It all comes down to this.. part 1. The NASCAR Cup Series is at Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the final race before the Championship event at Phoenix next week. Kyle Larson is locked into the finale to fight for the title but there are three spots still open with the other seven Playoff drivers all having a shot at locking themselves in here at Martinsville on Sunday afternoon. Martin Truex, Jr. has won three of the last four races at this track, but as you can see from the algorithm’s results, it is not predicting any major contender to have a significant advantage over the others. If this is true, Sunday’s race at “The Paperclip” should be epic.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Contenders – Wow. I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time that the Power Index by the algorithm was this tight up top. The top 4 drivers are separated by less than one point on the Power Index for Sunday’s race, with the top 7 all within three. What the algorithm is saying here is that there’s essentially no major edge between the true contenders for this weekend’s race, and it’s entirely up for grabs. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top 10 predicted drivers ended up in victory lane on Sunday.

Ross Chastain – The algorithm isn’t a huge fan of Ross Chastain this weekend, but he has potential to finish well on Sunday. Looking at the five short, flat track races this season, Chastain has yet to finish worse than 19th, and he’s ended up inside the top 10 in the last two (7th at Richmond-2 and 8th at New Hampshire). Here at Martinsville back in April, Ross came home with a career-best 17th-place finish despite starting back in 27th. He’ll start 16th for the Xfinity 500 here on Sunday and should be able to compete for another career-best finish.


Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

This has been updated after the news that Denny Hamlin has to start in the rear.

1.Elliott, Chase39.98
2.Hamlin, Denny39.87
3.Blaney, Ryan39.40
4.Logano, Joey39.31
5.Truex, Jr., Martin38.71
6.Keselowski, Brad38.63
7.Larson, Kyle37.66
8.Byron, William36.65
9.Busch, Kyle36.31
10.Harvick, Kevin34.18
11.Bowman, Alex31.19
12.Bell, Christopher29.20
13.Busch, Kurt24.04
14.Reddick, Tyler20.42
15.DiBenedetto, Matt19.24
16.Dillon, Austin16.06
17.Buescher, Chris12.20
18.Almirola, Aric05.51
19.Wallace, Bubba05.45
20.Newman, Ryan-02.63
21.Chastain, Ross-09.50
22.Jones, Erik-11.78
23.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-12.80
24.Suarez, Daniel-16.42
25.Custer, Cole-17.96
26.Briscoe, Chase-19.28
27.McDowell, Michael-20.90
28.Preece, Ryan-22.13
29.Alfredo, Anthony-26.27
30.LaJoie, Corey-26.28
31.Haley, Justin-31.09
32.Smithley, Garrett-35.03
33.McLeod, BJ-35.06
34.Ware, Cody-35.48
35.Bilicki, Josh-36.52
36.Houff, Quin-37.47
37.Gase, Joey-39.15
38.Hill, Timmy-40.99
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.