The playoff standings didn't change that much at Kansas.
Sunday's race won by Kyle Larson has been viewed by many as some sort of playoff shakeup because so many playoff drivers had issues during the race. But here's the thing, since so many playoff drivers had issues during the race the standings didn't change all that much.
Consider this. The drivers in sixth, seventh and eighth entering Sunday's race were still the same three drivers in sixth, seventh and eighth after the race. The only movement there was a swap of sixth and seventh between Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr.
The only driver that moved into the top four after Sunday's race was Chase Elliott. He vaulted from fifth to second after he finished second to Larson and swapped spots with Ryan Blaney. Blaney's crash dropped him to fifth, a point outside the top four.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, the drivers who entered Kansas third and fourth in the standings, stayed in those two positions.
Of course, the points gaps throughout the field changed on Sunday. That was bound to happen. But there was far less movement in the standings than you may have initially believed.
Here's what the standings look like heading into Martinsville (2 p.m. ET, NBC). Remember, the top four drivers in the standings move on to race for the title at Phoenix on Nov. 7. Any playoff driver not-named Kyle Larson will secure his spot in the title race with a win on Sunday. Since Larson has already clinched his spot thanks to wins at Texas and Kansas, three drivers will join him in the final four.
Points standings entering Martinsville
1. Kyle Larson (Two wins)
2. Chase Elliott, 4,107 points
3. Denny Hamlin, 4,105
4. Kyle Busch, 4,074
5. Ryan Blaney, 4,073
6. Martin Truex Jr., 4,071
7. Brad Keselowski, 4,068
8. Joey Logano, 4,048
Larson enters the Martinsville race at +700 to win. That's pretty high for him. You may see this as your opportunity to bet Larson at a good return or take a flier on someone else given Larson's history at Martinsville. Here's what you need to know to bet on the race. All odds are from BetMGM.
Martin Truex Jr. (+400)
Denny Hamlin (+600)
Chase Elliott (+650)
Kyle Larson (+700)
Ryan Blaney (+700)
Truex has won three of the last four races at Martinsville. His win earlier this season came after he led just 20 laps; he had led over 120 laps in each of the previous three races. Hamlin leads all active drivers with five wins at Martinsville and has 22 top-10 finishes in 31 starts. Elliott won this race a year ago and has seven top-10 finishes in 12 starts. Larson’s odds are high (for him) because of his lack of Martinsville success. He did finish fifth earlier this year in his first race at the track for Hendrick Motorsports. Blaney has the second-best average finish of any active driver (10.7) despite no wins in 11 starts.
Good mid-tier value
Kyle Busch (+900)
William Byron (+1400)
Busch has won twice at Martinsville in 32 starts and has 16 top-five finishes. That’s a pretty good rate and another top five should get him into the final four. Byron has just three top-10 finishes in seven starts, but there’s not much else here in the middle tier to pick from.
Don't bet this driver
Kevin Harvick (+2500)
Harvick’s lone Martinsville win came in 2011. Since then he’s been decent at the track but not great. And he hasn’t led a lap at the half-mile since the spring race in 2016.
Looking for a long shot?
Tyler Reddick (+6600)
Reddick’s on a roll and there’s no one else with the track record or the odds to make this a viable pick. So he’s the guy.