We head to Martinsville Speedway this weekend, a tiny little half-mile “paperclip” in Virginia for the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Saturday night… hopefully. There’s some rain in the forecast for Saturday so this could end up being a Sunday race. Anyway, Martinsville is a flat track and we often see many of the same faces finish up front here. We’ll see some comers and goers during the long runs in this race–especially if it goes as scheduled and the track transitions from evening to night–but the typical contenders should all be there at the end.
My Martinsville Fantasy & Betting Preview was posted earlier this week, and you can read some of my early thoughts heading into this race by clicking here. Also make sure to check out my FanDuel post for the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 by clicking here. There’s quite a bit of crossover in sleepers that I like on both DFS sites. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are on the front row for Saturday’s race and you can check out the full starting lineup by clicking here. Now let’s goooo!!!!
Flat Track Track Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages
In case you missed it in my Preview article, this will be the second flat track race of the season, with the first one being at Phoenix about a month ago. Pretty much all of the drivers that we expected to be fast at Phoenix were fast at Phoenix, and you can expect similar happenings here at Martinsville on Saturday. It is very clear who the best drivers and teams are at flat tracks, and at Martinsville we seem to always see many of the same faces finish up front. Below you will find the Loop Data Box Score and Green Flag Speed links for the Phoenix race this season as well as the two Martinsville races from last year.
|Race||Loop Data |
|Green Flag |
|Phoenix (2021)||Click here||Click here|
|Martinsville (2020-2)||Click here||Click here|
|Martinsville (2020)||Click here||Click here|
Also, below you will find the chart for flat track data from 2020 as well as a chart for Martinsville specifically over the last two years. The following statistics are included in these charts. You can click on column headers to sort by that column.
- ARP = average running position
- DR = driver rating
- FL = fastest laps (total)
- LL = laps led (total)
- T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
- Total Laps = laps completed (total)
2020 Driver Averages on Flat Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||6||11.7||07.9||104.4||169||272||1985||2294|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||6||20.3||20.7||63.8||40||1||266||2321|
2019-2020 Driver Averages At Martinsville
|Martin Truex Jr||4||08.0||05.2||120.4||287||725||1855||1999|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||4||20.3||21.2||59.8||6||0||210||1994|
There are 500 laps scheduled for this race on Saturday night, so I don’t have to tell you that nailing the dominators in your lineup is going to be pivotal. Typically we see two main dominators here at Martinsville. In this race last year, Joey Logano led 234 laps and had 61 fastest laps, while Martin Truex, Jr. led 132 laps and tacked on 58 fastest laps.
In the 2020 fall Martinsville race, it was Chase Elliott with 236 laps led and 110 fastest laps and then Martin Truex, Jr. with 129 laps led and 75 fastest laps. Also noteworthy from last year: Ryan Blaney had over 50 fastest laps in each race, and Jimmie Johnson led 70 laps and tacked on 24 fastest laps in the spring race.
So with lineup construction, you’ll need to target at least two dominators, maybe three. It’s rare to see a one dominator race at Martinsville. Here are the drivers that I am going to be targeting (for the most part) as far as the dominator pool goes for this weekend’s race:
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Joey Logano
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Denny Hamlin
- Brad Keselowski
- William Byron
- Kyle Larson
GPP / Tournament Picks
Denny Hamlin ($10,400) – Ugh… James Dennis Alan Hamlin might end up winning this race. This #11 team has been as stout as they come this season but haven’t really put it all together to get into victory lane. Still, Hamlin has double-digit fastest laps in each of the last four races this year (including a noteworthy 38 at Phoenix), and has led 27+ laps in three of the last four. Here at Martinsville, Hamlin is a five-time winner and has led 30+ laps in four of the last six races. In three of the last five he’s finished top 5. There’s no doubt in my mind that the #11 Toyota will be a top threat on Saturday night, but what it’s going to come down to in DraftKings is how many dominator points Hamlin grabs. He ranks 6th in fastest laps over the last two years at Martinsville, and I personally think Joe Gibbs Racing has a little more speed than last year at this time. I definitely like Hamlin as a pivot off of pole sitter Joey Logano ($10,700).
William Byron ($8,700) – You know this spot is typically reserved for my boy Alex Bowman ($9,200) but this race, I’m going to talk about his teammate, William Byron. Although, just to be clear, I still like being overweight on Bowman this weekend. But as far as Byron goes, he’s what I would consider an “outside” or “alternate” dominator on Saturday night. He’s starting up there in 3rd, but with Logano, Hamlin, Blaney, and Elliott surrounding him in the top 5, it’s hard to imagine Willy B dominating a lot. However, it can happen. And maybe it will. Byron had issues last fall here at Martinsville and ended up finishing 35th, but before that, his previous two starts here at “The Paperclip” ended with him in 8th and 2nd. Additionally, Byron has 69 (nice) fastest laps here at Martinsville over the last two years, which is 9th-most in the series. Perhaps what I like most about Byron this week, though, is just how well he’s running this season, with the 8th-best average running position and the 4th-most fastest laps.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800) – This $7,000 – $9,000 price range is interesting this week. DraftKings priced down Aric Almirola ($8,100) even though he’s starting 31st, but it kind of makes sense with his shaky record this year plus we have guys like Alex Bowman ($9,200), Kurt Busch ($8,900), and Christopher Bell ($8,400) all starting 20th or worse. Then there’s Bubba Wallace ($7,300) who is very strong at Martinsville (relatively speaking) and with his 25th-place starting spot plus the salary discount, should garner plenty of ownership. But don’t forget about Matt DiBenedetto in this price range. The Penske Fords are very strong on flat tracks overall, and here at Martinsville, Matty D swept the top 10 last year in his first season driving for the Wood Brothers. Before that, he finished 20th and 16th here with Leavine Family Racing. I definitely like pivoting off of Almirola down to DiBenedetto this weekend.
BONUS: Ryan Preece ($5,600) – If you’re looking to get off of the Anthony Alfredo ($5,300) / Corey LaJoie ($5,200) chalk this weekend, consider Ryan Preece. Yeah, he starts higher than we’d like (17th), but Preece is a solid flat track racer, and here at Martinsville he’s finished between 16th and 19th in three of the last four races. If Preece is able to pull off an 18th-place finish here on Saturday night, he’ll score 24 DraftKings FPTS, which would be the same amount Corey LaJoie would score if he finishes 26th (which isn’t guaranteed by any means).
Cash Core Drivers
Joey Logano ($10,700) – Yeah, the pole sitter has been awful for DFS players this season, but this is probably the week where that trend reverses. Joey Logano is one of the best at Martinsville Speedway, and at flat tracks in general, and in this race last season he led 234 laps before finishing 4th. This #22 team followed that up with a 3rd-place finish in the fall. On flat tracks last year, Logano had a series-best 3.9 average running position, a series-best 3.0 average finish, and added on 199 fastest laps (3rd-most) and 483 laps led (2nd-most). Looking at this season, Logano had a great race at Phoenix (the first flat track race of the season) with 143 laps led and 38 fastest laps along with a 2nd-place finish.
Ryan Blaney ($10,100) – It’s hard to pass up Ryan Blaney at this price. Yeah, he starts 4th, so you really need him to get dominator points, but he’s so good at Martinsville. Since joining Penske, Blaney has just one finish outside of the top 5 in six starts here at “The Paperclip,” and he came home 2nd in both races here last season. He also added 70 laps led and 102 fastest laps in those two races combined. Over the last two years, only Martin Truex, Jr. ($12,000) and Chase Elliott ($11,400) have more fastest laps than Blaney here at Martinsville, and only Brad Keselowski ($11,000) has a better average finish. Blaney’s stats in those two categories are 155 and 3.3, respectively.
Corey LaJoie ($5,200) – DraftKings severely under-priced Corey LaJoie and Anthony Alfredo ($5,300) this weekend, and honestly, my projections don’t hate pairing them together in the same lineup on Saturday night to free up some cap space and afford the studs up top. And for cash lineup, I have no problem rolling with LaJoie. Yeah, there’s some equipment concerns here, but taking that out of the equation, Corey is the no-brainer play down here. Plus, he’s pretty good at Martinsville, with finishes of 25th, 18th, and 18th over the last three races here.
Martinsville Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 DraftKings Driver 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 factored in 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||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Proj Ownership||Starting Position||Ceiling Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$12,000||111.33||30.38%||7||152.65||03.3||$108|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$5,800||10.83||7.48%||6||23.25||18.7||$535|