The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves back to Martinsville Speedway for the 33rd race of the season, the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 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, Nov. 1; 1:28 p.m./et.
Weather: Showers with a high around 61; wind out of the SW at 8 mph. There is a 80 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 NHMS often run well at Martinsville.
Key to Race: JIMMIE, JEFF, and DENNY
NASCAR returns to Martinsville a track that heavily relies on driver skill. At Martinsville often the driver can make more of a difference than the car. That being said Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin have combined to win 19 of the last 23 races at the track. This threesome will obviously be a factor in the race, but with Gordon the lone member of the threesome remaining in the Chase there are better options.
43 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 22 Joey Logano: Wow is all we can say about how Logano has driven lately. The only way he doesn’t crack the top five is if another driver takes him out.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch won at Martinsville last spring. He is a great choice this weekend.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick notched a top 10 finish at Martinsville earlier this year. He has driven great the last month and should be in the mix for the win.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished second at M’ville this spring. We like his chances this trip to Virginia.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has been one of the most consistent drivers in NASCAR since July. He is a great choice again this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has eight career wins at Martinsville. He could crack the top five and it would be great to see him win.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won at M’ville earlier this year and has been great on flat-tracks during his career. He should have the No. 11 inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth had just three top five finishes in 29 Cup starts at Martinsville prior to his third place finish this spring. He is a good choice this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson also has eight career wins at Martinsville. The No. 48 team could be headed back to Victory Lane to claim yet another one of Martinsville’s Grandfather Clocks.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. ran well at Martinsville earlier this year. He is a nice second driver in all leagues this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards cracked the top 10 in just five of the last 14 races at Martinsville. With how well he has driven in the Chase he should have no issue accomplishing it once again.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won last fall’s race at M’ville and has finished in the top seven in 16 of his 31 career starts at the track. He should finish just outside top 10 finish this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 11 in 13 of his last 17 starts at Martinsville. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman won the 2012 spring race at M’ville and has qualified inside the top 10 in 18 of his 26 Cup starts at the track. He should be near the front all day.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 59 laps in 22 career starts at Martinsville. He is just a third driver this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in 14 of his 25 career Martinsville starts. This is a nice weekend to use the No. 1 car.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: A-Dub has run strong at M’ville in the past. He is an option in all leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson, missed the spring race at M’ville after a brief illness. He has struggled at the track so far during his career. There are better weekends to use the talented youngster.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: “Smoke” has captured the Martinsville Clock three times in his career and eaten enough Martinsville hot dogs to feed a small country. He will eat plenty of the hot dogs this weekend, even if they are no longer Jesse Jones brand, but he is a risky pick to visit victory lane.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has just five top 10 finishes in 24 career starts at Martinsville. There are far better weekends to use The Biff.
21 to 30
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick had one of the best runs of her career at M’ville this spring. She is a nice sleeper choice.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears was terrific at M’ville earlier this year. We like him as a sleeper pick.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: The No. 3 drove well at M’ville last season, but struggled with his equipment this spring. He is just a sleeper choice as a third driver in very deep leagues.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne’s top finish at M’ville is 18th. He will be doing well to match that finish this trip to the track.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has struggled the past month of the season. There are better options this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 21st place finish at Martinsville during his career. He is worth using in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was a disaster at Martinsville this spring. He is a poor option.
No. 55 David Ragan: Ragan has had past success at Martinsville. He is a fine choice as a fifth driver.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish has been below average at Martinsville for most of his career. We expect the trend will continue.
No. 35 Cole Whitt: Whitt has driven well the past month and has had respectable finishes at The Ville.
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 83 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 98 Ryan Preece
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 33 Alex Kennedy
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 23 Jeb Burton
No. 26 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Kyle Fowler
No. 62 Timmy Hill
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Joey Logano
B. Kurt Busch