NASCAR at Martinsville DraftKings Picks: Dominators, Fades & DFS Strategy for Wednesday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: NASCAR Cup Series drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney lead at Martinsville
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Virginia for 500 laps at the half-mile paper clip known as Martinsville Speedway. The starting lineup for tonight’s race is set, so let’s dive right into DFS strategy at such a unique track.
NASCAR at Martinsville DraftKings DFS Strategy
Since 2013, there have been 42 drivers to score at least 33 DraftKings points in a race at Martinsville. With two races per year, that equated to exactly three dominant drivers per race. Of these 42 drivers, 78.5% finished in the top eight. The same percentage of drivers scored at least 75 DraftKings points.
That means we’re looking at two to three dominators in most lineups. This is especially true if we remove 2019, which had awful aerodynamic rules that created no passing up front.
Between those two races, there were only three dominators, for an average of 1.5 per race. With 2019 removed, 30 drivers scored at least 75 DraftKings points in 12 races, for an average of exactly 2.5 per race. I’d look at stuffing three top drivers into my lineup, if possible.
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Of these dominators, there are a few frequently-occurring names. Here is the total number of times each active dominator has dominated at Martinsville:
- Brad Keselowski – 5
- Denny Hamlin – 5
- Kyle Busch – 5
- Joey Logano – 4
- Jimmie Johnson – 4
- Matt Kenseth – 4
- Kevin Harvick – 3
- Martin Truex Jr. – 3
- Clint Bowyer – 2
- Chase Elliott – 2
- Ryan Blaney – 1
That means we can almost completely eliminate a few drivers. Aric Almirola starts second but has never dominated at Martinsville in his career. Likewise, Alex Bowman doesn’t seem set to put up a huge score with only middling Martinsville results. Also, Kurt Busch has never dominated at Martinsville in his career (30 races).
The Penske teammates of Blaney and Logano are your two most likely early dominators. Blaney starts on the pole and Logano has the preferred inside line starting in third.
Aside from that, it’s hard to gauge who is the most likely dominator with no practice results. I’d probably shy away from Harvick simply because a three out of 14 ratio isn’t very good. Likewise for Bowyer, although he’s much cheaper and won here under similar rules in 2018.
Kenseth and Johnson also seem less likely to dominate given their advanced age and inferior starting positions (only five dominators have started outside the top 15 since 2013), but they do make for potential place differential plays.
NASCAR at Martinsville DraftKings DFS Picks
Here are some other drivers I like to put up a solid score relative to their price today.
Christopher Bell ($8200) – Martinsville is a place where equipment matters less and talent matters more. Bell is one of the more talented drivers in the field, especially at flat tracks. Exactly half of his 16 wins in the XFINITY Series came at the flat tracks. He starts 32nd tonight, so there is ample opportunity for place differential.
William Byron ($7600) – Byron has been boom or bust at Martinsville in his short career, picking up a second place finish last year to go along with no other finishes better than 20th. However, six of Byron’s 11 wins in the XFINITY and Truck series have come at flat tracks. There’s GPP upside here, but I wouldn’t play him in cash games.
The Dillon Brothers (Austin $6100, Ty $6200) – The older Dillon brother, Austin, has two top-five results at Martinsville in his career, and four other top-15 results. That’s good enough for a driver starting 21st priced at only $6100. However, make sure to follow updates on Dillon. His wife is pregnant, and A.J. Allmendinger is on standby as a replacement should Dillon’s wife go into labor. If Dillon exits before the start of the race, Allmendinger immediately becomes one of the top plays on the slate as a Martinsville expert. If Dillon starts the race at all, he will be credited with all results, should Allmendinger replace him mid-race.
Ty Dillon, meanwhile, has quietly racked up two top-15 finishes at Martinsville, which is just fine for a driver priced $6200. By starting 30th, a top 15 would guarantee him at least 44 DraftKings points. That’s huge value at his price.
Ryan Preece ($5700) – Preece starts 28th so there is plenty of place differential potential there. All four of his top-three finishes in the XFINITY Series came at tracks one mile in length or shorter, with three of those coming at flat tracks. His fifth-best finish in Cup was at the first Martinsville race last year and he scored top-20 finishes in both races.