The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Martinsville Speedway for the sixth race of the 2011 season, the Goody's Fast Relief 500. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.When:
Sunday, April 3, 2011; 1:13 p.m./et.Weather:
Partly cloudy with a high around 63; wind out of the SW at 7 mph. There is a zero percent chance of precipitation. The Track:
The Half Mile Paperclip
Martinsville Speedway is a half mile paperclip shaped track with intermediate 12 degree banking on the turns. It is a smaller version of New Hampshire Motor Speedway so teams often use the same car and a similar setup at both tracks. Drivers that are successful at NHMS often run well at Martinsville. Key to Race:
LOOK OUT FOR THE HENDRICK BOYS
Hendrick Motorsports and Denny Hamlin
have dominated Martinsville lately. Jeff Gordon
, Jimmie Johnson
and Denny Hamlin
have combined to win 11 of the last 13 races at the track. If it isn't a member of this trio taking the checkers we will be surprised.Qualifying Procedures:
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the final 2010 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Friday, April 1 at 12:10 pm/et.Fantasy Cheat Sheet:Top 5
No. 11 Denny Hamlin
: Hamlin has 10 top 10 finishes in 12 career starts at Martinsville. He won the past three races at the track and is our favorite to battle J.J. for the win.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
: Johnson has won five of the past nine races at Martinsville. We expect the No. 48 team could be headed back to Victory Lane to claim yet another of Martinsville's Grandfather Clocks.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon
: Gordon has seven career wins at Martinsville. He will crack the top five and could win with a little luck.
No. 14 Tony Stewart
: Stewart and Denny Hamlin
are the only drivers not named Jimmie Johnson
or Jeff Gordon
to win a race at Martinsville since 2004. Smoke will eat a ton of the track's famous red hot dogs and have the No. 14 near the front this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
: Busch has had past success at short-tracks, but his lack of patience makes him the riskiest pick in our top five. 6 to 10
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
: Harvick has managed to avoid trouble at Martinsville during his career. He should continue to avoid the frequent accidents and crack the top 10.
No. 99 Carl Edwards
: Edwards cracked the top 10 in four of the last five races at Martinsville. He should be the top Roush-Fenway driver this weekend.
No. 5 Mark Martin
: Martin has 24 top 10 finishes at M'ville during his career. He should make it 25 on Sunday.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer
: Bowyer has cracked the top 11 in six of his last eight starts at Martinsville. He will be fast.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
: Montoya has finished inside the top 16 in six of his eight career starts at Martinsville. He is a good pick.11 to 20
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
: Junior has finished in the top seven in 10 of his 22 career starts at Martinsville. He should have no trouble cracking the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 39 Ryan Newman
: Newman has qualified inside the top 10 in 12 of his 18 Cup starts at Martinsville. His strong qualifying skills will help Newman start in the front and stay there.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray
: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 16 career
Martinsville starts. This is the weekend to use the No. 1 car.
No. 31 Jeff Burton
: Burton has averaged a 15th place finish at Martinsville during his career. He should finish right around his average this weekend.
No. 20 Joey Logano
: Logano has been awesome at M'ville during his career. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 22 Kurt Busch
: Busch has really struggled at Martinsville lately. There are much better weekends to use the No. 22 driver.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
: Kenseth has just two top five finishes in 22 Cup starts at Martinsville. He isn't a great option this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
: Biffle has just two top 10 finishes in 16 career starts at Martinsville. There are far better weekends to use The Biff.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
: Ambrose has been great on short-tracks during his career. This is a good opportunity to use the Terrific Tasmanian.
No. 83 Brian Vickers
: Vickers has been a top 20 driver at Martinsville during his career. He is a nice play to round-out your roster. 21 to 30
No. 6 David Ragan
: Ragan has cracked the top 27 in all eight of his career starts at Martinsville. He will do it again this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski
: Keselowski drove great races at Martinsville last year. We like his chances this trip to Virginia.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne
: Kahne has led just 18 laps in 13 career starts at Martinsville he isn't a great choice this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard
: Menard has averaged a 20th place finish at Martinsville during his career. He is definitely worth using in deep leagues.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
: Truex Jr. ran well at Martinsville last spring, but that was one of his only good runs at the track. There are better weekends to use him.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has had just three top 30 finishes in seven career starts at Martinsville. This isn't the best weekend to use him.
No. 00 David Reutimann
: Reutimann has never cracked the top 15 at Martinsville. This isn't a race to use him.
No. 13 Casey Mears
: Mears has averaged a 20th place finish at Martinsville during his career. We love him as a sleeper this week.
No. 78 Regan Smith
: Smith is a bit of a short-track stallion. He could surprise with a top 25 finish this weekend.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
: Martinsville is just about a 30-minute drive from the Wood Brother's original Stewart, Virginia shop. The local owners still won't have enough knowledge of the track to make Bayne a fantasy option. Field Fillers
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 09 Landon Cassill
No. 87 Joe Nemecheck
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 92 Dennis Setzer
No. 71 Hermie Sadler
No. 75 Derrike CopeBrownie's PicksTop Four:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Tony Stewart Sleepers:
1. Casey Mears
2. Regan SmithBust of the Week:Kasey Kahne