Short Track Wednesday Night…maybe. Rain is in the forecast yet again for this mid-week race, but the forecast seems to be getting a little better as we get closer to green flag time. Anyway, Martinsville Speedway is the site of this race, and it’s nicknamed “The Paperclip.” We have really long, fast straightaways here and tight corners, making up a half-mile flat track. And they’re scheduled to run 500 laps on Wednesday night. It should be fun!
If you need the starting lineup for the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, click here to see it. Ryan Blaney got the pole via random draw.
Speed Report in 2020 After Atlanta
Martin Truex, Jr. had the best Green Flag Speed at Atlanta on Sunday, his second time ranking #1 in that category this season. Kevin Harvick was 2nd in speed, while Kyle Busch ranked 3rd. The average ranking for the top 5 drivers since Daytona now looks like this:
- Chase Elliott (4.3 average rank)
- Kevin Harvick (6.7 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (7.1 average rank)
- Brad Keselowski (7.2 average rank)
- Joey Logano (8.6 average rank)
You can click here to check out the Cheat Sheet on Green Flag Speed and see how every driver ranks in that category plus more.
I also put together a special post this week for the Green Flag Speed rankings at Martinsville specifically. Over the last six races at this track, the top drivers in that category are:
- Kyle Busch & Brad Keselowski (4.2 average rank)
- ***tie, see above***
- Joey Logano (5.5 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (6.2 average rank)
- Clint Bowyer & Denny Hamlin (7.5 average rank)
CLICK HERE for the full Green Flag Speed breakdown for Martinsville specifically.
DraftKings Strategy for Martinsville
Dominator points, dominator points, dominator points. There’s 500 laps scheduled for this race which means we’re looking at 125 potential FPTS in DraftKings for fastest laps, and probably around 400 potential FPTS for fastest laps. The question then becomes how many dominators you need to target in your lineup.
In a typical race at Martinsville, we see two or three laps led dominators. The exception was last year’s events because it was basically impossible to pass the leader with the package they ran. Last season, Keselowski led 89.2% of the first race while Martin Truex, Jr. led 92.8% of the second race. However, on Wednesday, we should see similar domination patterns like we had in the 2018 and 2017 races:
|Race||Lap Led Dom||Lap Led Dom 2||Lap Led Dom 3|
|2018-2||Logano (61.8%)||Kyle Busch (20.0%)||Keselowski (8.2%)|
|2018-1||Bowyer (43.0%)||Blaney (29.0%)||Hamlin (22.2%)|
|2017-2||Kyle Busch (36.4%)||Elliott (24.4%)||Keselowski (21.4%)|
|2017-1||Kyle Busch (54.8%)||Keselowski (23.2%)||Truex (8.4%)|
Fastest laps are a different story, because they’re spread out quite a bit. We typically don’t see one driver grab more than 20% of the fastest laps at Martinsville, although Truex did the last time we were here (he had 28.4%). In the first race, that Keselowski won, we saw a pretty typical breakdown, with Chase Elliott grabbing 16.4% of the fastest laps while Keselowski had 15.8%. Here’s how the four previous races shook out:
|Race||Fast Lap Dom||Fast Lap Dom 2||Fast Lap Dom 3|
|2018-2||Hamlin (15.2%)||Truex (11.6%)||Logano (10.2%)|
|2018-1||Kyle Busch (15.4%)||Bowyer (15.0%)||Hamlin (8.4%)|
|2017-2||Keselowski (21.6%)||Elliott (13.3%)||Kyle Busch (12.7%)|
|2017-1||Kyle Busch (18.2%)||Keselowski (18.0%)||Logano (9.6%)|
Taking all six races over the last three years into consideration, the drivers with the highest amount of fastest laps per race breaks down like this:
- Brad Keselowski (56.2 fastest laps per race)
- Kyle Busch (54.7 fastest laps per race)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (47.0 fastest laps per race)
- Chase Elliott (37.2 fastest laps per race)
- Denny Hamlin (34.5 fastest laps per race)
- Joey Logano (31.2 fastest laps per race)
- Clint Bowyer (25.3 fastest laps per race)
- Ryan Blaney (16.7 fastest laps per race)
- Kevin Harvick (13.3 fastest laps per race)
- Aric Almirola (13.0 fastest laps per race)
- William Byron (12.8 fastest laps per race)
All other drivers are averaging less than 10 fastest laps per race at Martinsville over the last three years.
Drivers Most Likely to Dominate
The big question for this race is how much Ryan Blaney ($8,400) is going to lead from the start. He’s shown a ton of speed at short tracks in the past, and having the pole to start on Sunday is definitely a major advantage at a track like Martinsville. If you remember back to Bristol, Blaney had one of the best cars until he spun out and everybody but Ty Dillon avoided him. Now, Bristol and Martinsville aren’t super similar, but they’re both short. Looking back at Phoenix this year, Blaney was taken out early in the race but he had one of the fastest cars that weekend in practice.
The other drivers that are most likely to dominate are the ones I’m labeling as the Chalk Drivers this week–Kyle Busch, Truex, and Keselowski. More on them below. Other outside dominators are the Stewart-Haas Racing teammates of Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer, who start 2nd and 4th, along with Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Chase Elliott.
The Chalk Drivers
DraftKings didn’t whiff on pricing this race like they have in others but they kind of messed up the dominators. Kyle Busch ($10,700), Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,300), and Brad Keselowski ($9,500) are all three top dominators here at Martinsville and can easily fit into the same lineup. That will actually be my core three for cash lineups on Wednesday night.The other chalk driver in my book is Michael McDowell ($5,200), as he’s wildly under-priced again, and allows you to afford the aforementioned trio and easily have enough room left over to make a solid lineup.
GPP / Tournament Plays I Love for the Blu-Emu Maxmium Pain Relief 500
Chase Elliott ($11,500) – Chase Elliott disappointed a lot of DraftKings players with his non-dominating performance at Atlanta last race, and that combined with his high salary for Martinsville should keep his ownership percentage a lot lower than where it should be. That’s why I love being overweight on Chase in tournaments on Wednesday night. This #9 Chevrolet is still the fastest car this season. It’s also been really solid here at Martinsville lately, with Elliott averaging the 4th-most fastest laps per race over the last six events. Chase also starts back in 11th on Wednesday night so there’s place differential potential there as well. He has finished of 2nd, 7th, 9th, and 3rd over his last six races here.
Joey Logano ($9,900) – This is probably going to be one of the more popular pivots on the board, but even so I think Logano will go lower owned than he should be on Wednesday night. The #22 Ford is rolling off the grid from 3rd when the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 goes green, and there’s a decent chance that Joey grabs the lead early on and starts racking up those dominator points. He’s led 100 or more laps in three of the last ten races at this track, including his win here in October of 2018 (he also led 309 laps in that race). Speed-wise, Logano ranks 3rd in average Green Flag Speed ranking over the last six races at Martinsville.
Clint Bowyer ($8,600) – Another guy that always has speed at this track and has a chance to be a surprise dominator is Clint Bowyer. His Green Flag Speed average ranking at Martinsville over the last six races is 5th-best in the series, and he’s averaging 25 fastest laps per race over that span. On Wednesday night, Clint will roll off the grid from 4th when the race gets going, and that in and of itself should scare off many DraftKings players from taking him. But as a pivot off of pole sitter Ryan Blaney, I really like Clint Bowyer in this race. I also think his teammate, Aric Almirola ($6,400), is worth being overweight on in GPPs.
Erik Jones ($6,500) – I’m not sure how chalky Erik Jones will be, but when you combine the fact that he’s really disappointed fantasy owners in two of the last three races along with his horrendous track record at Martinsville, there’s a good chance many will stay away in fear that another bad run by Jones will strike again. But I actually like playing him here, and it’s easy to because DraftKings underpriced him yet again for this race. Jones starts 13th on Wednesday night, which is higher than I’d like, but don’t forget he was running top 10 here last time we were at Martinsville but had a tire issue late. It’s never smart to bet against Joe Gibbs Racing at this track, and Jones will eventually get a top 10 finish here.
Martinsville DraftKings Projections Without Fastest Laps
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems. Also included are projected laps led for each driver. This doesn’t take into account fastest laps. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||5||$10,300||66.7||03.2||94||$154|
|John H. Nemechek||18||$5,500||22.4||19.8||0||$246|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||17||$6,700||16.6||22.2||0||$404|
Martinsville DraftKings Projections With Fastest Laps
The following chart is the same as the one above but does include fastest laps projections. Admittedly, I’m not great with projecting fastest laps, but might as well give it a shot.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||5||$10,300||92.2||03.2||94||51||$112|
|John H. Nemechek||18||$5,500||23.4||19.8||0||2||$235|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||17||$6,700||16.6||22.2||0||0||$404|