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What to Watch: Looking ahead and looking back

With the NASCAR Cup Series taking a week off, here’s a look back on the first seven races of the season and a look ahead to the next five races starting with Martinsville Speedway.

Next race for the NASCAR Cup Series

 

Martinsville

Where: Martinsville Speedway, a .526-mile oval in Martinsville, Virginia
When: Sat., April 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1
Radio: MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Looking ahead

Who do the stats favor in the next five races?

Martinsville
Defending race winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Best average finishes since 2019: Brad Keselowski (2.8), Ryan Blaney (3.2), Kurt Busch (8.0) and Martin Truex Jr. (8.0)
Active winners: Denny Hamlin (5), Brad Keselowski (2), Martin Truex Jr. (2), Kurt Busch (2), Kyle Busch (2), Kevin Harvick (1), Joey Logano (1), Chase Elliott (1) and Ryan Newman (1)

Richmond
Defending race winner: Spring race was not run due to COVID-19 pandemic; Brad Keselowski is the most recent winner here
Best average finishes since 2019: Martin Truex Jr. (1.3), Brad Keselowski (4.0), Joey Logano (5.3) and Kyle Busch (5.3)
Active winners: Kyle Busch (6), Kevin Harvick (3), Denny Hamlin (3), Brad Keselowski (2), Martin Truex Jr. (2), Kurt Busch (2), Joey Logano (2), Kyle Larson (1) and Ryan Newman (1)

Talladega
Defending race winner: Ryan Blaney
Best average finishes since 2019: Ryan Newman (9.8), Ryan Blaney (10.5), Ty Dillon (10.5) and Denny Hamlin (11.0)
Active winners: Brad Keselowski (5), Joey Logano (3), Denny Hamlin (2), Ryan Blaney (2), Kevin Harvick (1), Chase Elliott (1), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1), Kyle Busch (1) and Aric Almirola (1)

Kansas
Defending race winner: Denny Hamlin
Best average finishes since 2019: Alex Bowman (6.0), Chase Elliott (6.0), Brad Keselowski (6.5) and Kevin Harvick (7.0)
Active winners: Kevin Harvick (3), Denny Hamlin (3), Joey Logano (3), Brad Keselowski (2), Martin Truex Jr. (2), Chase Elliott (1), Kyle Busch (1) and Ryan Newman (1)

Darlington
Defending race winner: Kevin Harvick
Best average finishes since 2019: Kyle Larson (2.0; only 1 start), Kevin Harvick (2.2), Erik Jones (4.5), Brad Keselowski (8.2) and Kurt Busch (8.2)
Active winners: Kevin Harvick (3), Denny Hamlin (3), Erik Jones (1), Brad Keselowski (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1) and Kyle Busch (1)

Seven races, seven winners

James Gilbert | Getty Images
James Gilbert | Getty Images

Recap the first seven races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

• Michael McDowell earns first win in the Daytona 500 | Watch replay
• Christopher Bell wins on Daytona Road Course for first Cup win | Watch replay
• William Byron wins at Homestead-Miami | Watch replay
• Kyle Larson gets first win with Hendrick Motorsports at Las Vegas | Watch replay
• Martin Truex Jr. earns victory at Phoenix | Watch replay
• Ryan Blaney passes Kyle Larson in closing laps for win at Atlanta | Watch replay
• Joey Logano wins first race on Bristol dirt | Watch replay

We’re talking about playoffs

It’s never too early. A look ahead to the postseason.

• Betting odds for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship | See the odds
• Playoff Watch: How the postseason looks after seven races | Read more

Catch the pack

Read up on all the headlines from the week. ⬇️

Manufacturers make strides with Next Gen test at Martinsville

After ‘very good first step’ at Martinsville test, officials to evaluate rain-tire viability for short tracks

A female inspiration

Pay dirt: NASCAR industry moves the earth to make Bristol buzz a reality

Carl Edwards says there’s potential for a one-off road course return

First look: Chase Elliott’s 2021 Darlington throwback Hooters paint scheme