The NASCAR Sprint Cup series returns to the east for the sixth race of the season, the STP 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, April 3, 1:13 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 61; wind out of the NW at 12 mph. There is a ZERO 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 10 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 Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano.
40 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. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won the fall 2014 race at M’ville and has finished in the top seven in 17 of his 32 career starts at the track. He is a great choice.
No. 24 Chase Elliott: The 24 car was very, very successful at M’ville with Jeff Gordon behind the wheel. Elliott looks to continue the success. He should have the No. 24 back inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
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 second at M’ville last spring. We like his chances this trip to Virginia.
11 to 20
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. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards has cracked the top 10 in just five of the last 15 races at Martinsville. There are better choices for your fantasy team this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in 15 of his 26 career Martinsville starts (including a second place finish last fall). This is a nice weekend to use the No. 1 car.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman won the 2012 spring race at M’ville and has qualified inside the top 10 in 19 of his 27 Cup starts at the track. He should be near the front all day.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon is off to a fantastic start to the 2016 season. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 59 laps in 23 career starts at Martinsville. He is just a third driver this weekend.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: A-Dub is off to a fast start to the 2016 season and has run strong at M’ville in the past. He is an option in all leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson, missed last year’s 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 him.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has is off to a fast start to the season and he has had past success at M’ville.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears was terrific at M’ville last year. We like him as a sleeper pick.
21 to 30
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
No. 27 Paul Menard
No. 10 Danica Patrick
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 6 Trevor Bayne
No. 7 Regan Smith
No. 14 Brian Vickers
No. 15 Clint Bowyer
No. 44 Brian Scott
No. 38 Landon Cassill
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 23 David Ragan
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 34 Chris Buescher
No. 55 Reed Sorenson
No. 83 Matt DiBendetto
No. 30 Josh Wise
No. 32 Joey Gase
No. 98 Cole Whitt
My NASCAR LIVE Team for this Week:
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Ryan Newman