The NASCAR Sprint Cup series returns to the east for the 33rd race of the season, the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. NASCAR Fantasy expert Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, October 3, 1:13 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 80; wind out of the SW at 8 mph. There is a 10 percent chance of precipitation.
The Track: The Half Mile Paperclip
Martinsville Speedway is a half mile paperclip shaped track with intermediate 12 degree banking on the turns. It is a smaller version of New Hampshire Motor Speedway so teams often use the same car and a similar setup at both tracks. Drivers that are successful at Phoenix and NHMS often run well at Martinsville.
Key to Race: ANOTHER CHEVY WIN?
Chevrolet has won 9 of the last 11 races at Martinsville and is poised to be fast again this visit. Jimmie Johnson has won eight times at the short oval and is the favorite to take home his ninth grandfather clock this visit. His top competition this week will be Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano.
Round of 8 Standings:
Joey Logano 4000 points
Jimmie Johnson 4000 points
Kevin Harvick 4000 points
Matt Kenseth 4000 points
Carl Edwards 4000 points
Denny Hamlin 4000 points
Kurt Busch 4000 points
Kyle Busch 4000 points
41 cars will attempt to qualify for 40 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has eight career wins at Martinsville. The No. 48 team could be headed back to Victory Lane to claim yet another grandfather clock.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won at M’ville las spring and has been great on flat-tracks during his career. He should have the No. 11 inside the top five when the checkers fly.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick notched a top 10 finish at Martinsville in both races last year. He should be in the mix for the win.
6 to 10
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. ran well at Martinsville last year. He is a nice second driver in all leagues this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished fifth at M’ville this spring. We like his chances this trip to Virginia.
No. 88 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has nine career wins at Martinsville. Use him in all leagues.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards has cracked the top 10 in just six of the last 16 races at Martinsville. There are better choices for your fantasy team this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon ran terrific at Martinsville earlier this season. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth had just three top five finishes in 30 Cup starts at Martinsville prior to his third place finish last spring. He is just a good choice this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: “Smoke” is usually very fast at M’ville. He is a nice pick this weekend.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman won the 2012 spring race at M’ville and has qualified inside the top 10 in 20 of his 28 Cup starts at the track. He should be near the front all day.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson finished third at M’ville earlier this year. He is someone to use in all leagues.
No. 24 Chase Elliott: Elliott has struggled in his first couple Cup starts at M’ville. There are better choices this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in 15 of his 27 career Martinsville starts (including a second place finish last fall). This is a nice weekend to use the No. 1 car.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger took second at M’ville earlier this year. He is a nice sleeper pick.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 59 laps in 24 career starts at Martinsville. He is just a third driver this weekend.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears was terrific at M’ville last year. We like him as a sleeper pick.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard
No. 16 Greg Biffle
No. 10 Danica Patrick
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 6 Trevor Bayne
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 43 Aric Almirola
No. 23 David Ragan
No. 15 Clint Bowyer
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 98 Cole Whitt
No. 34 Chris Buescher
No. 7 Regan Smith
No. 30 Gray Gaulding
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 55 Reed Sorenson
No. 44 Brian Scott
No. 83 Dylan Lupton
No. 93 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 32 Jeffery Earnhardt
No. 38 Landon Cassill
My NASCAR LIVE Team for this Week:
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Tony Stewart
C. Jeff Gordon