RaceDayScore NASCAR: Goody's Fast Relief 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Goody's Fast Relief 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

Goody's Fast Relief 500

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

Race Preview

Joey Logano led the field to the checkered flag Sunday at Talladega to secure his spot among the final eight drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. His teammate Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. both suffered mechanical failures in the race, ending their championship hopes, while Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon also came up short on points. The final elimination round, to determine which four drivers will vie for the title in Homestead, begins this week in Martinsville. The Chase contenders press the restart button, and will work to avoid the slipups that cost so many in the last round. Pressure will continue to grow as Homestead approaches, and the tight confines of Martinsville Speedway will help ratchet up the intensity.

Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway

Number of previous races: 135
Winners from pole: 21
Winners from top-5 starters: 70
Winners from top-10 starters: 97
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
Fastest race: 82.223 mph

Last 10 Martinsville Winners

2016 spring - Kyle Busch
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

While drafting and horsepower were key factors last week in Talladega, handling and brakes will be the focus in Martinsville. The tight circuit demands heavy braking into the turns with careful balancing of the throttle through the apex to maximize grip onto the straights. The short track creates seemingly never ending traffic with cars strung around the circuit throughout the race. The bottom line closest to the curb is where the most grip is, and drivers who find themselves on the outside will have to work extra hard to maintain position until finding an opportunity to move back to the inside. Mechanical issues likely will come in the form of brakes and tires this week, and careful management of the two could make the difference between a visit to Victory Lane and a frustrating afternoon.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,500
Jimmie Johnson - $11,200
Kyle Busch - $11,200

Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $10,900
Kurt Busch - $10,700
Ryan Newman - $10,600
Chase Elliott - $10,500

Tier 3 Values

Ryan Blaney - $9,900
Kyle Larson - $9,900
Trevor Bayne - $9,400
Danica Patrick - $9,100

Long-Shot Values

David Ragan - $8,500
Cole Whitt - $8,100
Chris Buescher - $8,000

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,500
Kyle Busch - $11,200
Joey Logano - $11,000
Jeff Gordon - $10,600
Cole Whitt - $8,100
Michael Annett - $7,500

Harvick knows how to advance in the knockout Chase format, and that ability has seen him through to the final eight. He also has three top-10 finishes in the last five Martinsville races. Busch has an excellent opportunity to advance to Homestead by winning this week. He won at the track earlier this season in dominating fashion. He led 352 of the 500 laps, and has momentum on his side with four top-10 finishes in the most recent five races. Logano also makes a top choice for this week's lower-risk lineup. The Penske Racing driver won last week in Talladega and started from pole the last three visits to this track. He has also led 435 laps in the last five Martinsville races. This week's race presents one of the final opportunities for Gordon to cement his legacy. He is a nine-time Martinsville victor and is the defending champion of this week's race. Whitt may not be a name that pops to the top of consideration for fantasy owners each week, but he's worthy of consideration this week. He has two top-20 finishes in six career races, and improved his finishing position from the start five out of six times.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $11,200
Denny Hamlin - $10,900
Tony Stewart - $10,800
Kurt Busch - $10,700
David Ragan - $8,500
Michael McDowell - $7,600

The higher-risk lineup for this week's race starts with Johnson. Martinsville shouldn't be considered a higher-risk circuit for Johnson, though. He has eight track wins, but his latest was three years ago. He hasn't led laps at the track since 2014, but he's among the final eight drivers in the Chase this season. That championship motivation could push him back to his top form on one of his best tracks. Hamlin squeaked through the last round of the Chase on a tiebreaker with Dillon but he is also a five-time Martinsville winner. He crashed out of the race here earlier this year, but he can usually be relied upon as a top fantasy option at the short oval. Stewart has two top-10s in his last three Martinsville tries and is also a three-time winner there. Stewart's teammate Kurt Busch has been a bit inconsistent here but does have two victories and led at least 20 laps in four of the last five races at the track. With two top-10s in the last four Martinsville races, Ragan is worthy of consideration this week, and McDowell, with two top-20s in the last three races, joins the lineup as well.

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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