Kurt Busch – Kurt Busch is a two-time winner at Martinsville but it’s arguably his worst track. He’s finished in the top ten 14% percent of the time, and in nearly half his starts (47% percent of the time) he’s finished outside the top twenty. Since 2006 he’s only finished in the top ten once and that was his spring 2014 win. Earlier this year he ran well. He finished 11th, earned the 10th best driver rating and had an 8th place average running position. Additionally, he finished 8th in Stage #1 and 7th in Stage #2. Last fall, Busch didn’t have a bad race but he walked away with an asterisk mark 22nd place finish. He was caught up in a late wreck. With 5 laps to go he was in 13th. It should be noted he earned the 11th best driver rating and had a 12th place average running position. In spring 2017 he didn’t run well and wrecked which led to his 37th place finish. On lap 288 he was involved in an accident, and then during the next restart he had a cut tire and totaled his car. If his race would’ve been incident free he might’ve had mid-teens potential. On Sunday I’m going to look for him to be a low-double digits driver who’ll compete for a top ten.
AJ Allmendinger – If you’re looking for a sleeper at Martinsville consider AJ Allmendinger. It’s been a great track for him and in 7 of the last 9 races he’s finished in the top 11. In the two races he finished outside of that range he had problems. Earlier this year he had a great car. He started back in 25th, but raced his way up to an 8th place finish. Also in the race he earned the 9th best driver rating, had a 9th place average running position, finished 7th in Stage #1 and finished 8th in Stage #2. Last fall at Martinsville, Allmendinger had a troubled race. He had contact with Patrick which damaged his car and the caution clock for repairs expired which led to his 40th place finish. In spring 2017, Allmendinger started in 30th but raced his way up to a 6th place finish. In 2016 he had a great season and was one of just four drivers who swept the top ten. In fall 2016 he finished 10th. In spring 2016 he had a great car and at the end of the race he was moving drivers like Johnson and Keselowski out of the way. When the race reached its conclusion he finished 2nd, earned the 6th best driver rating and had an 8th place average running position. I will note I don’t trust him, that said I think he has a great chance to compete for a top ten.
Alex Bowman – Alex Bowman has a 26.2 average finish at Martinsville, but on Sunday you should strongly consider him. This spring he ran well and had his best Martinsville race. When the checkered flag waved he finished 7th, earned the 11th best driver rating and had a 14th place average running position. Over the last 75 laps he consistently ran in the top ten. In his 4 Martinsville races prior to that he finished 22nd or worse, I wouldn’t consider them relevant.