NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Every week, in addition to this helper, we have a current form and stats breakdown to dive deeper into this weekend's action. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite slate for this rare Wednesday night NASCAR Cup Series event.
Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. jostled back and forth at the front at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, but it was Harvick that got the last laugh. The +430 favorite cashed by leading 151 laps in a dominant performance. He'll try to keep it up at Martinsville Speedway, which is NASCAR's return to Wednesday night racing. This flat, half-mile paper clip shaped oval, always leads to plenty of contact in 500 laps.
Because this is a different track than Atlanta, the order was determined by a tiered draw instead of Sunday's finishing positions. However, the pit stall selection on this narrow pit road was determined by Sunday's finishing order, so winner Kevin Harvick will have the prime first pit stall.
With that, let's preview the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on FanDuel:
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): Truex is the obvious building block here given his performance last fall, where he led 464 of 500 laps the last time the sport visited Martinsville. He's also had a track record of success much longer than that, with five straight top-ten finishes, four of which were top-fives. He will not have to go far to find the front, starting 5th, and it is important to isolate 2 or 3 drivers like Truex at the front of this player pool, because in the last two races at Martinsville with a similar aero package, one driver led over 400 of the 500 laps in both of them. Finding that dominant vehicle will be critical, and MTJ is as good a candidate as any.
Joey Logano ($12,000): If you believe in superstition, the car that started 3rd in the race at Martinsville in 2019 led 910 of the 1000 laps run. All joking aside, real data also favors Logano at one of his strongest tracks. The two-time winner so far in 2020 led 318 laps in a win here in October 2018, and his teammate Brad Keselowski ($13,500) led 446 the following spring. Logano is only $12,000, which is on the lower end of potential lap leaders in this event, but will have quick access to the front starting on the inside line in third. Logano has had an average running position of no worse than 11th in the last two years at this track, so he knows it well, and will look to lead a lap (and several more) for the sixth straight event.
Ryan Blaney ($11,500): Track position is always helpful, but especially at such a small track that is brutally difficult to pass, it means everything. No driver will start with a better position than Blaney, and he is the key cornerstone of a lineup for several reasons. Even before the draw, Blaney was in consideration because he has finished, and had an average running position, inside the top-5 in three of the last four races at "The Paper Clip". Blaney is in excellent form as well recently, with three top-5s in his last four events in 2020. Given that he will all but certainly have the lead exiting Turn 2 on the first lap, and his teammates have recently dominated here, Blaney is in a prime spot at a price tag that is very manageable.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,200): No active driver has more historical success at Martinsville than Johnson, who's 9 wins are his second-most at any track (11 at Dover), but as with most of his career, it has been much tougher sledding at Martinsville recently. The cause for optimism with Johnson is that, with Hendrick Motorsports having led a lap in every event in 2020, his race cars have returned to the speed and form that led to so much historical success. Johnson will be popular on FanDuel, starting 21st, and will look to continue his hot streak--finishing 11th or better in four of his last five, with the only exception being a disqualification he crossed the line 2nd in. With a machine finally to his liking, do not count out Johnson to make noise for a win at one of his best circuits.
Christopher Bell ($7,000): Normally, there would be a tremendous concern starting the rookie at a track this difficult, and a same-price pivot is available with Ryan Newman ($7,000), who has a great record here as well. But Christopher Bell has finally begun to stabilize in his first Cup season, averaging a 13.6 place finish in his last five events with Levine Family Racing, aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. As well as he has been running, he should easily ascend through the field from a deep 32nd. Historically, pass differential has been risky to hunt at Martinsville due to the possibility of going a lap down, but due to NASCAR's COVID-19 procedures including an early competition caution at every event, Bell will be up with similar speed cars at the end of that yellow flag.
Ryan Preece ($5,500): Same situation here for the Connecticut native Preece, who is starting a deep 28th in the field as well, but that gives him a higher floor and ceiling from that far back on the grid. Preece has excelled at short tracks in his young NASCAR career, posting five top-20s in seven short track races, including 12th two weeks ago at Bristol. With a background in modified cars, that comes as no surprise, as the regional NASCAR touring series actually runs races at Martinsville and other flat short tracks across the Eastern United States. Those laps on the track already have paid dividends for Preece in his NASCAR career so far, and firing him into your lineup here gives plenty of salary flexibility to hunt potential dominant cars.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.