Loading scores...
Cap Considerations

Caps After Martinsville

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Similarly-configured, 1.5- and two-mile courses make up about 36 percent of NASCAR’s circuit. Toss in the short, flat tracks and that number rises to nearly 60 percent, so it should come as no surprise that these courses dominate the start of the season. It should also be unsurprising that salary caps take big swings when drivers perform well on them.

On the strength of solid runs last week and during the first part of the season, three drivers experienced 50 cent increases. Two dropped by 50 cents, and altogether more than two-thirds of the field underwent a salary adjustment. The complete list is below.

The STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway was a big test for Austin Dillon. He started the season with a sweep of the top-11 positions until broken equipment on his final stop at Auto Club Speedway put an end to his streak. That particular short track has not been kind to him in the past, so there was an open question about whether he could rebound. He did. Dillon ran with the leader most of the afternoon and finished among the top 10. His journey to the front was not without drama as he and teammate Paul Menard got into a shoving match midway through the event. Still, Dillon increased in value to $20.75, while Menard advanced 25 cents to $22.25.

AJ Allmendinger told reporters after the STP 500 that he was not proud of his frustration last year. Success is the best revenge, and the only way to get over his bad feeling is to run with the leaders. Allmendinger finished second with what was probably only a top-10 car at Martinsville and sheer grit and determination raised his salary cap to $14.25 in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

Another driver who had an overdue taste of success was Brian Vickers. On the heels of a top-15 at Auto Club, the cap manager needed to wait a week to see if his success was the sign of overall improvement between the driver and team, or a one-time bump. Vickers not only finished in the top 10 on the short track, he had a strong run from the start until finish of the STP 500. He also posted solid speeds in every practice and qualification. He deserved a raise, and if the stays in the car for long, he will almost certainly be worth more than $13.

Of course, NASCAR is a zero sum game. For one driver to advance, another must fall. That was the case at the top of the order as Kyle Busch increased to $28 with Kevin Harvick dropping a quarter to $27.75. But it was also seen throughout the field with 13 drivers increasing in value compared to 14 who fell.

The biggest loser once more was Clint Bowyer. He dropped 50 cents to $17.25 and his adjustments are probably not complete. Since the start of the season, he has lost $2.75. Martinsville is a driver’s track, so there was a chance Bowyer would overcome the malaise that has affected the No. 15 team. His inability to do so does not bode well for the future. Texas Motor Speedway is a horsepower and handling track. This team seems to be lacking in both.

Kasey Kahne had another frustrating weekend. He began with promise on the outside pole, but quickly fell back. He lost a lap he was never able to regain and finished a disappointing 22nd. He lost 20 place-differential points in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game, which cost players a lot of points. That was the fourth time in five unrestricted races this season he has cost players in that regard and it is fair to assume the trend will continue.

 

Gainers and Losers this week

Driver

Diff

 |

This week’s Cap

Gainers

Austin Dillon

 $     0.50

 |

 $    20.75

AJ Allmendinger

 $     0.50

 |

 $    14.25

Brian Vickers

 $     0.50

 |

 $    13.00

Kyle Busch

 $     0.25

 |

 $    28.00

Brad Keselowski

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Carl Edwards

 $     0.25

 |

 $    27.00

Matt Kenseth

 $     0.25

 |

 $    26.00

Paul Menard

 $     0.25

 |

 $    22.25

Kyle Larson

 $     0.25

 |

 $    21.25

Ryan Blaney

 $     0.25

 |

 $    17.25

Danica Patrick

 $     0.25

 |

 $    12.00

Michael McDowell

 $     0.25

 |

 $      8.25

Landon Cassill

 $     0.25

 |

 $      8.00

Losers

Kevin Harvick

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    27.75

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.75

Denny Hamlin

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.50

Martin Truex Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    26.00

Jamie McMurray

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.00

Aric Almirola

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    22.00

Greg Biffle

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    20.75

Trevor Bayne

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    17.00

Brian Scott

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.25

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    14.00

Casey Mears

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $    12.50

Chris Buescher

 $    (0.25)

 |

 $      6.50

Kasey Kahne

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    21.25

Clint Bowyer

 $    (0.50)

 |

 $    17.25

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.