With it being more than a half-century since the Cup Series held a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, we should have expected a few surprises. And that is what we would get on Monday night. An early three-car crash involving Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell essentially wiped out the two main favorites, leaving the field wide open. Joey Logano with his limited dirt tracking experience would instead take the initiative, beating out both Denny Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr on the final restart. It’s not very often you’ll see Logano cashing out as a 30/1 underdog, but he was able to come through.
We now move on from Bristol and travel to Martinsville, Virginia for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. Looking at the track specs for Martinsville Speedway, it is a 0.5 mile, oval track. Known by many NASCAR followers as the Paperclip, it’s the shortest track in the series. Drivers will need to be patient with slower cars (as it’s quite easy to make enemies at this event).
A 263-mile track, the race requires 500 laps to complete. With 500 laps to complete, that works out to 125 DK points that will be available. Targeting more than one driver that holds solid lap leading potential will be pivotal. Expect pole-sitter Logano to be a popular pickup this weekend.
This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Martinsville. I’ve broken down the selections between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel and DraftKings. Best of luck to everyone with their lineups this weekend.
Brad Keselowski ( 13,000 FD, 11,000 DK)
Having free fallen from runner up in points to as far back as fifth, Keselowski needs to get himself back on course promptly. Keeping in mind, Keselowski has finished among the top five or better in nine of the last ten Martinsville races (two of those finishes of which were victories). It was also here in the March race of 2019 that Keselowski cleared 446 of the 500 laps. So he should offer that dominator capability in spades.
He will be starting on the fifth row and shouldn’t need a lot of time in which to forge ahead quickly. Penske hasn’t let him down here in the past so don’t expect that to suddenly change now. If you like the Penske camp as a whole this weekend, stack him with pole-sitter Joey Logano on a few of your potential rosters.
Chase Elliott (13,500 FD, 11,400 DK)
Still looking for that first win of the season, Elliott now comes up on the paper clip. It was here in November that Elliott qualified for the Championship four after winning in dominating fashion. He’d finish a stellar 6.577 seconds clear of the runner-up and led 236 of the 500 laps. In case you might be wondering if that performance may have been a fluke of sorts, consider his five races leading up to it. In the five prior Martinsville races, Elliott had already piled up four finishes among the top nine placements.
With Elliot slated to start on the third row, he will be a strong candidate to gain quick points through laps led and fastest lap. Already seven races in, and Elliott sits second among drivers in both quality passes and pass differential. Having just the single second-place run back in February, he is due for a bust-out performance.
Kurt Busch (9,000 FD, 8,900 DK)
For a large portion of Busch cup career Martinsville was not one of his favorite tracks. However, that narrative has since been flipped on its head over the last couple of seasons. After closing out his final year at Stewart-Haas with a pair of solid runs at the paper clip, the consistency would carry over with Chip Ganassi Racing. Following a 12th place run here in his debut as a Ganassi driver, Busch has finished top nine or better each of the last three visits (combining for an average finish of 8th).
With a 21st place qualifying position for Saturday, Busch makes for an enticing place differential play. He also offers you a little bit of value in terms of the fastest lap, having already racked up 47 of them in the early going.
Aric Almirola (7,700 FD, 8,100 DK)
Coming off a crash out last race in part due to an unfortunate spin out, Almirola is another driver that didn’t have great luck in Bristol. Because of the wreck, Almirola qualified just outside the top 30 for Saturday night. He’s always shown good speed here in the past, so I expect to see him crack that top 16 at some point. Up until the changeover to random draw, Almirola had qualified among the top-five in three straight attempts.
His most recent visit to Martinsville was back in November, in which Almirola finished high as seventh. It was a nice response following his 33rd place run here the visit prior (which was mainly due to a battery failure). After leaving owners high and dry last race, this is an opportunity for Almirola to repay the disillusioned. I would consider taking a flier on the Stewart-Haas wheelman.
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