zane Smith, to win.
The Truck Series always brings exciting action. We should see the same as they head to Martinsville. This will be the first short track race of 2022 for the Truck Series.
Take a look at my top picks for Truck Series action at Martinsville.
Kyle Busch (-125)
Kyle Busch will make his third Truck Series start of 2022. He was my top pick in the first two races but came up just short.
The debate about picking someone like Busch is his value. He doesn’t present any value in the Truck Series race, but he’s miles ahead of the competition. Eventually, he’s going to win in the Truck Series in 2022.
I don’t think there’s a track that hasn’t brought him Truck Series success. The majority of his Martinsville starts came in the 2000s, so let’s focus on his last two starts.
|Finishing Position||Laps Led (of 250)|
Busch didn’t have an issue in his last two starts at Martinsville. He dominated both races, leading a combined 297 laps en route to his victories. Both races came with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
This will mark his first Truck Series start at Martinsville since his 2019 victory. However, I wouldn’t let that stop you. COTA marked his first-ever road course race in the Truck Series, and he dominated that race.
It wouldn’t surprise me if he dominated another race. The only thing that matters is that he leads the final lap.
Zane Smith (+1000)
John Hunter Nemechek entered the 2022 season as the favorite to win the Truck Series Championship. I think the top NASCAR betting sites need to adjust their odds because Zane Smith has become the driver to beat.
Smith hasn’t led many laps in 2022, but his finishes are all that matters. Needless to say, they’ve been impressive.
- Daytona: 1st
- Las Vegas: 36th
- Atlanta: 5th
- COTA: 1st
Smith crossed the finish line second at Las Vegas. However, NASCAR credited him with a 36th-place finish after failing post-race inspection. That’s the only reason Smith isn’t the points leader.
The move to Front Row Motorsports has been amazing for Smith. This week, he’ll head to arguably his best track.
He only has two starts at Martinsville in the Truck Series, but they yielded great numbers. He led 20 laps, scoring a third-place finish in the 2020 race. Last season, he scored his only victory of the season at Martinsville. Todd Gilliland led a race-high 133 laps, which is important because that’s the truck Smith will drive.
It has been a near-perfect start to the 2022 season for Smith. He can keep it going with a victory at Martinsville.
Chandler Smith (+1200)
Chandler Smith hasn’t received much attention this season, but the 19-year-old has emerged as a championship contender.
Smith closed the 2021 season by winning two of the last five races. He was in the big wreck of the final lap at Daytona, but he has been in contention in the previous three races.
- Las Vegas: 1st
- Atlanta: 4th
- COTA: 5th
He passed Zane Smith on the final lap to win at Las Vegas. Smith had the best truck in a race that featured Kyle Busch. Now there was some controversy surrounding Smith at Atlanta.
Smith led the race on the final lap, with his teammate, Corey Heim, in second. John Hunter Nemechek was third in line, but he was a lap down. Nemechek opted to push Heim to the win in a move that didn’t sit well with Smith.
Last year, Smith made his only career Truck Series start at Martinsville. He failed to crack the top 10 in either stage but came alive late to score a fourth-place finish.
His 2022 success shows that he is a threat to win on any track. I’d keep my eye on him at Martinsville.
Matt Crafton (+2800)
Matt Crafton is in the midst of potentially the worst season of his Truck Series career. The three-time Truck Series Champion only has one top 10 finish in four starts. He also only has one lap led.
It’s risky to select a driver like this for any race, but I like the value for Crafton at Martinsville.
Crafton has been successful in his career at Martinsville. He has two wins, 11 top-five finishes, and 22 top 10 finishes in 38 starts. Those are great numbers, but they mostly came in his prime. Instead, let’s focus on his last two finishes.
- 2020: 5th
- 2021: 5th
I wanted to show those performances because his downfall began in 2020. Still, he managed to score a pair of top-five finishes at Martinsville. And those finishes weren’t flukes. Crafton finished top-five in the four stages across the two races. He had the speed to compete for the win.
It’ll be interesting to see which driver shows up for this week’s race. I’m hoping we’ll see the one that scored back-to-back top-five finishes. Ultimately, his value means you don’t have to place a big wager on Crafton.
Who Will Win the 2022 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200?
This might be a surprise, but I’m not going with Kyle Busch in the Truck Series. Instead, I’m picking Zane Smith to capture his third victory of 2022.
Smith has been amazing this season, scoring two wins in four races. His success at Martinsville and value gives him the edge over Busch. I’m backing Smith to take down Busch and the field at Martinsville.
Make sure you note this week’s Truck Series race is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on FS1. Feel free to visit Bovada to wager on the NASCAR Truck Series.