We’re at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday night for the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. This is our second short track race of the season, as Martinsville is a little half-mile flat track in Virginia. Speed-wise, you can kind of compare Phoenix to Martinsville, since they’re both flat, and then Bristol is the next closest track that we’ve raced at this season, just because it’s also short. We typically see the same drivers at or near the front at Martinsville.
The starting lineup for Wednesday night’s race was set by random draw on Monday evening. Ryan Blaney drew the pole, with Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer starting 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (respectively) to give us an all Ford front two rows. Click here for the full starting lineup for the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Martinsville Wednesday Night
Kyle Busch ($12,500) – I’m going heavy on the heavy hitters with my Slingshot lineup this weekend, and it starts with Kyle Busch. Rowdy is coming off of another top 5 finish at Atlanta on Sunday and should be a contender for the win here at Martinsville whenever the Blu-Emu 500 goes green. Busch is a two-time winner at this race track and has finished inside the top 5 in eight of his last nine starts here. He also drew the 7th-place starting spot in qualifying for this race so there’s room for him to move up and get place differential points. I’d also expect Busch to have double-digit Stage fantasy points we well.
Brad Keselowski ($12,100) – Here’s the guy that the Fantasy Racing Online algorithm predicts will win the race on Wednesday night. I don’t completely agree with that but I do think Keselowski will be a contender, especially for a top 5 finish. He pulled the 6th starting spot in qualifying this week and should run inside the top 10 or top 5 for much of the race. As far as track history here, Keselowski has won twice over the last six Martinsville races and hasn’t finished worse than 10th here since 2015. Seven of his last eight starts here have also ended in top 5 finishes.
Martin Truex, Jr. ($12,000) – Truex starts inside the top 5 for Wednesday night’s race and I would expect him to finish up there as well, collecting Stage points along the way. The #19 Toyota is the most recent winner at Martinsville Speedway, and after having the best green flag speed at Atlanta on Sunday, you have to think that Truex will be a contender for the win yet again on Wednesday night. He’s finished top 5 in four of his last five Martinsville starts with the only exception being an 8th.
Daniel Suarez ($6,800) – The #96 team doesn’t have a charter, so whenever a starting lineup is determined by random draw, Suarez going to start 37th. This is obviously good for games like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, where place differential points come into play so much. Now, I don’t love this pick by any means (or this driver, and if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that), but shorter tracks are where Suarez is actually a decent option with this underfunded car. Looking at this year, he finished 21st at Phoenix and 18th at Bristol. A mid-20s finish out of Suarez on Wednesday night would be solid for his price tag due to the place differential points.
Michael McDowell ($6,600) – Michael McDowell has finished between 18th and 26th in six of his last seven starts at Martinsville, and this season he has been pretty solid as well with an average finish of 21.7 since Daytona. He rolls off the grid from 29th for Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville, and as long as he doesn’t wreck, he should get a decent amount of points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Alternate Roster Considerations
I think Chase Elliott ($12,400) is an excellent pivot off of Kyle Busch in the above lineup. Chase starts back in 11th and should be a top 5 car by the end of the night. Also don’t forget about Denny Hamlin ($12,300), who is a five-time Martinsville winner and who starts back in 12th. Both of those pivots are solid options for both finishing position as well as Stage and place differential points.
As far as the middle-priced drivers, Jimmie Johnson ($10,800) is a very good pick for place differential points this race. He starts back in 21st and has nine wins at Martinsville. His speed at this track lately has tapered off a little bit, but that’s likely just due to that little slump that Johnson was in for a while. He’s found his speed again in 2020 and could legitimately finish top 5 on Wednesday night. Also, putting in Jimmie for one of the higher-priced guys in my lineup above allows you to go with someone like Christopher Bell ($8,300)–who starts back in 32nd and should move up significantly–instead of Suarez or McDowell.