Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Update: Martinsville (Fall)

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Martinsville Speedway is a rhythm track and it pays to roll off the hauler fast.

The First Data 500 is a two-day show and that puts experience at a premium. Those factors combine to make this one of the more predictable races on the schedule.

Joey Logano posted the fastest single lap in Happy Hour Saturday afternoon and he backed that up with the pole winning run Sunday morning. Unfortunately, his 10-lap averages in both practice sessions were not overly impressive and that could mean that he falls back into the grasp of someone like Kyle Busch or outside pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. He is still likely to finish in the top 10 and be a good value for the price.

In pre-race coverage, Truex was not highly regarded based on his track record, but the caveat was made—as it always should be—that this is a career year for the driver and he could break through again like he has on other courses on which he’s struggled. The numbers during the weekend favor him. He was second-quick in Happy Hour in 10-lap averages and that means he could scoot out to an early lead, bank some points for leading those laps, and be another overall strong value. He is expensive, however, and anything can happen during a race. Buyers beware.

The sophomore playoff contenders both line up on the second row. Chase Elliott qualified third and this is a team that won as recently as Fall 2015 with Jeff Gordon behind the wheel. There is some uncertainty where he is concerned though. He struggled to find long range speed in the morning and was only 10th quick in Happy Hour. He needs a solid points’ day in Cup measurements and that could make him a little conservative, but a top-10 should still be in the offing.

Likewise, Ryan Blaney is a less than certain value. Like Elliott he does not have the laps around this track to be predictable. Also like his fellow sophomore, he is racing for a team that tends to excel at Martinsville. Blaney is in the same points’ situation and must have a clean race, but he is suffering from a penalty imposed last week that required him to select his pits last. He may struggle to score a top-10.

Kyle Busch struggled in qualification and starts 14th. That could be hidden good news for fantasy players because he had the quickest 10-lap average in both the morning and afternoon practice. He is going to steadily work his way to the front and is still one of our favorite to win. He might miss out by a spot or two, but he is going to earn positive place-differential points. 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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