Well, one good thing about a race being postponed for three days due to weather is we turn around and have another one right away. This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series will be at Martinsville Speedway for the Xfinity 500 and the final race of Round 3 of the Playoffs. In other words, this could get interesting. Technically the only driver locked into the Championship Race heading into Sunday is Joey Logano, and the only way to ensure a berth is to get a win at “The Paperclip.” Martinsville is a half-mile flat track, and that small length means a couple of things: one, we will likely see some advertently or inadvertently wreck someone else, and two, one mistake can ruin an entire team’s day because laps go by here in a hurry.
Tire-wise, Goodyear is bringing the D-4948/D-4950 combo this weekend, which are the same tires that were ran here at Martinsville back in the June race. One thing to note is that that was a night race while Sunday’s event is scheduled for an afternoon start. As far as the tires, these two races are the only time this season that this combination has been used, and neither has been used at any other track in 2020 on a singular basis either.
Brad Keselowski is on the pole for Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, and if you need to see the full starting lineup for the Xfinity 500, you can do so by clicking here. Now let’s gooo!!!!
Speed Report in 2020 After Texas 2
Kyle Busch ended up in victory lane at Texas on Wednesday night, but according to Green Flag Speed during that race, it should’ve been Martin Truex, Jr. That is the fourth time this season that Truex has had the best Green Flag Speed during a race.
Over the last six races here are the fastest drivers in terms of Green Flag Speed:
- Kevin Harvick (3.3 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (5.2 average rank)
- Alex Bowman (5.7 average rank)
- Kyle Busch (6.8 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (6.8 average rank)
You can click here to check out the updated Cheat Sheet on Green Flag Speed and see how every driver ranks in that category plus more, not only for the last six races but for the whole season.
When you just isolate the shorter flat track races from this season, the top drivers in Green Flag Speed look like this:
- Joey Logano (3.3 average rank)
- Kevin Harvick (4.0 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (4.8 average rank)
- Brad Keselowski (5.0 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (5.3 average rank)
DraftKings Strategy for the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville
Dominators, dominators, dominators. Of course it’s the story of the week here at Martinsville because we have FIVE HUNDRED LAPS to run on Sunday. It’s extremely unlikely that you will have a good DraftKings lineup without having at least one dominator, but you’ll likely need two. We last races here back in June and it was a two-dominator race, with Joey Logano and Martin Truex, Jr. combining for 151 total DraftKings dominator FPTS. This Sunday, the two most likely dominators are both starting on the front row, and they’re also the two highest-priced drivers on the slate. So before we get any further, let’s talk about each as the main dominator in your lineup.
The Case for Brad Keselowski ($11,400) … The flat tracks have been a great track type for Penske Racing this season, and Brad Keselowski has led the most laps on them, with 192 laps led at Richmond, 184 laps led at New Hampshire, and 82 laps led at Phoenix. He led just 5 laps in the first Martinsville race but still his average is 115.8 laps led on this track type this season, and this weekend he’s starting on the pole and has the best pit stall to work with. Keselowski is also (not surprisingly) averaging the most fastest laps on short flat tracks this season at 38 per race. He also has eight top 5 finishes in his last nine Martinsville starts with two wins and a worst finish of 10th during that span.
The Case for Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,800) … He’s won the last two Martinsville races. That’s all you need to know. Ha! But really, Truex is the heavy favorite this weekend according to Las Vegas odds, and over his last two wins here, he’s led a total of 596 laps. He likely won’t be able to point his way in to the Phoenix Championship race, so a win is pretty much necessary if this #19 teams wants to challenge for the title next week. This season on the shorter flat tracks, Truex wrecked at Phoenix, won the first Martinsville race, finished 3rd at New Hampshire, and played second fiddle to Keselowski at Richmond. Another thing to note is the #19 Toyota will be running the “Moody Blue” Auto Owners paint scheme this weekend, and if you don’t know about the magic of that, well… just click here to find out.
So now the question is… which one should you pick? And can you stuff both into a lineup? First, I like Keselowski a little bit better than Truex, just based on his numbers this year on shorter flat tracks. I also think Truex will be higher-owned than Kez even though he costs $400 more in DraftKings. Finally, Keselowski has that first pit stall, which can be a big advantage at Martinsville, while Truex’s teamed picked stall #12–putting themselves right in front of Chris Buescher and just two spots behind Alex Bowman. As of this posting, I’m not really sure why the #19 team picked this stall, and there have been a couple theories floating around, so hopefully someone addresses that before the race.
Now, can you fit both into one lineup? Yes, it’s certainly possible, and I’m going to have some lineups doing just that, but you’re really hoping for a super specific outcome with that strategy–that outcome being Truex and Keselowski for sure being the main dominators, and then also your two or three low-dollar gamble drivers paying off. All I’m saying is there’s a lot of potential for lineups like that to go wrong.
Finally there’s also the route of building lineups with Keselowski or Truex in them. My contrarian brain likes that strategy, as there is a ton of value in the $9,300 – $10,700 range this weekend that will allow you to have a solid chunk of cap space to play around with for the mid-tier guys instead of relying so heavily on some of those cheap drivers. Just looking at some numbers here, Chase Elliott ($10,400) is averaging the 2nd-most fastest laps (46 per race) at Martinsville over the last three races and is 4th in that category on the shorter flat tracks this season (25.8 per race). Also Denny Hamlin ($10,200) has an excellent track record at Martinsville and is under-priced in DraftKings this weekend.
There are plenty of options with lineups at Martinsville this weekend and I will likely be using a spread-out approach as opposed to my typical “laser focus, go super heavy on a few guys” DFS strategy that I employ for most races. The main reason I’m doing this is because I think this Xfinity 500 race on Sunday has the potential to get pretty crazy with so much on the line. It’s going to be fun to watch but that usually doesn’t translate into a predictable DraftKings day.
In total, we’re looking at just around 335 DraftKings dominator FPTS up for grabs on sunday–125 for laps led, and around 210 for fastest laps.
GPP / Tournament Picks I Love for Martinsville
Joey Logano ($9,900) – Yes, there is the whole narrative of Joey Logano not needing to run well this weekend since he’s already locked into the Championship race at Phoenix, and while that is true, don’t forget that his starting spot in that race is partially set by where he finishes here at Martinsville. As far as why I love being overweight on Logano this weekend? Well, one, his salary is lower than it should be–which could increase his ownership I guess but I’m still going heavy–but also because all of the numbers point to this #22 Ford. Looking at shorter flat tracks this season, Logano ranks 1st in average finish (3.0), 2nd in laps led (84.8 per race), 3rd in fastest laps (32.3 per race), 1st in average running position (4.3), and 1st in Green Flag Speed (average rank of 3.3). Joey starts 7th and is a race win contender. In fact, my algorithm predicts he will be hoisting the trophy here on Sunday (click here to see the full predicted finishing order).
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,000) – I’ve been saying for most of the year: run Penske at flat tracks. They have a clear advantage over the field. That’s why I bet Joey Logano back in September to win the Championship (at 12/1 and 13/1). Matt DiBenedetto isn’t in a Penske car but he’s basically in a Penske car (wink wink). As far as he goes, there’s nothing I don’t like except his starting spot of 12th–but that’s why he makes a great GPP/tournament play. Matty D ranks 6th-best in average finish (10.8) on short flat tracks this season with the 9th-best average running position (12.0), and the 7th-best Green Flag Speed (9.5). DiBenedetto finished 7th here back in the June race and honestly I think he can pull off a top 10 again on Sunday. I am a little concerned about his low salary causing his ownership percentage to go up a bit but I don’t think it’ll be too crazy.
Ryan Preece ($5,600) – Prepare for heartbreak here, but Ryan Preece could easily help someone take down GPPs this weekend. He’s suddenly turned into a model of consistency on the track, with seven top 20 finishes in the last eight races overall, and here at Martinsville, Preece has two teens finishes (16th and 19th) in his four career starts. This year on similar tracks, Preece finished 18th at Phoenix, 16th at New Hampshire, and 20th at Richmond. His 22nd-place starting spot on Sunday is going to scare plenty of people away but Preece is going to be a great value if he can come away with another teens result on Sunday.
Cash Core Drivers I Love for Martinsville
Clint Bowyer ($8,300) – I’ll be honest, I can’t land on a “no brainer” cash lineup this week, but I’m pretty sure Clint Bowyer is going to be on it. I just love the value here and I like taking a more central position when it comes to my cash lineups. We all know that Clint is a badass on flat tracks, and if he has a car that’s even close on speed to the one he had a Texas, he just might get one more win before retiring. That’s not entirely likely but a top 10 is well within reach for Bowyer on Sunday. This season on the shorter flat tracks, Clint has an average running position of 10.8 (which is 6th-best in the series) and he’s ended up 7th or better in four of his last seven Martinsville starts. He will start 16th here in Sunday’s Xfinity 500.
Bubba Wallace ($7,200) – Over his last four Martinsville starts, Bubba Wallace has improved this time, and if that happens once again here on Sunday, he’s going to have a huge points day in DraftKings. The last time we were here, Bubba started back in 23rd but ended up finishing 5th in Stage 1, 6th in Stage 2, and then came home 11th when the checkered flag waved. His previous two finishes here were 13th and 17th. On Sunday, the #43 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 32nd and my only concern here would be an equipment failure. Other than that, Bubba is a solid cash play in DraftKings this weekend, as weird as that may sound.
Chris Buescher ($6,700) – For some reason Chris Buescher’s salary went down from last week even though he’s starting back in 28th for Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville, but that just solidified his spot as a Cash Core driver. Roush-Fenway Racing has been better at flat tracks compared to speedways for a while now, and Buescher proved that once again here in June with a 13th-place finish despite starting back in 24th. That’s his third finish of 13th or better in his last four Martinsville starts. He also hasn’t finished worse than 23rd here since 2016 when he was driving for Front Row Motorsports. Buescher starts back in 28th this week and is a great value at just $6,700 on DraftKings.
Martinsville Xfinity 500 DraftKings Projections
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 six different ranking systems. Also included are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. 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||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||2||$11,800||103.3||02.8||131||61||$114|
|John H. Nemechek||23||$5,700||24.2||22.5||0||2||$236|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||18||$6,300||21.0||21.3||0||1||$300|