Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
Before Sunday's race in Atlanta, our data was plentiful and magnificent. We had three races each at 1.5-mile tracks and tracks with heavy tire wear, giving us a good sample of whom we should expect to compete in the race.
Wednesday night's race in Martinsville is on the other end of the spectrum.
Although this is the 11th race of the NASCAR Cup Series season, it's just the third to run a lower-downforce rules package, implemented during the offseason to make races at shorter tracks less of a snoozefest than they were last year.
For one of the first two races, the Cup Series was in Bristol. Although Bristol and Martinsville are both about a half-mile in length, they couldn't be more different. Bristol is high-banked, concrete, and fast. Martinsville is a flat paperclip where the pole speed for last year's fall race was 97.840 miles per hour. That's more than 30 miles per hour slower than the pole speed in Bristol that fall.
The only other race thus far at a slow, flat track was in Phoenix, the final race before the COVID-19 layoff. That will give us at least some read on which cars should be fast on Sunday. But if we're comparing this to the data we had entering Atlanta, it's clear we are at a relative disadvantage.
For once, this may allow us to put more weight on track history than we usually would. If the current form data isn't as good, then it makes sense we could shift at least some additional attention toward track history.
That shows up when looking back to last year. For the first Martinsville race, the track history section of my model had the fifth-highest correlation to each driver's average running position that it had the entire season. It was also one of only a handful of races where the track history section out-performed the current form section. Here, the anecdote and the data both say we can allow ourselves to put more weight in track history than usual.
As such, that data is listed below on the far right-hand side of the table. Each number listed is the driver's average running position from that race rather than their finish.
Denny Hamlin ($12,000 on FanDuel) is a good example of why we should do this. In the spring 2018 race, Hamlin finished 12th, which is just all right. But when you dig in, you can see that he won the opening stage of that race, led 111 laps, and had a sixth-place average running position. He had a car capable of winning the race, but his finish doesn't reflect that, pushing us toward looking at average running positions rather than finishes.
The current form data is the five most recent races (all of which have occurred since the end of the COVID-19 layoff) and the race in Phoenix. This should show us both who is running best right now and who was good on the circuit's other short, flat track thus far. We'll want to put less weight on it than usual, but it's still valuable info to have.
The drivers are sorted by where they will start in Wednesday night's race. As outlined in this week's track preview, starting position is crucial in determining which drivers pair well together and which do not. You'll want to see where your favorite drivers for the race are starting, lock them in, and then see which other drivers best complement that selection.
The final two pieces of data are each driver's FanDuel salary and their win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Tuesday morning. The win odds can tell you which drivers have the upside to win the race and lead laps and which may be best suited as being a place-differential driver within your lineup.
|Atlanta||Bristol||Charlotte 2||Charlotte 1||Darlington 2||Phoenix||2019|
|Martin Truex, Jr.||$14,000||5||550||3||12||18||3||7||11||1||7||8||7|
|Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||$6,200||17||12000||14||23||11||23||28||22||19||24||21||36|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$5,500||18||20000||25||16||16||21||38||20||--||--||--||--|
By looking at the data, you should be able to identify drivers who fit into each of the key buckets we need for tournament-winning lineups. It's a race where there will be can't-miss drivers, which is always a scary proposition, but this data should at least lend a hand in helping pinpoint who is most likely to be that key piece.