This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Location: Martinsville, Va.
Course: Martinsville Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
Kyle Larson scored his third consecutive win (for the second time this season) last week at Kansas and enters this week with a chance to sweep wins in the round of eight. While he can rest assured that he'll be racing for the championship at Phoenix, the identities of the three drivers he will face won't be known until after this week and the other seven championship contenders will all be looking to claim their spot in the season finale. Larson may be the driver to beat right now, but he will have to overcome Joe Gibbs Racing and Martin Truex Jr. to get his fourth consecutive win this week. The JGR team has had the package to beat on tracks like Martinsville Speedway with the higher-horsepower rules package, and Truex has won three of the last four Martinsville races. Larson and teammate Chase Elliott will lead the field to green with Denny Hamlin, and Truex breathing down their necks in the second row as the 2021 championship battle nears its climax.
Key Stats at Martinsville Speedway
- Number of races: 145
- Winners from pole: 21
- Winners from top-5 starters: 75
- Winners from top-10 starters: 106
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
- Fastest race: 82.223 mph
Previous 10 Martinsville Winners
2021 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2020 fall - Chase Elliott
2020 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 spring - Brad Keselowski
2018 fall - Joey Logano
2018 spring - Clint Bowyer
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Brad Keselowski
2016 fall - Jimmie Johnson
Martinsville is a flat and short oval with long straights that require heavy braking into the turns, and the higher-horsepower rules package will put more of an emphasis on mechanical grip and equipment preservation than fantasy players have seen in recent weeks. Drivers will try to set up their cars to hug the inside curb in Martinsville's flat turns, and keeping the car there and maintaining track position will play a heavy hand in the race's outcome. In addition to keeping the car on the inside, drivers and teams will be managing their brakes to ensure the equipment lasts the entire race distance. Heavy braking on corner entry is the best way to make on-track passes, but that takes a toll on the machines, and drivers may find themselves not stopping as well later in the distance. Pit road visits are an opportunity for teams to pick up spots, but mistakes there will quickly erase any gains made on the track. Martinsville's short laps makes going off strategy a gamble without the help of cautions, too. Stopping under green will mean losing laps to the leaders, which comes with the risk of an untimely caution. Restarts will be key if that happens, but fantasy players should still focus their roster selections on the top 10 starters.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
After Truex (DK $11,400, FD $14,500) won three of the last four Martinsville races, it is hard to ignore him this week. He remains in the championship fight, and another win at the track would give him a shot at the title in Phoenix. He starts fourth this weekend and has led more than 1,000 laps in his career at the track. Last week's race was unlucky for Ryan Blaney (DK $9,700, FD $12,000) after contact with Austin Dillon ruined what could have been a great day for him in the playoffs. He has the chance to overcome that this week at the track he led 157 laps at earlier this year. Including Christopher Bell (DK $8,400, FD $9,500) in this week's selections give rosters an extra dose of JGR advantage with the higher-horsepower rules package. Bell has been racing well in recent weeks with four straight finishes of eighth or better heading into this week. Kurt Busch (DK $7,900, FD $8,300) has also been quick recently. He finished fourth last week, his second top-five in the last five races, and he is a two-time winner at Martinsville. Dillon (DK $6,700, FD $6,500) has 15 Martinsville starts under his belt. Seven of those times he finished in the top 15, and two times he finished in the top five. He was 14th there in April, which is where he will start this week. Chris Buescher (DK $5,900, FD $5,800) has not scored a top-10 at Martinsville in the Cup Series yet, but his finishes at the track have gotten better recently. Three of his last four visits to the track have ended with top-15 finishes, including 13th this spring.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Hamlin (DK $10,700, FD $13,500) will be anxious to reassert himself against Larson with a win this week. Hamlin has won in every round of the playoffs so far, but has been eclipsed by the No. 5 team in the round of eight. Martinsville could be his time to shine, though. He will start third and has five career wins at the track. Joey Logano (DK $9,500, FD $11,500) could also be a good choice for fantasy rosters this week. He won on a short-track this season (on the dirt at Bristol) and finished eighth or better in six of his last seven Martinsville starts. He won this race in 2018 and has led more than 1,000 laps in his 25 starts here. Despite not being terribly competitive throughout much of the season, Kevin Harvick (DK $9,000, FD $9,300) has shown top-five speed consistently since being eliminated from the championship battle. He finished third last week and is just as hungry for a win now as he has been all season, if not more. He has one career victory at Martinsville from 2011 and finished ninth in the spring race. Tyler Reddick (DK $8,200, FD $8,500) has also come on strongly as the season winds down. He has three top-10s from the last five races and scored his first Martinsville top-10 in April when he finished eighth. Another driver to consider this week is Chase Briscoe (DK $6,400, FD $5,000), who has been consistently delivering top-15 finishes. He has three of those in the last five races and has the Rookie of the Year battle in hand as he tries to overcome the multiple incidents he suffered at the track in the spring. The final selection this week goes to the 19th-place starter Michael McDowell (DK $5,700, FD $4,500). His best Martinsville finish was 14th in the spring race last season, and he has finished 21st or better in the last five races leading up to this weekend.