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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: STP 500

This week the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes to Martinsville. The STP 500 will air at 2 PM ET on FS1. The cars will have the same package as what they used at ISM: higher horsepower and no aero ducts.

How you construct your lineup depends partially on whether you play in a cash game (50/50 or double up) or a GPP (tournaments). Even if you create a lineup just for tournaments, I recommend playing it in a cash game also; if it does well in the GPP, it probably would do well in the cash game. In addition, I advise you to enter single-entry tournaments if you only make one roster, because you aren’t trying to beat users with multiple entries.

This is meant to be a guide to help you start building your line. Take note of where the drivers qualify in this race, as you will want some drivers who will lead a lot of laps. If a driver showed speed in practice but didn’t qualify as well, he could be able to go to the front and earn you positive place differential points. Also, check before the race on Sunday to see if any drivers failed pre race inspection; if they had a fast car they could earn you serious points if they get near the front.

DraftKings Picks

Kyle Busch ($13,000)
Career at Martinsville: 27 starts, 2 wins, 15 top fives, 16 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 12.3

Kyle Busch is a sure bet to lead a lot of laps and possibly win this race. Both of his wins have come within the last seven races at this track. In each of those races he has finished in the top five. Busch has also led 937 laps during that span.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has had a very strong start to the 2019 season, finishing in the top 10 in every race so far. He won the last two races, which probably helped to increase his DraftKings price. If you want to have him in your lineup, you will need to have some value/lower-priced drivers included as well. I will share a couple of racers later on who you may consider pairing with Busch in your line.

Joey Logano ($11,300)
Career at Martinsville: 20 starts, 1 wins, 6 top fives, 9 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 13.2

The reigning NASCAR Cup Champion won the fall race at Martinsville in a memorable way. After starting the race in the 10th position, he worked his way to the front of the field and led 309 laps. However, it was his bump and run on Martin Truex Jr. in the last two turns of the final lap that was significant. For fantasy purposes, he had a huge DraftKings score for finishing first, leading all those laps, and ending the race nine positions ahead of where he started.

He is somewhat risky I would say, as he has started on the pole at this track four times. He would help you to save some money, though. His Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, has been strong the last three years here. Keselowski won this race in 2017, and finished in the top five in five of the last six races. Either one (or both) drivers would be good to place in your roster.

Kurt Busch ($10,200)
Career at Martinsville: 37 starts, 2 wins, 3 top fives, 6 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 21

Martinsville has not been a great track for Kurt Busch, but he did win this race in 2014. In 2018 he finished where he started (11th in Spring; 6th in Fall). This year he is with Chip Ganassi Racing and has had a very strong start to the season, when most of the Hendrick Chevys struggled. He has had four straight top 10 finishes, and earned quite a bit of DraftKings points (47 at ISM, where they used this package). The only thing I don’t particularly like about him is his price; it increased $1,100 from last week. If he was under $10,000, I would probably pair him with his brother again. Kurt is still a very valuable option, if he can lead laps and win the race.

Clint Bowyer ($8,400)
Career at Martinsville: 26 starts, 1 wins, 6 top fives, 15 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 13.8

Bowyer has performed considerably well throughout the last couple of years at Martinsville. He finished in the top 10 in three out of the last four races, and won this race a year ago. In fact, in five of the six short tracks in 2018, Bowyer finished in the top 10. This year Bowyer’s performance has varied, and last week he had engine trouble. He is a good bounce-back candidate this week, considering his recent track history. Bowyer’s Stewart Haas teammate Aric Almirola has four straight top 10 finishes in 2019. Both drivers are fairly inexpensive and could fit into your line with Kyle Busch or another driver of your choosing.

Chase Elliott ($8,200)
Career at Martinsville: 7 starts, 0 wins, 1 top fives, 3 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 16.6

Chase Elliott has performed fairly well in the seven races he’s run here. Both Martinsville races in 2018 he finished in the top 10, after starting around 20th position. If he were to qualify around the same spot, I would definitely consider placing him in my line, to help give me positive place differential points. He also is fairly inexpensive, and can be paired with one or two higher-priced drivers. The Hendrick cars were fast in practices and qualifying at ISM, but not as fast during the actual race, so we’ll see if he’ll be able to stay near the front (should he qualify in the top 10).

Honorable Mention

Ryan Newman ($6,800)
Career at Martinsville: 34 starts, 1 wins, 8 top fives, 16 top 10s
Average finish at Martinsville: 14.7

Ryan Newman is my Honorable Mention due to his valuable potential and his 2019 results so far. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has had an up and down season, scoring only 7 DraftKings points last week at Fontana. Newman did have two top 10 finishes in the last four races, and recently qualified in the teens at this track. If he and his team are able to find the speed they need to finish up front (and stay out of trouble), he could provide good value to your line.

Dark Horse Perfomer

Matt Tifft ($5,300)
No Cup Series history at this track

Matt Tifft is my Dark Horse Performer this week because he is cheap and can help you fit someone like Kyle Busch in your line. So far in 2019, the Front Row Motorsports driver has finished several spots higher from where he started and gave us 25 and 32 DraftKings points the last two races. That may not seem like a whole lot, but it’s definitely good value. Martinsville is a difficult track to perform well at, because it is so small and many wrecks have happened here. Hopefully Tifft can get through all the trouble on the track in the 500 laps of this race.

(Also like Denny Hamlin, David Ragan, and Ryan Preece)