The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Martinsville Speedway for the sixth race of the 2014 season, the STP 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, March 30, 2014; 1:13 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 63; wind out of the NW at 8 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: JIMMIE, JEFF, DENNY, and SMOKE
Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Denny Hamlin have combined to win 15 of the last 19 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. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has eight career wins at Martinsville. He will crack the top five and could win with a little luck.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won seven of the past 15 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. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished second and third at M’ville in last season. He has cracked the top 11 in 11 of his last 14 starts at the track. We love his chances on Sunday.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has averaged a 10th 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 14 of his 28 career starts at Martinsville. With a little luck he could 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. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke was captured the Martinsville Clock three times in his career, but we have to wonder how much pain the tight track will cause his leg.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been great on flat-tracks during his career. He should have the No. 11 inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards cracked the top 10 in five of the last 11 races at Martinsville. He should be a top Roush-Fenway driver this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has had plenty of past success at short-tracks, but his lack of patience makes him the risky pick in our top 10.
11 to 20
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman won the 2012 spring race at M’ville and has qualified inside the top 10 in 16 of his 23 Cup starts at the track. His strong qualifying skills will help Newman start in the front and stay there.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has been very good at M’ville during his career. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has just three top five finishes in 28 Cup starts at Martinsville. He isn’t a tremendous option this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 30 laps in 19 career starts at Martinsville. He isn’t a great choice this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 10 in 13 of his 22 career Martinsville starts. This is a nice weekend to use the No. 1 car.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson proved he belonged with the “Big Boys” last weekend. We will see if he can continue to ride the momentum this weekend.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: A-Dub has run strong at M’ville in the past. He is an option in all leagues.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has just five top 10 finishes in 21 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 eight races. He is a decent third driver and a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been great on short-tracks during his career. This is a good opportunity to use the Terrific Tasmanian.
21 to 30
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch has really struggled at Martinsville lately. There are much better weekends to use the No. 41 driver.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers knows has driven very well at Martinsville in the past. A top 20 finish wouldn’t shock us.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse struggled in his first Cup visits to Martinsville. He should improve a little this visit to the track.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 22nd place finish at Martinsville during his career. He is definitely worth using only in the deepest leagues.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: We have a feeling No. 3 will have his hands full in his first Cup start at Martinsville.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger is another driver that has been decent at M’ville in the past. He is worth rounding using to round-out your roster.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 27 in 11 of his 14 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 only this week.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick will struggle this weekend.
No. 41 Justin Allgaier: Allgaier could make a little noise. A very little…like a mouse.
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 35 David Reutimann
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 32 Travis Kvapil
No. 33 Timmy Hill
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 Michael McDowell
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jeff Gordon
B. Denny Hamlin
B. Ryan Newman
C. Landon Cassill