This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Location: Martinsville, Va.
Course: Martinsville Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
Joey Logano became the seventh different winner in as many races two weeks ago in the NASCAR Cup Series return to dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Penske Racing driver led the final 61 laps and took the win ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in a unique and unpredictable race weekend. Logano gets the pole for this weekend's visit to Martinsville Speedway as a result and will start alongside points leader Denny Hamlin. Martin Truex Jr. won on Bristol's dirt in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series race and won two of the last three Martinsville races. He is the defending winner of Saturday night's race and will start inside the top 10 in seventh. Chase Elliott is the other 2020 Martinsville winner. He led 236 of 500 laps at the track in the fall to earn a spot in the championship finale at Phoenix, which he also went on to win. This week's race is the first scheduled night race of the season and the second of three consecutive short-track visits.
Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway
- Number of races: 144
- Winners from pole: 21
- Winners from top-5 starters: 75
- Winners from top-10 starters: 105
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
- Fastest race: 82.223 mph
Previous 10 Martinsville Winners
2020 fall - Chase Elliott
2020 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
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
The second short track in as many races awaits the Cup Series drivers and teams this Saturday night. Martinsville is a flat and short oval with long straights that requires heavy braking into the turns. The inside line will be the place to be, as track position becomes a big player in determining the outcome. In addition to keeping the car on the inside curb, drivers and teams will be managing their tires and brakes to save enough to race as hard as possible at the finish. Opportunities for passing come from exiting the turn faster than your competition and then out-braking them at the end of the straight. Visits to pit road will be opportunities for teams to pick up spots, and mistakes can cause track position to quickly vanish. The circuit's short lap means opportunities to go off strategy are few, and that will push fantasy managers to focus their selections on drivers starting inside the top 15.
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)
Elliott (DK $11,400, FD $13,500) is the latest Cup Series winner at Martinsville. He dominated the fall race to win and clinch a spot in the championship finale. He finished fifth in the spring race and will start fifth Saturday night. Hamlin (DK $10,400, FD $12,500) is the winningest active driver at this track. He has five Martinsville trophies but only picked up a best finish of 11th there last year. He has 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s from 30 starts at the track and will line up alongside Logano on the front row. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won two races so far this season, but Alex Bowman (DK $9,200, FD $9,500) has only one top-five finish. He grabbed that third-place finish at Atlanta and has started to show some progress after a slow start. He finished sixth in both Martinsville races last season and is a less-expensive Hendrick option for fantasy rosters. Ryan Newman (DK $6,800, FD $6,500) won at this track in 2012 and has a top-10 here from last fall. He was 12th in this race last season and has been enjoying Roush Fenway Racing's step up in performance with some strong performances this season that could easily translate to more top-10 finishes. Ross Chastain (DK $6,300, FD $3,500) starts deep in the field (27th) this week but has been scoring top-20 and top-15 finishes recently, which could make him a bargain pick this week. The biggest bargain on the board is probably Stenhouse (DK $5,800, FD $4,500), however. Stenhouse is 14th in points, finished second at Bristol and has finished in the top 20 in every race so far this year. His sixth-place starting spot is what is driving his price down, but a top-five run is a very real possibility for him Saturday night.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Truex (DK $12,000, FD $14,000) has been the most dominant driver at Martinsville over the past two seasons. He led 725 laps in those four races and won two of them. His seventh-place starting position also gives him the early track position he needs to be a factor in the end. Penske Racing drivers have won two of the last three races. Ryan Blaney (DK $10,100, FD $11,500) got his win at Atlanta and has been quite good at Martinsville. He was the runner-up in both races at the track last season and will aim to do one better Saturday to become the first repeat winner of the 2021 season. While Aric Almirola (DK $8,100, FD $7,700) has had his share of troubles this season, his low starting spot (31st) for Saturday might be good news for fantasy players. He needs to get some consistent top-15 finishes going, and doing that this week would be a big points haul for fantasy rosters. Bubba Wallace (DK $7,300, FD $7,000) is quickly settling into the groove with his new team. He is 21st in points and has raced confidently in the top 10 multiple times. All that remains is finishing out a full race distance in that position. He finished 11th in this race last season and will bring some finish differential points along from his 25th-place starting spot. Similar to Newman, teammate Chris Buescher (DK $6,400, FD $5,200) has taken advantage of Roush's advancements. He sits just outside the playoff positions in the standings and has a top-10 under his belt from Atlanta. He finished 13th in this race last season and will start 15th this time. The Bristol dirt was an early bright spot for Daniel Suarez (DK $5,900, FD $5,000) who led 58 laps and finished fourth. Short tracks are a place this new team can be on more equal footing with the more established teams on the circuit, and that makes Suarez one to watch this week. He has two Martinsville top-10s from eight starts.