DraftKings NASCAR: First Data 500
DraftKings NASCAR: First Data 500

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

First Data 500

Location: Martinsville, Va.

Course: Martinsville Speedway

Format: 0.5-mile oval

Laps: 500

Race Preview

Last week's race at Kansas Speedway solidified the final eight championship contenders. Denny Hamlin staked his claim on one of those spots with his fifth win of the season – one less than teammate Martin Truex Jr. and one more than Kyle Busch. With that race finish the bottom four of Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, William Byron, and Clint Bowyer were jettisoned from contention. That leaves Chase Elliott as Hendrick Motorsports' lone remaining contender. He is alongside Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney in fighting against the dominant Joe Gibbs Racing trio. The stage resets for those eight contenders this week at Martinsville Speedway where Keselowski won earlier this season. Joey Logano won this race a year ago, and Ford has won four of the last five races at the track. Hamlin expressed his eagerness to get to this race and continue his charge forward. His five circuit wins are second only to Jimmie Johnson among active drivers and another this week would pave his path to Homestead and the championship finale.

Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway

Number of previous races: 141

Winners from pole: 21

Winners from top-five starters: 73

Winners from top-10 starters: 102

Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7

Fastest Race: 82.223 mph

Previous 10 Martinsville Winners

2019 spring – Brad Keselowski

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.

Martinsville Speedway is a flat oval in the shape of a paperclip with long straights and tight turns. Dealing with traffic, track position, and equipment management will be the focus of the weekend. Keselowski dominated the spring race at the circuit with 446 laps led while Logano led 309 of 500 last year. Both drivers started in the first five rows and no driver has started deeper than 15th and won since 2014 when Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. both achieved the feat. The circuit's long pit road and short lap distance make unscheduled stops or penalties a disaster. Teams will work to maximize track position and that could matter more to finishing positions than having four fresh tires at a circuit like this. Lapped traffic has proven to be the downfall of top drivers this season and they will be hard to avoid this week and drivers will have to navigate it successfully all afternoon while saving as much tire and brake wear for the run to the finish when they will need everything in their arsenal to come out on top.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $11,800

Martin Truex Jr. - $11,400

Denny Hamlin - $11,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Joey Logano - $10,100

Chase Elliott - $9,800

Brad Keselowski - $9,500

Ryan Blaney - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Clint Bowyer - $8,900

Erik Jones - $8,700

Kurt Busch - $8,500

Jimmie Johnson - $8,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt DiBenedetto - $7,800

Ryan Newman - $7,500

Daniel Suarez - $7,300

Chris Buescher - $6,900

Ty Dillon - $6,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $9,500

Ryan Blaney - $9,300

Kurt Busch - $8,500

Alex Bowman - $8,300

Ryan Newman - $7,500

Austin Dillon - $6,700

Penske Racing swept the practice charts at Martinsville this weekend and Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney took the top two spots in the second session. Keselowski won there earlier this season and would complete the sweep with a win this weekend while Blaney has three top-10s at the track in the last four races. Kurt Busch backs them up as being the third fastest car in the second practice. He has two Martinsville wins from 38 career starts. Hendrick Motorsports is represented by Alex Bowman. He has only one top-10 here but has been making things happen for himself. He has two top-fives in the last five races and was 11th last week in Kansas. Ryan Newman had a rough race last week in Kansas but could turn things around again this week where he won in 2012. His qualifying at this track has not been the best, which has given fantasy owners a five-point boost on average from finish differential alone. Austin Dillon finishes the selection with his recent return to form at the track. After back-to-back 30th-place finishes he scored an 11th-place finish there earlier this year, which was his third top-15 finish at the track in the last five.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,100

Clint Bowyer - $8,900

Erik Jones - $8,700

Jimmie Johnson - $8,100

William Byron - $8,000

Ty Dillon - $6,200

Joey Logano leads the higher-risk lineup with his fastest lap speed in the weekend's opening practice. Logano is an excellent qualifier at the circuit and leads laps consistently. He won this race last season. Fantasy owners looking for some Joe Gibbs Racing representation could switch Logano for Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson for Daniel Suarez. Both would be ample substitutes to fill out a deep lineup. Backing up Logano in this version is Clint Bowyer, who had the best 10-lap average from the first practice of the weekend. Bowyer won here last spring and was seventh earlier this season. Erik Jones has yet to score a top-10 at this track and it is about time he improved that average. Kurt Busch would be an alternative in this position, but the poor streak at this track shouldn't continue too much longer for Jones before he turns things around. Jimmie Johnson is a nine-time winner at this track who has started to find consistency in his current situation. The team is improving, and Johnson could outperform expectations this week as a result. William Byron is another driver poised to drastically improve his Martinsville record this week. His best finish there so far was 20th last spring. Ty Dillon, on the other hand, has two top-15 Martinsville finishes in the last two visits.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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