There’s nothing better than short track racing, except for short track racing with everything on the line. The Final Four Championship contenders will be determined this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, and unless something major happens to Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin, we’re looking at five drivers–Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano–all fighting for the final spot. And the best part? All five of them are really good at Martinsville.
This is going to be a battle on Sunday and it should be very entertaining to watch. Races at Martinsville tend to get a little wild, and your DFS day can go from great to awful in a single lap, but it’s pretty clear who should be the fastest cars here on Sunday, so now it just comes down to putting the puzzle together in the right order. Now let’s goooo!!!!
Make sure you check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!
Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages
Now that we’re officially done with the 550hp package, it’s time to go back and look at 750hp package data for the final two races of the season. The good news is we have a good data set to look at for the Martinsville race this weekend. We also have a good data set for the track type: short and flat. Martinsville is a half-mile “paperclip” that is extremely flat. Similar tracks include New Hampshire, Phoenix, and Richmond, but really Martinsville is quite unique from those other three. The most similar would be New Hampshire, in my opinion, but that was the rain race this season so make sure you take that data with a grain of salt.
- 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)
2021 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||5||04.0||07.5||115.7||211||271||1569||1905|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||5||16.4||17.2||71.6||26||1||591||1901|
2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package
|Martin Truex Jr||9||07.4||09.1||107.9||310||536||2547||3263|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||9||16.1||17.1||72.9||71||1||1002||3256|
2020 Driver Averages At Short, 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|
DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Martinsville 2
- You’re looking at at least a 2-dominator build here at Martinsville this weekend, but most of my lineups are going to include 3 potential dominators (and maybe even 4). With the way the driver pricing is this weekend, I think it’s going to be best to do three or four “high-dollar” plays and then either one “low-dollar” play and one “mid-dollar” play, or two “low-dollar” options.
- Dominators, dominators, dominators. We typically see at least two dominators in a Martinsville race, maybe even three.
- This is a 500 lap race, which means there’s a ton of dominator DraftKings FPTS up for grabs. We’ll have 125 FPTS for laps led on Sunday and probably over 180 FPTS for fastest laps. You need to target these.
- Comparable tracks ran at this season would be Phoenix, Richmond, New Hampshire, and obviously the first Martinsville race in April. The tire combination being used for Sunday’s Xfinity 500 is unique to Martinsville, and with this track being so unique, it’s not a bad idea to weigh previous Martinsville data heavier than the other short, flat tracks (skip 2019, though).
- This isn’t comparable to a road course. Just had to throw that out there (see my Twitter feed as to why).
- NASCAR is running the 750hp package this weekend. Other tracks where this package has been ran this season are: Phoenix, Martinsville, Darlington (twice), Dover, Richmond (twice), Nashville, and New Hampshire.
These are the potential dominators for this weekend’s race at Martinsville, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Ryan Blaney
- Chase Elliott
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Larson
- Brad Keselowski
Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Sunday include: Christopher Bell, William Byron, and Kyle Busch.
Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video
Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.
Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections
The optimal DraftKings lineup for Martinsville on Sunday according to my Projections is:
- Denny Hamlin
- Ryan Blaney
- Joey Logano
- Christopher Bell
- Corey LaJoie
- Justin Haley
Confidence Rating = 7.5/10. I don’t hate this lineup or this build at all. I think it gives you a solid base to work with. Obviously you’re missing out on the race favorite (Martin Truex, Jr.), but this is still really solid. Also, it gives you flexibility; you could roll with Keselowski instead of Logano, and if you don’t want to dig so far down in the “low-dollar” drivers, you could swap Christopher Bell for a mid-range $7,000 driver and then improve Justin Haley. The biggest concern with this lineup is Justin Haley and whether his equipment will be worth anything. You could swap to Anthony Alfredo to be a little safer.
GPP / Tournament Picks
Denny Hamlin ($10,700) – With Hamlin starting from the rear due to inspection issues, I’m going to put him as a tournament play. He was originally a cash play. As mentioned in my video this week (linked above), I think Denny Hamlin is going to be the early dominator here on Sunday. He starts 3rd and should be in prime position to take the lead early from Kyle Larson. The last time we raced here at Martinsville, Hamlin led a race-high 276 laps and also added on 81 fastest laps before finishing 3rd. On the short, flat tracks this season, Dennis has four top 3 finishes in the five races and leads the way with 315.30 DraftKings dominator FPTS. Next best is Martin Truex, Jr. with 162.70. Yes, I know there’s the narrative that Hamlin isn’t going to race as hard here on Sunday because he doesn’t have to, but I think he’s going to be racing as normal through the first two Stages before letting off the gas–and I think those first two Stages will allow Hamlin to rack up the dominator points he needs in DraftKings.
Christopher Bell ($8,400) – This season, Christopher Bell has really shined at two track types: short, flat tracks and road courses. Looking at the short, flats this season, Bell has yet to finished worse than 9th, has three top 5s in the five races, and also has the 3rd-most fastest laps behind Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr. On Sunday, even if this #20 Toyota only posts 10 or so fastest laps and comes home with an 8th-place finish, it’ll be a great DraftKings points day for this $8,400 driver, plus the ceiling is very high here. Momentum-wise, CBell is turning it up in these Playoffs and currently has four straight single-digit finishes and five in the last seven races.
Ross Chastain ($7,400) – Martinsville is a track that tends to reward aggressive (but smart) drivers, and Ross Chastain definitely fits the aggressive part. He finished 17th here last time, but I honestly wouldn’t be too surprise if he challenged for a solid top 10 result here in Sunday’s Xfinity 500. Chastain is really good in this 750hp package (comparatively speaking), with an average finish of 11.2 (which is 8th-best) over those nine races. At short, flat tracks specifically this season, Chastain’s average result is 13.2, with recent results of 7th at Richmond 2 and 8th at New Hampshire. The #42 Chevrolet will start from 16th for Sunday’s race at Martinsville, which is a little risky, but think of it this way: Chastain has an even better chance at staying on or near the lead lap, which is what he needs to do to get a surprising finish at the end.
Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc
Cash Core Drivers
Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,400) – With Hamlin starting from the rear due to inspection issues, I’m going to put Truex as a cash play. He was originally a tournament play. Yeah, this probably seems like a no-brainer pick, but so what? At the price tag of $11,400 on DraftKings this weekend, I think Truex actually has the potential to go under-owned compared to what he should be at. Hell, the guy has won three of the last four races at this track and could’ve won the fall race here last season as well to make it four in a row. Truex isn’t in a must-win situation to get to Phoenix this weekend, but his mindset should be that he is. As far as dominators go, I think Denny Hamlin is most likely to be the top dominator for this weekend’s race, but Truex is a close second.
Ryan Blaney ($9,700) – Well, this is uncomfortable. Not only am I using Ryan Blaney in my core of DraftKings drivers this weekend but I’ve also placed the largest bet on my life for him to finish top 10 on Sunday. What could go wrong? At $9,700 on DraftKings, though, Young Ryan Blaney is a steal, honestly. He starts 8th, so there’s some place differential potential there, and he’s a stud at this race track, with five top 5 finishes in his last seven starts along with 372 laps led over that span as well. Earlier this season, Blaney won both Stages but ended up finishing 11th after a late pit road penalty. He still led 157 laps and had 29 fastest laps. Over the last three Martinsville races specifically, Blaney ranks 3rd in fastest laps with an average of 43.7 per race.
Corey LaJoie ($6,000) – Corey LaJoie is actually very good at Martinsville, as he had a couple of 18th-place finishes with GO FAS Racing last year and the year before. This season, with Spire Motorsports, LaJoie was running even better (in the high teens) but ran into some extreme bad luck on pit road and totaled his race car. Even if this #7 Chevrolet is a good bit slower this weekend than it was back in April, LaJoie should still be a solid DraftKings play at $6,000 and starting 29th. He also finished 23rd at New Hampshire and 21st at Richmond this year, for what it’s worth.
Xfinity 500 at Martinsville 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||$11,400||91.75||45.80%||4||137.10||04.0||$124|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,200||25.78||19.40%||25||34.45||20.8||$279|