In this Feb. 16, 2020 file photo Jimmie Johnson climbs into his car before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
In this Feb. 16, 2020 file photo Jimmie Johnson climbs into his car before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.|John Raoux | Associated Press
NASCAR

NASCAR Wednesday: Eckel & friends pick the Blue Emu 500 at Martinsville Speedway where Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers with 9 victories

Blue Emu 500, Martinsville Speedway, 7 pm EDT

Mark Eckel

Jimmie Johnson has been to Victory Lane 83 times in his brilliant career just not in any of his last 105 races.

Johnson, who will retire at the end of this season, has not won a race in over two years. Win No. 83 came June 4, 2017 at Dover.

Wednesday night Johnson will try to end his drought and get No. 84 at one of his favorite tracks, Martinsville, where he has nine wins and once went through a stretch of 17 consecutive top 10 finishes.

"Outside of the first two trips I came here I have been able to hit on things and make it work," Johnson told NASCAR.com. "I’ve told this story many times but it literally took me being lapped by Tony Stewart to figure out how to drive this place. Once that happened things took off and went far better for me.”

Johnson, who currently sits in 13th place in the overall standings, is not among the favorites of the bettors at 20-1, but he’ll always be a favorite of Martinsville.

After picking up their fifth win of the season The Eckel 3, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney will look for another winner Wednesday night. Here are the selections, with odds from Parx Casino.

Kyle Busch (9-2): All three of the Eckel 3 like Busch to get his first win of the season. And why not? He’s won twice at Martinsville and in his last nine races has eight top five finishes here. The past three years he was 2nd, 3rd and 3rd.

Denny Hamlin (13-2): “Tobacco Road’’ likes Hamlin’s chances for his third win of the season. And again why not? His five wins at Martinsville are topped only by Johnson.

Brad Keselowski (11-2): Keselowski won here last year and in 2017 so he knows the track. And Fords have dominated this season with six wins in the 10 races.

Martin Truex Jr. (11-2): The New Jersey native got the backing of the only non-NJ native of The Eckel 3, “Left Turn’’ Sweeney. Truex earned his first win here in last year’s second race. He’s looking for his first win of the season Wednesday night.

Longshots: Kurt Busch (25-1), Clint Bowyer (20-1)

Parx Special: On the Parx Casino site you can also bet by car manufacturer. Our picks are as follows:

Ford: Keselowski, Bowyer

Chevy: Kurt Busch

Toyota: Kyle Busch

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