This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400
Location: Martinsville, Va.
Course: Martinsville Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
Saturday night's race at Martinsville Speedway will be the second short-track visit in as many weeks for the NASCAR Cup Series. Denny Hamlin used fresh tires in the final stage to track down and pass William Byron for the victory last week at Richmond, tallying his first victory of the season and becoming the seventh different winner in as many races to start the 2022 season. With no repeat winners so far this season, the pressure for contenders to get a victory is starting to grow. This week's visit to Martinsville under the lights will be looked at as one of the best opportunities to get the job done before wildcards like the Bristol dirt race and Talladega loom ahead in the coming weeks. Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman won the two Martinsville stops last season, and Truex is one of those winless contenders hoping to repeat his victory in last year's race to get his 2022 playoff bid a bit more secure.
Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway
- Number of races: 147
- Winners from pole: 21
- Winners from top-5 starters: 75
- Winners from top-10 starters: 106
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
- Fastest race: 82.223 mph
Previous 10 Martinsville Winners
2021 fall - Alex Bowman
2021 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
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
While this week's race is also on a short track, it is likely to be very different than last week at Richmond. First, Martinsville is nearly a quarter mile shorter than Richmond. Second, the flat and tight turns at each end are connected by long straights that force drivers to heavily use their brakes. Finally, the flatter banking and tighter radius turns at Martinsville make the preferred line the inside one right against the curb. In addition to adjusting handling to keep the car on the inside line, drivers and teams will have to manage their brakes to ensure they last the entire race distance. Braking as late as possible will be the way to make passes, but fresh tires will also be a critical component enabling drivers to move forward through the field. Pit road visits can be an opportunity for teams to pick up spots, but mistakes there will quickly erase any gains made on the track. Stopping under green will mean losing laps to the leaders, and drivers could get stuck there due to the risk of an untimely caution. Restarts will also be key, but fantasy players should focus their roster selections on the top 10 starters.
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)
Three of the last five Martinsville races have been won by Truex (DK $11,500, FD $14,000). The former series champ is winless thus far in 2022 and will come into this week's race feeling like the Richmond win escaped him. He finished in the top five in four of the last five Martinsville races, too. Byron (DK $9,500, FD $10,500) got his weekend off to a nice start by winning the Trucks Series race Thursday night. That could be a preview of what he will do in the Cup car Saturday. He is another one who will be feeling like last week should have been a win. Kevin Harvick (DK $8,400, FD $9,300) was also in the mix at Richmond, earning his first top-five of the season. Last week's runner-up finish could mean he is back and ready to win for the second time at this track. Chase Briscoe (DK $8,200, FD $8,300) hasn't finished in the top 10 since his win at Phoenix, but he had a confidence boosting 11th-place run last week. He has two series starts at Martinsville but hasn't finished in the top 20 in either. Last week's effort is an indication that could change Saturday. The last two races have been a bit if a step backward for Daniel Suarez (DK $6,800, FD $6,300). He hasn't had the best record at Martinsville recently but does have two prior top-10s and a car that can win races. This could be a good week to reintroduce him to fantasy lineups. While Harrison Burton (DK $5,600, FD $3,000) hasn't come out of the gate swinging in his Cup Series career, his price this week appears to be a bargain. He enters this weekend with two consecutive top-20s and won the spring Xfinity Martinsville race last season.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Another mistake thwarted Kyle Busch's (DK $10,000, FD $12,000) chances at victory last week at Richmond. Nonetheless, he battled back and still walked away with a top-10 finish. That result reversed a two-race skid and sets him up nicely for a run this weekend at what could be his third Martinsville win. He also finished third Thursday night in the Trucks race. Bowman (DK $9,300, FD $10,200) snatched victory at Martinsville last fall having led just nine laps. That finish was his third top-10 at the track in the last four and he finished eighth on Richmond's short track last week. Ross Chastain (DK $8,800, FD $9,000) has yet to score any top-10s at Martinsville, but one could argue this is an entirely different Chastain than the past. He has been in the mix for wins nearly every race this year, won at Circuit of the Americas, and should be set to better his best Martinsville finish of 17th this week. Tyler Reddick (DK $8,600, FD $8,500) makes a strong case for inclusion in fantasy rosters this week. He scored his first Martinsville top-10 last season and has two other top-20s at the track from four series starts. He finished 12th last week at Richmond and should be expected to be a top-10 contender this week. Erik Jones (DK $7,100, FD $7,000) proved he has short track speed by qualifying fifth last week. He enters Martinsville with an eighth-place finish from the fall race last season and will be looking to convert his single-lap pace from last week into a top finish this week. Cole Custer (DK $6,100, FD $4,500) makes his case for inclusion in the higher-risk lineup with two top-20s from four series starts at the track. A top-20 finish Saturday would continue his three-race streak of improving finishes each week, too.