This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.
Location: Martinsville, Va.
Course: Martinsville Speedway
Format: 0.5-mile oval
Kyle Busch won his 200th NASCAR race and became the first repeat winner in last week's Auto Club 400. Busch's car was the fastest on track nearly the entire race distance and even a speeding penalty on pit road could not keep him out of Victory Lane. The strength of that win should worry other contenders like Penske Racing. The Ford teammates have been among the best each week and have a pair of wins, but Busch's win last week could signal a shift in Toyota and Joe Gibb's Racing's favor. It could just be a Kyle Busch thing, though. He was the only non-Ford in the top five and teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. finished seventh and eighth. This week's race should be entirely different than last week, though. Martinsville is a tight and flat circuit and the new rules package affecting horsepower will not be in play. That could give Toyota a bigger hurdle to overcome this week. Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer, both Fords, took victories at the track last season. Each of those drivers led over 200 laps en route to their wins and both qualified inside the top 10. Fantasy players should expect similar statistics this week, too.
Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway
Number of previous races: 140
Winners from pole: 21
Winners from top-5 starters: 72
Winners from top-10 starters: 101
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
Fastest race: 82.223 mph
Last 10 Martinsville Winners
2018 fall - Joey Logano
2018 spring - Clint Bowyer
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Brad Keselowski
2016 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2016 spring - Kyle Busch
2015 fall - Jeff Gordon
2015 spring - Denny Hamlin
2014 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014 spring - Kurt Busch
Drivers and teams are moving from the wide turns and straights of Fontana to the tight and flat confines of Martinsville Speedway this week. The circuit's long straights and tight corners make track position extremely valuable. The short lap distance puts cars in traffic through the entire race distance and speed off of the corners to make passes on the long straights will be the objective. Nearly 75% of race winners at the track have started inside the top 10 and only seven times in Cup's 140-race history have winners started worse than 20th. The close racing and intense battles for track position have a tendency to fray tempers and produce mistakes. Penalties for pit violations can make a very deep hole for drivers to climb out of. Those challenges only get magnified as drivers battle one another for the same piece of racetrack, too. Ford has been strong so far this season and the manufacturer has won three of the last four races at the track. The only Toyota to win there in the past three years has been Kyle Busch. Practice speeds and qualifying position should be strong indicators of potential race success.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Joey Logano's pole on Saturday just extended his run of Martinsville success. He led 309 laps here in the fall as he won from the 10th starting position. Denny Hamlin has five track wins and was runner-up to Logano last fall. He has led over 1,500 laps in 26 Martinsville starts, too. Stewart-Haas Racing was quick early on Saturday and Aric Almirola is a good fantasy option after qualifying on the front row. He finished 14th and 11th in his two starts here last season. Paul Menard starts 15th on Sunday and finished 13th in this race last season. William Byron came back from contact with the wall in practice to qualify sixth. He struggled here last season, but this will be his first top-10 start at the circuit in the series. The return of horsepower and minimization of aerodynamic impact could boost Chris Buescher, too. He will start 13th as he aims to pick up his first top-10 at the track.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Like the lower-risk lineup this week, the higher-risk option favors Ford-powered drivers. Brad Keselowski has a Martinsville win, qualified third for Sunday's race, and hasn't finished outside of the top 10 the track since the fall of 2015. Clint Bowyer led the opening practice and will start Sunday's race in 11th. Chase Elliott led the second practice and finished both races here last season in the top 10. He also led 123 laps in the 2017 fall race. Like his teammates, Daniel Suarez also showed strong pace in practice. His best finish at the track from four tries was ninth last fall. Ryan Newman won this race in 2012 and finished eighth after starting 16th last fall. He starts 21st this weekend and could be in store to deliver finish differential points to fantasy owners willing to choose him. Similarly, Daniel Hemric is starting deep in the field. He has two top-20 finishes so far this season and starts 29th on Sunday.