DraftKings NASCAR: STP 500

DraftKings NASCAR: STP 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

STP 500

Location: Martinsville, Va.
Course: Martinsville Speedway
Format: 0.5-mile oval
Laps: 500

Race Preview

A blown front tire knocked Kyle Busch from second position in the Auto Club 400 two weeks ago and set up an overtime finish that saw Jimmie Johnson topple Kevin Harvick for the win. Harvick led more than half of the distance, but couldn't keep pace with Johnson in the final restart of the race. This week Johnson will hope to continue his run of strong finishes at Martinsville Speedway. The first multirace winner in 2016 has eight total Martinsville wins but will have to hold off the other 39 challengers. The circuit is the first short-track race of the 2016 season and follows a week of rest for the drivers and teams after their three-race trip to the West Coast. They'll need that rest since Martinsville is a tough and demanding circuit that forces drivers to navigate traffic and tight corners for 500 grueling laps.

Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway

    Number of previous races: 134
    Winners from pole: 21
    Winners from top-5 starters: 70
    Winners from top-10 starters: 96
    Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
    Fastest race: 82.223 mph

Last 10 Martinsville Winners

2015 fall - Jeff Gordon
2015 spring - Denny Hamlin
2014 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014 spring - Kurt Busch
2013 fall - Jeff Gordon
2013 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2012 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2012 spring - Ryan Newman
2011 fall - Tony Stewart
2011 spring - Kevin Harvick

Martinsville's paperclip shape demands drivers are smooth with plenty of grip coming out of the tight corners. Heavy braking into the turns is where most passes will occur, and that puts a lot of pressure on the equipment. Drivers not careful with their brakes can create enough heat that they'll stop working altogether or melt the bead where the tire meets the wheel, causing a failure. Both problems need to be monitored carefully as the drivers duke it out with one another this Sunday. This short circuit also demands positive track position, which is generally the inside of the turns. Getting stuck on the outside at Martinsville can become a ticket to the back of the field as the line of cars sails past. Restarts and equipment preservation will be factors in determining Sunday's winner.

(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200
Denny Hamlin - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kevin Harvick - $9,900
Kyle Busch - $9,800
Matt Kenseth - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Carl Edwards - $8,700
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Martin Truex Jr. - $8,400
Kasey Kahne - $7,900
Ryan Newman - $7,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Aric Almirola - $6,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,500
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,400
Brian Vickers - $5,500


Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200
Matt Kenseth - $9,700
Aric Almirola - $6,700
Austin Dillon - $6,700
Chris Buescher - $5,900

The low DraftKings pricing scheme this week allows for plenty of top driver options to fit into rosters. Johnson clearly comes to the track on top after picking up his second 2016 win in California, and he has eight career Martinsville wins. This week should be an opportunity for him to score back-to-back victories. Logano scored his third top-10 of the season in California and has led more than 100 laps in each of his last two trips to Martinsville after starting from pole. Logano was taken out of last fall's Martinsville race (while in the lead) by Matt Kenseth. Kenseth has never won at the short oval, but has led in every visit to the track since the fall of 2011 before being parked by NASCAR after his tangle with Logano last year. Almirola is 13th in the points with three top-15 finishes and is fast becoming a reliable fantasy option each week. Dillon's performances so far this season rank among the most impressive in the field, and he should be in line to score his first Martinsville top-10 finish this week. Finally, Buescher has one Sprint Cup appearance at this track and is looking for his first top-15 this year.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $10,100
Kyle Busch - $9,800
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,000
Ryan Newman - $7,300
Paul Menard - $6,500
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,500

By virtue of his past Martinsville success, Hamlin heads the higher-risk lineup this week. He five Martinsville wins with three top-10 finishes in his last four visits. While teammate Busch has never won at the track, this could be his moment. He has narrowly missed out on victory multiple times this season and could be the most hungry this week. Earnhardt has always been a top fantasy option at Martinsville and has four top-10s from his last five stops here. The winner of the 2012 edition of this race, Ryan Newman, has struggled so far in 2016 but has two top-10 finishes in his last three Martinsville tries. To take Menard as your fourth-choice driver is almost lucky considering he can be counted on for top-15s. Lastly, having enough salary room to add in Stenhouse as the final choice makes this a special lineup. Stenhouse finished fifth in California two weeks ago and fourth at Bristol last season (another short track). He hasn't had the same success at Martinsville but he has the best start to 2016 of all Roush Fenway Racing teammates so far.

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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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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