Perhaps there is not a tougher track on brakes or rookies drivers than Martinsville Speedway. Considering the 500 paper clip shaped laps there is ample opportunity for costly mistakes. Typically younger drivers are slower to learn the rolling nuances of Martinsville in comparison to other tracks on the schedule. These issues and many others can come up for any driver but inexperienced racers seem to find trouble more predictably at Martinsville.
With qualifying rained out we have two very young drivers lined up on the front row. K. Larson is quickly proving that he is ready for primetime but this week is a major challenge for both him and Elliott. One major factor that will undoubtedly assist Elliott and especially Larson on race day is their choice of the first two pit stalls. Martinsville is full of trouble on Pit row even beyond the speeding penalties when considering the tight blind corners along with cars entering and exiting together. Some of the Martinsville Masters (#11, #18, #20, and #48) will have to come from a minimum of tenth starting spot in order to get the win. Regardless of the win, most of these drivers will move up through the field in short order which for DFS purposes is a good thing. There are others that will likely move up but probably not be in final contention for the Grandfather Clock.
Like every other track there are hazards at Martinsville to deal with for the driver and the mechanics of the car itself. Beyond these issues sometimes tempers can run hot as we have seen over the years. Keeping this in mind I would not be surprised if a Kyle Busch/Logano incident occurs. Everything is NOT fine with the #18! He is still very bitter and is simply waiting for the right spot or unless he just boils over during a race. You can not predict this type of road rage to occur for DFS or betting purposes however, if playing multiple line-ups sitting (fading) one or both drivers could work out well in a larger tournament setting. They both figure to be highly owned on DraftKings in all formats. These are two of the very best cars this weekend, and if one or both do not live up to expectations than many fantasy owners will be in a bad spot due to their cost.
The expectation is for tight racing throughout the field and two tire stops in order to acquire better track position. Driving with finesse will improve ones chances as the tire has been not giving up as much on the long runs than compared to years past. If the race runs caution free to open, due to the number of laps Larson or Elliott or someone else could really pile up the points. When you add Larson’s pit selection he could come in under yellow in 3rd or 4th place and exit the pits in the lead. This scenario could repeat itself over and over. Larson will not likely have the best car at the beginning of the race but he will have the best track position, and the opportunity with a clean track to earn many points for having the fastest lap times on DraftKings.
DFS – Drivers ranked by DraftKings pricing tiers. Drivers that are not listed below did not make the formula’s cut for performance to value. As always this does not mean that an unlisted driver will not win the race, it simply means that they did not qualify as a selection this week in comparison to fellow priced drivers. Drivers are not listed in any particular order within their respective tier. Notes are establishes so its clear to know where they stand this week. There is ample room in the middle pricing categories to make an excellent team. DO NOT feel compelled to spend every last dollar as this is an outstanding way to create a contrarian line-up in the multiple entry tournaments.
Kyle Busch – He looks like one of the top three cars and has a chance to make up positions. Everything is great!
J. Logano – Outstanding car on long runs, very good starting spot, a little concerned about him and the #18 both being so good, together.
DraftKings $9000 – $10,000
K. Larson – Could lead a whole lot of laps and earn a ton of points, even if he finishes outside the top 5.
B. Keslowski – He has been quietly hot all weekend and is starting top #4 where 47% of the races at Martinsville have been won.
M. Truex Jr. – Not quite as fast as the #2 car but with a top starting spot and at price he is good value.
C. Elliott – Tournament play, would not make the list but has a great starting spot and the public is cold on him. Has the ability to lead laps and improve the car over the course of the race with a pit box advantage.
DraftKings $8000 – $8,900
M. Kenseth – Tournament play, has the chance to make up positions but he has been a little off all year and I am not sure he corrects 100% of it this week.
A.J. Almendinger – Good chance to move up many positions if he can keep the radiator from getting bashed in.
J. McMurray – He is a must play at this price, his starting position, weekend strength, and ability to hit value is one of the very best of the week!
C. Bowyer – Still has some work to do but marginally worth the price overall. Good starting position but he seems to tail off on the long run. He is a major threat to gamble on pit row if needed and make up the vital positions.
DraftKings $7000 – $7,900
R. Blaney – Of the very young drivers he is one that seems to have a good handle on Martinsville. He is well worth the price.
R. Newman – Looking better every week and he is a great bargain based on where this team appears to be is headed. Additionally he already has a win this year and will easily gamble late again to get another win if he needs to. His car has been top #8 all weekend.
A. Dillon – Starting in a spot where he is expected to make up positions.
A. Almirola – Very similar to Dillon above and I think both are good choices at value
DraftKings $6,000 – $6,900
P. Menard – Dicey but excellent value and will likely hold his own.
D. Suarez – Tournament only, fast learner who is working with his old crew chief. This is a real flyer due to the low ownership.
R. Stenhouse – Good car but bad past results at Martinsville. He could turn that around this weekend. Tournament option.
C. Whitt – Impressive lap times and a very good value.
C. Buscher – Starting deep he could gather position points and finish well. Both him and Whitt must avoid pit mistakes in pit boxes that are in excessively difficult areas.
M. DiBenedetto – Very risky.
Wagering – Tough lines once a track like Martinsville has been qualified. I mentioned that earlier in the week getting K. Larson at 12/1 was a good value. He is now 9/1. So the idea is when a track like Martinsville that favors top starting spots, it’s a good idea to make a wager before qualifying to get the best odds. In this case seeing that bad weather was a strong possibility for Friday, it made even more sense to bet him before qualifying got washed out. Please read as not all drivers listed below should be bet on at their current price. As we saw last week there is likely to be large wagers that change the odds between now and race time.
Kyle Busch 9/2 – The odds are too low and I CAN NOT wager on him, there is no value considering the chances for problems both mechanically and mentally. If he floated to 6.5/1 then he hits value to wager. Stay tuned if betting tomorrow.
J. Logano – 13/2, best car on the long runs, great starting spot but he will need to out run the #18 all race.
B. Keslowski – 8/1, very quiet as mentioned but has the tools to win from a great starting spot.
K. Larson – 9/1, he does not have the best car but his pit selection can keep him up front throughout the race.
M. Truex Jr. – 11/1 now, NOT worth this price. Some got him @ 15/1 earlier in the week and that DOES qualify him. Value is right at 12.5/1
J. McMurray – 25/1, this is a great flyer bet as he likely has a top 4 car and the ability to win. This is the fantastic value as he should be 18/1.
R. Newman – 40/1, another great value bet as he has the car and attitude to win again. He has been consistent all weekend.
*UPDATES TO COME AT ANYTIME PRIOR TO RACE*
Stats courtesy of http://www.Driveraverages.com
*As always play DFS and wager per your local laws.