The Cup Series wraps up the Round of 8 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. There should be no shortage of excitement as seven drivers battle for the three remaining spots in the Championship 4 for next Sunday's season finale at Phoenix.
A flat short track with tight corners, Martinsville looks like a half-mile paperclip. Of course, a short track event means the 750-horsepower package will be in play, which shouldn't be overlooked when building your Fantasy NASCAR lineups this weekend.
Team Penske has been particularly strong with the package. When the series visited Martinsville in June, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano finished second through fourth, and Logano led the most laps. Even Team Penske affiliated driver Matt DiBenedetto came away with a seventh-place finish.
When assembling your DFS lineups, don't be shy about pursuing dominator points. It is always important to nail the drivers who lead a significant number of laps and turn fastest laps, but with 500 laps on tap, the categories are even more valuable. There are also enough dominator points available to balloon the point totals of a handful of drivers, making a top-heavy approach worth considering, especially for GPP contests.
DraftKings Must-Own Drivers
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,800)
Truex led 464 laps and recorded 142 fastest laps in an absolute beatdown of a win at Martinsville last fall, and he won the June race earlier this year, leading 132 laps and logging 58 fastest laps. Starting on the front row, a Martinsville three-peat and a triple-digit point total are both on the table.
Brad Keselowski ($11,400)
Keselowski has eight Top 5s in the last nine Martinsville races, including a win in the spring of last year when he led 446 of the 500 laps. He finished third at the track back in June and starting from the pole, a bunch of dominator points seem inevitable.
Joey Logano ($9,900)
He had the car to beat in the June race, leading a race-high 234 laps and notching 61 fastest laps. The second time in the last four races at Martinsville, Logano has led more than 200 laps and logged more than 50 fastest laps. His ceiling is enormous.
Cash Building Blocks
Jimmie Johnson ($9,300)
He was one of the main players for the win at Martinsville in June, leading 70 laps and posting the second-best green flag speed. Rolling off 27th after last weekend's engine issue, Johnson is a prime candidate to score the most place differential points.
Bubba Wallace ($7,200)
A wreck at Texas has him starting 32nd, but Wallace has three straight finishes of 17th or better at Martinsville, gaining at least nine spots in every race. Double-digit place differential points seem like a given.
Chris Buescher ($6,700)
Buescher has come alive at Martinsville, finishing 13th or better in three of his last four starts and gaining at least nine spots in the last two. Starting 28th, he is in a good position to post a solid score via differential points.
Ryan Newman ($6,500)
Martinsville remains one of his best tracks. Newman has a 12.7 average finish in the last 10 races here, finishing 10th last fall and 12th earlier this year. He starts 21st Sunday, and at the very least, he should grab a handful of differential points and challenge for a Top 5.
Ryan Blaney ($10,700)
He led 34 laps in a runner-up effort at Martinsville in June, his third straight Top 5 finish. Blaney has four Top 5s in the last five races here, topping 20 fastest laps four times and leading 145 laps in the spring of 2018. Use him as an alternative dominator.
Alex Bowman ($8,700)
Bowman has been on a tear in the playoffs, and he has opened the Round of 8 with back-to-back Top 5s. He finished sixth at Martinsville in June, and he will start third on Sunday. He could be a sleeper source of dominator points.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,000)
The Penske cars have been excellent at Martinsville, and DiBenedetto drives for a Wood Brothers team that essentially uses the same equipment. It is no coincidence that he finished seventh here in June, and he should have Top 10 upside again this weekend. Starting 12th, he could be an under-owned alternative to Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, or Ryan Newman.
Corey LaJoie ($5,500)
LaJoie has delivered back-to-back 18th-place finishes at Martinsville, gaining 18 spots last fall and seven spots earlier this year. Starting 26th, he could be a cheaper alternative to Ryan Newman or Chris Buescher.
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Keselowski is riding a streak of nine straight Top 10s at Martinsville, posting a 3.8 average finish and logging eight Top 5s. He has finished third or better in the last three races here and will start from the pole Sunday.
He had the car to beat for much of the June race at Martinsville, leading a race-high 234 laps and recording 18 stage points. Logano has four Top 10s in the last five races here, leading 309 laps in a win in the fall of 2018.
I will complete the Penske trifecta with Blaney, who logged a runner-up finish at Martinsville in June to give himself three straight Top 5s at the track and four Top 5s in the last five races here.
He finally broke through and won a race in what has been a down season, and we all know what Busch can do when he gets a little momentum. Yes, he struggled a bit here in June, but he still has eight Top 5s, including a pair of wins, in the last 10 Martinsville races. Alex Bowman is another high-upside play, and Matt DiBenedetto is an underrated sleeper.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex has won the last two races at Martinsville, and he has five Top 5s and a 3.2 average finish in the last six races here. Starting on the front row, Truex should be a major player for the win as he tries to advance to the Championship 4.
Garage Driver – Jimmie Johnson
I'll start him on my bench since he has to roll off 27th, but if the No. 48 is anywhere near as fast as it was here in June when he nabbed 18 stage points, Johnson will be battling near the front of the field before too long. I want him available.
Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Driver Group Game
Brad Keselowski (A)
The most reliable driver at Martinsville will lead the field to the green Sunday. Keselowski has nine straight Top 10s here, and he has eight Top 5s during that span, including three straight finishes of third or better.
Ryan Blaney (B)
Blaney logged his third straight Top 5 at Martinsville in June with a runner-up effort, and he has four Top 5s in his last five starts at the track.
Alex Bowman (B)
He has been on fire in the playoffs, logging six Top 10s in the eight races and posting an 8.3 average finish. Throw in his sixth-place run at Martinsville in June and a Top 5 starting spot, and I am playing the hot hand. Double-digit stage points and a Top are not out of the question.
Christopher Bell (C)
Bell struggled in the June race at Martinsville, but he is coming off back-to-back Top 10s and is slated to start 11th. The momentum and the track position could lead to another big day from the rookie. Tyler Reddick is always in play in this tier, and Bubba Wallace is my favorite sleeper after his strong run here in June.
Fantasy Racing Online Slingshot Fantasy Auto
Joey Logano ($12,000)
Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr. are my Top 3 for the race, but while the other two start on the front row, Logano has a little more place differential upside. He also had the best car at Martinsville earlier this year, leading a race-high 234 laps, accumulating 18 stage points, and logging the best green flag speed and average running position.
Ryan Blaney ($11,200)
He caught fire in the second half of the June race at Martinsville, finishing second in Stage 2 and runner-up in the race. Blaney has now logged three straight Top 5s at the track, and four in his last five starts here. Starting 10th, Blaney should post a big point total through a combination of a strong finish, stage points, and differential points.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,000)
Johnson has to start back in 27th Sunday, but he had one of the best cars at Martinsville in June. He led 70 laps and finished in the Top 10, piling up 18 stage points and posting the second-best green flag speed. I expect well over 100 points out of him this weekend, and Johnson is probably my favorite play in this contest.
Clint Bowyer ($9,700)
He has been strong at short tracks throughout his career, and Bowyer has four finishes of seventh or better, including a win, in seven Martinsville starts in the No. 14. He has borderline Top 5 upside this weekend and rolling off 16th; he has a shot at 100- plus points if he reaches his ceiling. Chris Buescher is worth a look if you prefer to go with a more conservative, place differential-heavy approach.
Bubba Wallace ($7,000)
Wallace has finished 17th or better and gained at least nine spots in three straight Martinsville starts, and he gained 12 spots on his way to an 11th-place finish in June while also logging 11 stage points. Starting 32nd, Wallace will be pushing 80 points if he can just crack the Top 20.
The Cup Series wraps up the Round of 8 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. There should be no shortage of excitement as seven drivers battle for the three remaining spots in the Championship 4 for next Sunday's season finale at Phoenix. Subscribe for full article
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