Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500
The key to great NASCAR DFS lineups this week at Martinsville is maximizing the number of laps led in your lineups.
It's a 500-lap race, meaning there are 50.0 FanDuel points available for laps led. As noted in this week's track preview, the two perfect lineups last year at Martinsville contained an average of 365.5 laps led across the five drivers. You don't generally get that via just one driver in this current rules package. You need at least two guys with laps-led upside, and often three are needed to take down a tourney.
That's all well and good. Knowing the strategy we need to deploy is a plus. But we still gotta figure out who will lead those laps.
Lucky for us, Martinsville is a track where the cream tends to rise to the top. Over the past two seasons, six drivers have led more than 70 laps at Martinsville. All but one of them had a projected average running position better than 10.5 in my model. Only six drivers meet that mark for this week.
If we widen the scope, 15 drivers have led double-digit laps. All of them had a projected average running position of 14th or better, a mark just 12 drivers meet for Saturday.
In other words, there's generally a small pool of drivers who will realistically dominate the race, and data can give us a good idea of who those drivers will be. Although it's a tough task to identify who will run out front, we've got the necessary tools.
The data sheet below attempts to give you those tools.
The current form section includes the three races this year that have used the 750-horsepower package that will be in place this weekend. It also filters in Atlanta because driver skill matters extra there due to the heavy tire wear. There's almost no tire wear at Martinsville, but the driver-centric nature of the track bumps it up. The two 2020 races at Phoenix and Richmond are the most recent non-Martinsville races at short, flat tracks.
As always, the numbers here are average running positions rather than finishes. In last fall's race, Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000) led 129 laps and was out front with less than 50 laps left. But shortly after Chase Elliott ($13,500) passed him for the lead, Truex had to pit for a loose tire and finished 22nd. His fourth-place average running position is a much better indicator of his speed in that race.
The other numbers listed are each driver's starting position, FanDuel salary, and win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. The win odds are in fractional form, so Truex being listed at 4.5 means he's +450 to win.
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$4,500||150||6||11||14||12||23||22||18||21||21||19||24|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$14,000||4.5||7||2||9||6||7||13||6||4||8||1||7|
It should be obvious why Truex is the favorite. He has won two of the past three Martinsville races and has had a top-eight average running position in nine straight. He's a prime lap-leading option. The other group that stands out is the Team Penske trio.
In last year's two Martinsville races, the worst finish between Brad Keselowski ($13,000), Joey Logano ($12,000), and Ryan Blaney ($11,500) was fourth. Blaney was runner-up in both races. We've seen this type of performance at other short, flat tracks, as well, as Penske seemed to zero in on that archetype to maximize their championship odds at Phoenix. Logano and Blaney come with non-restrictive salaries, so this is a stable to target once again.
A couple mid-range drivers with strong histories at Martinsville are Alex Bowman ($9,500) and Kurt Busch ($9,000). Both had top-10 average running positions in each of last year's races. Neither was particularly impressive at Phoenix (though Bowman rallied from a spin to finish 13th), so we don't want to go too nuts, but they could be outlets for place-differential.
The final driver to note here is Bubba Wallace ($7,000). Wallace has had a top-12 average running position three times since the start of 2019. Two of them were this year, including two weeks ago at Bristol. The other was the spring Martinsville race last year when he posted an 11th-place finish. Wallace won at Martinsville in the Camping World Truck Series in both his age-19 and age-20 seasons, and he's in the best Cup Series equipment he has had here. Starting back in 25th, Wallace is a salary-saver with a path to a solid fantasy output.