Dan Beaver

Chasing the Cup

print article archives RSS

Chasing Martinsville (Fall)

Thursday, November 2, 2017


The pressure of making the finale was never more apparent than in the waning laps of the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Chase Elliott used up the left side of Brad Keselowski’s Ford, then his Chevrolet was spun by Denny Hamlin’s Toyota. In turn, Hamlin got knocked out of the groove by teammate Kyle Busch who went on to win the race and secure his spot in the championship hunt at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The complexion of the playoff changed multiple times as drivers from the top three drivers and bottom five held the top position. Bonus points matter more in this round than at any other time and it is likely that without winning, only one of the drivers fourth through eighth will qualify for the finale.

Projected to Make the Finale

Martin Truex Jr. (7 wins / 19 stage wins / 4,117 points)
Power Ranking: 4
Points’ Standings: 1
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 8.83
Phoenix: 16.33
Homestead: 21.67

Truex has enough points to make the finale and there is a strong likelihood that he will win this week at Texas Motor Speedway. Can he seal the deal at Homestead? That is going to be the question that haunts a driver with a three-year average of 21.67 on the final track.

Kevin Harvick (1 win / 5 stage wins / 4,053 points)
Power Ranking: 5
Points’ Standings: 4
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 4.50
Phoenix: 2.50
Homestead: 2.00

Statistically, Harvick is the driver with the best chance to take the championship. His worst track among the next three is Texas and he has a three-year average of 4.5 there. Fantasy players can place-and-hold him for the rest of the season with confidence.

Kyle Busch (5 wins / 14 stage wins / 4,100 points)
Power Ranking: 6
Points’ Standings: 2
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 5.80
Phoenix: 9.40
Homestead: 15.33

Maybe Busch wanted the win more than anyone else last week at Martinsville or maybe he was simply the survivor of a chaotic finish. Either way, he can relax for the next two weeks and concentrate on preparing for Homestead. Don’t expect him to race for anything but victories in the next three weeks, however.

Brad Keselowski (3 wins / 8 stage wins / 4,079 points)
Power Ranking: 3
Points’ Standings: 3
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 8.00
Phoenix: 11.17
Homestead: 13.67

Keselowski had a dominant run going last week until the final laps. He would have cruised to victory if not for a late-race restart and the decision to start on the outside of the front row. He pocketed 20 bonus points for winning both stages, however, and should be able to qualify for Homestead on points.

Projected to Fail to Advance to the Final Round

Chase Elliott (0 wins / 3 stage wins / 4,027 points)
Power Ranking: 2
Points’ Standings: 8
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 6.00
Phoenix: 9.67
Homestead: 11.00

In the blink of an eye, Elliott went from having a guaranteed spot in the finale to having an almost impossible task. He could have settled for a good points day while letting a driver ahead of him in the standings win, but that is not in the nature of drivers.

Denny Hamlin (1 unencumbered win – 1 encumbered / 3 stage wins / 4,045 points)
Power Ranking: 9
Points’ Standings: 7
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 17.50
Phoenix: 9.33
Homestead: 8.67

Hamlin was our pick to win last week and he came close. He didn’t count on his teammate Busch being willing to move him out of the groove to take the top spot, but in last week’s crazy finish all bets were off the table well before the final card was turned.

Ryan Blaney (1 win / 4 stage wins / 4,047 points)
Power Ranking: 10
Points’ Standings: 6
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 27.60
Phoenix: 13.67
Homestead: 21.50

Last week, Blaney did what he needed. He ran a strong race and earned a lot of points to continue to give him a chance in the playoffs. He can still qualify if Harvick, Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson have trouble at Texas and Phoenix International Raceway, but he needs to keep being perfect. And that, fellow players, is what makes him a good value.

Jimmie Johnson (3 wins / 1 stage win / 4,050 points)
Power Ranking: 11
Points’ Standings: 5
Next three tracks, 3-year average finish
Texas: 3.17
Phoenix: 18.83
Homestead: 6.33

Johnson is the former and future King of Martinsville, but he did not make much noise last week. He has done just enough to advance to round three, but without some serious strength from this team, he is not going to go any further.

 

Power
Rankings

Points
Standings

Driver

Wins

Stage
Wins

Power
Avg.

|

Texas

Phoenix

Homestead

Projected to Make the Finale

4.

1

Martin Truex Jr.

7

19

8.24

|

8.83

16.33

21.67

5.

4

Kevin Harvick

1

5

9.89

|

4.50

2.50

2.00

6.

2

Kyle Busch

5

14

10.88

|

5.80

9.40

15.33

3.

3

Brad Keselowski

3

8

8.20

|

8.00

11.17

13.67

Projected to Fail to Advance to Round 3

2.

8

Chase Elliott

 

3

8.18

|

6.00

9.67

11.00

9.

7

Denny Hamlin

2, 1

3

12.65

|

17.50

9.33

8.67

10.

6

Ryan Blaney

1

4

13.21

|

27.60

13.67

21.50

11.

5

Jimmie Johnson

3

1

13.30

|

3.17

18.83

6.33

Outside Playoff Contention

1.

9

Kyle Larson

4

4

7.14

|

16.67

10.17

6.67

7.

14

Jamie McMurray

 

 

11.00

|

10.00

12.17

7.67

8.

17

Joey Logano

1

1

11.33

|

10.67

11.17

8.00

12.

16

Ryan Newman

1

 

15.25

|

17.00

12.83

14.33

13.

15

Kurt Busch

1

 

15.31

|

11.33

9.17

10.67

14.

18

Clint Bowyer

 

1

15.41

|

23.17

25.83

24.67

15.

 

Erik Jones

 

 

16.14

|

17.00

13.50

NA

16.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

 

17.26

|

4.40

14.20

27.00

17.

10

Matt Kenseth

 

3

17.26

|

16.40

16.80

6.67

18.

13

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2

 

17.36

|

17.50

22.33

24.67

19.

11

Kasey Kahne

1

2

17.77

|

20.00

17.67

22.67

20.

12

Austin Dillon

1

 

18.88

|

23.50

23.17

17.00

21.

 

Trevor Bayne

 

 

19.36

|

25.67

26.40

26.67

22.

20

Daniel Suarez

 

1

21.23

|

19.00

7.00

NA

23.

 

Paul Menard

 

 

21.27

|

26.83

19.83

13.00

24.

 

Ty Dillon

 

 

21.65

|

18.50

19.33

28.00

25.

 

Aric Almirola

 

 

21.76

|

20.83

16.50

33.33

26.

 

Chris Buescher

 

 

22.68

|

25.00

29.67

24.00

27.

 

AJ Allmendinger

 

 

23.41

|

18.50

19.50

22.67

28.

 

Michael McDowell

 

 

24.05

|

28.20

28.75

21.33

29.

 

Danica Patrick

 

 

24.48

|

22.83

22.33

23.67

30.

 

David Ragan

 

 

26.30

|

27.00

25.67

28.67

31.

 

Landon Cassill

 

 

27.43

|

30.50

26.50

28.33

32.

 

Cole Whitt

 

 

28.75

|

29.60

34.00

27.00

33.

 

Matt DiBenedetto

 

 

28.77

|

33.50

27.40

32.00

34.

 

JJ Yeley

 

 

29.60

|

33.50

30.00

35.50

35.

 

Joey Gase

 

 

31.00

|

39.00

35.67

NA

36.

 

Gray Gaulding

 

 

31.62

|

34.00

36.50

40.00

37.

 

Corey LaJoie

 

 

32.67

|

32.00

38.00

NA

38.

 

Reed Sorenson

 

 

32.67

|

36.80

31.33

33.67

39.

 

Jeffrey Earnhardt

 

 

34.85

|

36.33

36.00

31.00

 

A note about the three-year stats: The three-year average finish is a script that looks at the last 1,116 days—to provide for minor changes in the schedule. Since some races shift dates more than a week or two, the past three years occasionally contain five races instead of six. It is a consistent snapshot, however.

A note about the Power Average: The Fantasy Power Rankings formula includes finishing results this season as well as various “strength-based” intangibles such as Laps in the top five, 10, and 15, average running position, speed in traffic, and quality passes (passing a car while in the top 15) expressed as if they were finishing results. The lower the number, the stronger the driver.

 



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



Highest Searched Drivers over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Silva: Week 11 Matchups

    Silva: Week 11 Matchups
  •  
    Dose: Brown Lights Up Titans

    Dose: Brown Lights Up Titans
  •  
    Dose: Bills to Start Peterman

    Dose: Bills to Start Peterman
  •  
    Matchups: Burkhead vs. Raiders

    Matchups: Burkhead vs. Raiders
  •  
    Waivers: Davis

    Waivers: Davis' Time to Shine
  •  
    Dose: Cam Rolls on MNF

    Dose: Cam Rolls on MNF
  •  
    Dose: Beathard Carries 49ers

    Dose: Beathard Carries 49ers
  •  
    Dose: Wilson Leads Seahawks

    Dose: Wilson Leads Seahawks