RaceDayScore NASCAR: STP 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: STP 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

STP 500

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

Race Preview

Jimmie Johnson took advantage of fresh tires and a green-white-checkered finish to become the first multiple winner in 2016 at California. The race was dominated by Kevin Harvick until that final restart. He lost the lead in the pits after second-place Kyle Busch set up the overtime finish when he blew a tire (the second of the weekend for him). This week the series heads to its first short-track in Martinsville, Virginia. The teams are refreshed after a week off following their three-race West Coast venture. Business is back in full force this week, though. With 500 hard laps staring drivers in the faces, Martinsville can be one of the most intimidating circuits on the calendar. The track has flat turns and a lot of NASCAR history, which the drivers will be chasing as they work to capture a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a win this weekend.

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 Speedway is one of the most famous short-tracks on the NASCAR schedule. The circuit's abrasive surface, long straights and tight turns make for some of the closest racing we see all season. Driver put their cars through the ringer on this track, needing to put the power down out of the tight turns only to slam on the brakes to make passes at the end of the straights. The paperclip shape of the course makes passing easiest on the inside as drivers out-brake one another, making track position another key to victory with such limited racetrack for so many cars. Getting stuck on the outside will likely not yield the fastest lap, so where cars line up for restarts and how quickly they can move to the bottom groove will be an important thing to watch.

(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $12,200
Kyle Busch - $12,100
Denny Hamlin - $12,000

Tier 2 Values

Joey Logano - $11,800
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $11,600
Brad Keselowski - $11,400
Kurt Busch - $11,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,000

Tier 3 Values

Ryan Newman - $10,800
Jamie McMurray - $10,700
Matt Kenseth - $10,600
Austin Dillon - $10,400

Long-Shot Values

Kyle Larson - $9,200
David Ragan - $8,900
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $8,900
Chris Buescher - $8,000


Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $12,200
Denny Hamlin - $12,000
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $11,600
Landon Cassill - $8,100
Cole Whitt - $8,100
Chris Buescher - $8,000

The lower-risk roster option for Martinsville rests heavily on the top Martinsville racers. Johnson, Hamlin and Earnhardt dominate the salary space, but claim 14 track wins among them. Johnson is the first two-race winner in 2016, and Hamlin has consecutive third-place finishes in the last two races. Earnhardt sits ninth in points and won at this track in 2014. Landon Cassill and Cole Whitt don't boast as much Martinsville success as the first trio, but both are coming off of their best results of the season in California. Whitt also has two top-20s in his last three Martinsville races. The 2015 Xfinity champion Buescher ran to a 24th-place finish in this race last year and has a better opportunity to leverage his talent at Martinsville than the other tracks we've visited so far.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $11,800
Matt Kenseth - $10,600
Greg Biffle - $10,100
Kasey Kahne - $9,900
Brian Vickers - $9,400
Michael Annett - $7,800

The Martinsville higher-risk lineup was a tough one to settle. Logano is a top fantasy option having led more than 100 laps in both of his last two stops at the track. Matt Kenseth is also a top option considering he has four top-10 Martinsville finishes from his last five but has been the victim of persistent bad luck so far this season. Martinsville has been a good place for Biffle in the past, but he hasn't found success there since Roush Fenway Racing started their downturn two seasons ago. He's also underperforming so far in 2016 relative to this week's price, but is still capable of springing forward at this track. The Hendrick Motorsports team has been very strong so far this year, and Kahne is seeing the top-10 more frequently than last year. Brian Vickers is another driver capable of beating expectations. He has only raced in two of the last five Martinsville events but is in superior machinery and can be counted on for a top-15. Finally, Michael Annett has finished better than where he started in all but one race so far this season, which earns fantasy players valuable points in this format.

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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