The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Martinsville Speedway for the 6th race of the 2013 season, the STP Gas Booster 500. NASCAR Fantasy expert 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 7, 2013; 1:14 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 71; wind out of the SSW at 6 mph. There is a 10% 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, Tony Stewart, and Denny Hamlin (Hamlin will miss the race due to back injury) have combined to win 13 of the last 17 races at the track. If it isn't a member of this foursome taking the checkers we will be surprised.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won six of the past 13 races at Martinsville. We expect the No. 48 team could be headed back to Victory Lane to claim yet another one of Martinsville’s Grandfather Clocks.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, 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 most of this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven career wins atMartinsville. He will crack the top five and could win with a little luck.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has averaged a 12th place finish at M’ville during his career. We like his chances to improve on his average this trip to Virginia.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top seven in 13 of his 26 career starts at Martinsville. With how well he is driving so far this year we like him to notch another top seven finish.
6 to 10
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has mostly managed to avoid trouble at Martinsville during his career. He should continue to avoid the frequent accidents and crack the top 10.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman won last year’s spring race at M’ville and has qualified inside the top 10 in 15 of his 21 Cup starts at the track. His strong qualifying skills will help Newman start in the front and stay there.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards cracked the top 10 in five of the last nine races at Martinsville. He should be the top Roush-Fenway driver this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 11 in nine of his last 12 starts at Martinsville. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: A-Dub ran strong at M’ville last year and has been driving well lately. He is an option in all leagues.
11 to 20
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has had plenty of past success at short-tracks, but his lack of patience bumps him from our top 10.
No. 11 Mark Martin: Martin replaces Denny Hamlin behind the wheel of the No. 11 car. He has driven well at the track in the past and is worth using in all leagues.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has just three top five finishes in 26 Cup starts at Martinsville. He isn’t a tremendous option this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 30 laps in 17 career starts at Martinsville, but he finished third last fall. He is a decent choice this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has just three top 10 finishes in 20 career starts at Martinsville. There are far better weekends to use The Biff.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. ran well at Martinsville in three of the last six races. He is a decent third driver and a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano, the new “Mr. Controversy” has been very good at M’ville during his career. He is worth using in most leagues if he can avoid Tony Stewarts right-front bumper.
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. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has finished inside the top 16 in seven of his 12 career starts at Martinsville. This is a rare weekend that we recommend the No. 42 car.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in 11 of his 20 career
Martinsville starts. This is an okay weekend to use the No. 1 car.
21 to 30
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has averaged a 17th place finish at Martinsville during his career. He should finish a little worse than his average this weekend.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been a top 20 driver at Martinsville during his career. He is a nice play to round-out your roster.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch has really struggled at Martinsville lately. There are much better weekends to use the No. 78 driver.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse will likely struggle in his first Cup visit to Martinsville.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 23rd place finish at Martinsville during his career. He is definitely worth using in the deepest leagues.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte is always a threat at Martinsville. Plug him into the No. 5 spot in your roster.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 27 in 11 of his 12 career starts at Martinsville. He will do it again this weekend.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a 21st place finish at Martinsville during his career. We like him as a sleeper this week.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick will struggle this weekend.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Reutimann isn’t an option this weekend. There are far better choices.
No. 51 Regan Smith
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 44 Scott Riggs
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 33 Landon Cassill
No. 35 Josh Wise
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jimmie Johnson
B. Aric Almirola
B. Mark Martin
C. Casey Mears