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DFS NASCAR Preview: Martinsville
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This week the Monster Energy Cup Series features short track racing for DFS NASCAR players at one of the oldest courses, Martinsville Speedway. The track length is the shortest on the NASCAR circuit, making damage inevitable for drivers. This track’s small corners make it difficult to gain positions, meaning drivers are likely to finish close to where they qualified. Place Differential will not matter quite as much at Martinsville compared to most tracks in the Cup Series. PD will still matter, though. in cases where a driver starts low but has a fast car in practice.

TOP POSSIBLE PICKS FOR STP 500

Jimmie Johnson ($10,600) is the active leader in victories at MS. In 30 starts at the site, Johnson has nine wins, 24 Top 10 finishes, and 2,839 laps led, which is best of active drivers. In the last two seasons, Johnson has an Average Finishing Position of 14.3, which is ninth-best among active drivers, an Average Running Position of 13.8, which is 11th best and 1,398 laps in the Top 15, which is ninth-best. Johnson was 19th fastest in first practice and starts 17th. Johnson is one of the top drivers at MS based on past statistics, and prior performances at the site is why he is the most expensive driver this week. Johnson, however, has one Top 10 finish this season and he has no recent momentum with too high of a salary to start him.

Kyle Busch ($10,300) notched his only win at Martinsville one year ago. In 23 starts, Kyle Busch has 12 Top 10 finishes, and 842 laps led (fourth of active drivers). Over the last two years, Kyle Busch has finished inside the Top 5 three times, has an ARP of 4.7, has run 97.2% laps in the Top 15, and owns a Driver Rating of 124.5, all of which are best of active drivers. Kyle Busch was second fastest in final practice and finished inside the Top 10 the past two races. Kyle Busch will be starting 10th. “Rowdy” has been one of the best in recent years at MS and is the guy you should build your lineup around this week.

Joey Logano ($10,100) is looking for his first win at MS. In 16 starts, Logano has an AFP of 14.2, which is seventh-best, an ARP of 13.4, which is sixth-best, 205 Fastest Laps (seventh-best), and a DR of 90.0, which is seventh-best. In the last two seasons, Logano has 357 Laps Led, the most of active drivers, an ARP of 8.2, which is fifth-best, and 1,646 Laps in the Top 15, which is fourth-best. Logano was the sixth fastest in final practice and starts fifth. Logano has been one of the more consistent drivers at MS, finishing worse than 11th only once in his last four starts. Logano’s recent history at MS and strong momentum with four Top 10 finishes this season make him a high-quality pick that is likely to finish in the Top 5.

Kyle Larson ($10,000) registered his first victory of the season last week at Auto Club. In six starts at Martinsville, Larson has one Top 5 finish, two DNFs, and an AFP of 22.4, which is 28th best of active drivers. In his last three starts at the site, Larson has an ARP of 11.3, which is eighth-best, 77.7% Laps in the Top 15, which is seventh-best, and a DR of 91.8, which is 10th best. In final practice, Larson was 14th fastest and will be starting first. Larson’s history at Martinsville is not favorable, but he is the hottest driver right now with Top 2 finishes in the last four races. Larson’s history will not be a factor, as his momentum makes him a great play.

Kevin Harvick ($9,800) is searching for his first victory this season. In 31 starts at the site, Harvick has one win, 14 Top 10 finishes, and 628 Laps Led, which is sixth-best of active drivers. In the last two seasons, Harvick has an ARP of 7.7, which is third-best, 80.2% Laps in the Top 15, which is sixth-best, and 264 Laps Led, which is third-best. Harvick starts ninth and was 18th fastest in final practice. Martinsville is not one of Harvick’s top tracks, and despite more favorable performances recently, his slow speeds in practice sessions should make owners fade him this week.

Martinsville is a home track to Virginia’s Denny Hamlin ($9,700). In 22 races, Hamlin has five wins, 17 Top 10 finishes, and 1,363 laps led, second-most of active drivers. In the previous two seasons, Hamlin has an ARP of 13.3, which is 10th best, an AFP of 11.5, which is fifth-best, and 142 Laps Led, which is seventh-best. Hamlin was 13th fastest in final practice and starts 12th. Hamlin is one of the Martinsville masters, and with two Top 10 finishes this season, he has enough momentum to be a likely Top 10 finisher.

Brad Keselowski ($9,500) has never won at Martinsville, but he is a quality play. In 14 starts, Keselowski has eight Top 10 finishes, an ARP of 13.7, which is seventh-best, and 4,534 Laps in the Top 15, which is sixth-best. In his last four MS starts, Keselowski finished in the Top Five three times and led 161 laps. Keselowski has an ARP of 8.0, which is fourth-best of active drivers, 91.7% Laps in the Top 15, which is third-best, and a DR of 109.5, which is second-best. Keselowski was fourth fastest in final practice and starts fourth. Keselowski’s salary is very friendly and he has four consecutive Top 5 finishes in the last four races. Keselowski is a must-play this week.

Martin Truex Jr. ($9,400) is vying for his second win of the season. In 22 starts at MS, Truex has seven Top 10 finishes, and an AFP of 20.6, which is 23rd best. In the last two seasons, Truex has finished inside the Top 10 three times, has an ARP of 8.6, which is sixth-best, 1,892 Laps in the Top 15, which is the most of active drivers, and a DR of 99.3, which is seventh-best. Truex was 11th fastest in final practice and starts third. Truex is a high-quality pick in the $ 9,000 range with favorable history and good momentum from three Top 10 finishes this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,600) wants to get his season back on track at MS. In 33 starts, Earnhardt has one win, 18 Top 10 finishes, and 972 Laps Led at the site, which is third-best of active drivers. In his last three starts, Earnhardt has an ARP of 21.2, which is 18th best, 53 Fastest Laps, which is eighth-best, a DR of 81.6, which is 13th best. Earnhardt was 20th fastest in final practice and starts 21st. Earnhardt has failed to finish inside the Top 10 in every race this season. Owners should fade Earnhardt this week.

A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300) is bidding for his first non-road-course victory. In 17 MS starts, Allmendinger has five Top 10 finishes and an AFP of 18.9, which is 13th best. In his last four starts, Allmendinger has an ARP of 14.2, which is 12th best, 76.8% Laps in the Top 15, which is eighth-best, and a DR of 91.9, which is ninth-best of active drivers. Allmendinger was 17th fastest in final practice and starts 30th. Martinsville normally isn’t known for being a Place Differential track. Still, Allmendinger has shown the speed to be a good pick for PD purposes and his solid history for his salary makes him a fine pick for MS.

Jamie McMurray ($8,100) is currently sixth in the Cup series points. In 28 startsat the site, McMurray has 15 Top 10 finishes and an AFP of 16.3, which is 11th best. In his last four starts, McMurray has an AFP of 10.8, which is fourth-best, 74.4% Laps in the Top 15, which is ninth-best, and a DR of 91.7, which is 11th best. In final practice, McMurray was third fastest and will start sixth. McMurray has been fast in practices and has recent momentum through the past few races. McMurray is a terrific pick for the price this week.

BARGAIN PICKS OF $7,500 OR LESS

Ryan Newman ($7,400) starts 11th and was fifth fastest in final practice. Newman is a former Martinsville winner with 14 Top 10 finishes in 30 starts. In his last four starts, Newman finished in the Top 10 twice, has an ARP of 15.7, which is 13th best, and a DR of 81.1, which is 14th best of active drivers. Newman’s salary is low this week based on his performances and he has been fast in practice sessions, making him a nice bargain.

Paul Menard ($6,600) starts 22nd and was 12th fastest in final practice. In 19 starts at MS, Menard has an AFP of 19.9, which is 15th best of active drivers,and has an ARP of 19.1, which is 16th best. He has finished in the Top 15 in two of his past four starts at the site. Menard has been fast enough in practice that he will likely get points based on PD and he has decent history at MS.

Aric Almirola ($7,100) starts 18th and was 10th fastest in final practice. Almirola has started outside of the Top 25 in the last three races this season and finished in the Top 20 with positive PD. In his last four MS starts, Almirola has finished inside the Top 20 three times. With a low salary and a fast car in practices, Almirola will be a high-quality bargain pick that will finish in the Top 15.

Chris Buescher ($5,200) starts 33rd and was 23rd fastest in final practice. In three MS starts, Buescher has two finishes inside the Top 30 and finished higher than his start position in both. Buescher has three finishes in the Top 25 this season. Buescher has been fast in practice and is likely to finish in the Top 25. Buescher is a nifty bargain that will leave you with a lot of cap flexibility this week.

TOP 15 DRIVERS OVERALL FOR STP 500 – BASED ON COMBINATION OF PROJECTED PERFORMANCE AND VALUE

1: Kyle Busch ($10,300)

2: Brad Keselowski ($9,500)

3: Joey Logano ($10,100)

4: Denny Hamlin ($9,700)

5: Martin Truex Jr. ($9,400)

6: A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300)

7: Jamie McMurray ($8,100)

8: Ryan Newman ($7,400)

9: Paul Menard ($6,600)

10: Aric Almirola ($7,100)

11: Clint Bowyer ($8,000)

12: Kyle Larson ($10,000)

13: Chris Buescher ($5,200)

14: Matt Kenseth ($8,800)

15: Austin Dillon ($7,000)

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