1) Joey Logano (Starting – 1st) (Odds To Win – 6/1)
Martinsville Fantasy Outlook – Momentum matters in fantasy NASCAR and Joey Logano has it with his three straight wins and 11 consecutive top tens. Martinsville has recently been a great track for him so the good times should continue to roll. Over the last three Martinsville he’s ranked as one of the statistically strongest performers. On Sunday he’s starting on the pole and that’s a big advantage because track position is key here. In practice Joey Logano seemed happy with his car and had good speed. In Happy Hour his 15 lap average speed ranked as the second best.
Martinsville Track History – Joey Logano has been very strong at Martinsville recently. In the last three races he has the best average finish (4.0), best average running position (5.7), best driver rating and has led the 2nd most laps (207). This spring he had a strong showing and finished 3rd after leading 108 laps. Him finishing that well didn’t come easily because at one point he was spun. Last fall he also ran extremely well and was a consistent front runner. When the checkered flag waved he finished 5th, had a 5th place average running position, earned the 4th best driver rating and led 60 laps. In spring 2014 he had one of the best cars and was consistent over long runs and short runs. When the checkered flag waved he finished 4th, had a 5th place average running position, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 39 laps.
Momentum – Nobody is hotter than Joey Logano. He’s won the last three races and his top ten streak is now 11 races. Over this stretch his average finish is 3.5.
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2) Jeff Gordon (Starting – 5th) (Odds To Win – 6/1)
Martinsville Fantasy Outlook – Sunday will be this legends last race at Martinsville. Out of the 23 venues on the schedule this is arguably his best track. He’s won here 8 times and has proven himself to be a fantasy NASCAR ace. Out of the remaining tracks on the schedule this is likely his last winnable race. Performance wise at Martinsville Jeff Gordon’s skills haven’t diminished over the years. He could’ve potentially won the last two races here if he didn’t get speeding penalties that dropped him deep in the running order. At Martinsville it should be noted that Jeff Gordon typically shows some weakness over short runs but over long runs he’s as good as they come. In practice Jeff Gordon appeared to have a great car. It had good speed and rotated well in the center of the corners. His Happy Hour 15 lap average speed ranked as the 5th best.
Martinsville Track History – Jeff Gordon has been very strong at Martinsville throughout his career. In 45 races he has 8 wins, 28 top fives and 36 top tens. He’s also been extremely consistent here and has only finished outside the top fifteen four times. This spring Jeff Gordon had a great car and I would argue it was the best (PROS Rankings). If he didn’t get a speeding penalty while leading with 39 laps to go I thought he would win. That dropped him back to 20th and when the checkered flag waved he rallied to a 9th place finish. Last fall he also likely had the best car but failed to reach victory lane because of a speeding penalty. In the race he earned the best driver rating, finished 2nd, had a 5th place average running position and led 130 laps. In spring 2014 he finished 12th but it’s important to note he had a great car but used pit strategy which put him back in the field and he was then involved in a wreck. In fall 2013 he won his 8th race at Martinsville and tied Jimmie Johnson for the most wins by an active driver. It also marked the first time he’s been to victory lane here since 2005. In that event Gordon started 9th, had a 5th place average running position, led 78 laps and earned the 2nd best driver rating. In the last five Martinsville races Gordon has the best driver rating and the best average finish (5.4).
Momentum – In the Chase Jeff Gordon has scored the 3rd most points, has a 9.0 average result and is one of four drivers who have finished in the top fifteen every race.
Further Recommended Reading – Martinsville 10 Lap Average Speed Cheat Sheet, Happy Hour Notes, Happy Hour Speeds, Practice #2 Notes, Practice #2 Speeds, PROS Rankings, Asterisk Mark Report, Scouting Report, Odds To Win, Starting Lineup
3) Jimmie Johnson (Starting – 21st) (Odds To Win – 6/1)
Martinsville Fantasy Outlook – Jimmie Johnson said he needs to win again this season and Martinsville is likely his best opportunity. He’s a super elite performer here and it ranks as one of his best tracks. When you exclude his first start and his two most recent he’s only finished outside the top ten twice and those were results of 11th and 12th. It should also be pointed out those finishes deserve asterisk marks because one was due to a late spin and the other was due to a late speeding penalty. In Happy Hour Johnson was impressive. His car had the best 5 lap, 10 lap and 15 lap averages. It also rolled good through the center of the corners.
Martinsville Track History – Jimmie Johnson is an elite performer at Martinsville. In 27 races he has 8 wins, 18 top fives, 22 top tens and only has three results lower than 12th. His bad results came in his first race in 2002 and in the last two Martinsville races. This spring Johnson’s team missed the setup and he looked shockingly uncompetitive. To make matters worse for his ill handling car he wrecked which led to his 35th place finish. Last fall he had top five potential but finished 32nd. Around lap 100 while he was running in 3rd he pitted under green because of a vibration which dropped him two laps down. Then on lap 179 he ran into to back of Kasey Kahne and got heavy damage to the front of his car. Later around lap 220 he went to the garage area because he was leaking oil and that dropped him many more laps down. In spring 2014 Johnson had an awesome car but was out raced by a hungry Kurt Busch at the end and finished 2nd as a result. In that race Johnson earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 296 laps. In fall 2013 he drove conservative at the end because of the Chase implications and finished 5th. Also in that race he led 123 laps. In the two Martinsville races prior to that event he had back to back wins, a second place average running position and led 539 laps.
Momentum – In the Chase Johnson has had top ten speed every race but only has two top tens and a 19.7 average finish.