The final short track race of the season is this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, and it’s also the last race of the year that we’ll have race day inspection. Denny Hamlin tentatively won the pole on Saturday for this weekend’s race, but NASCAR will inspect the cars on Sunday morning and if any car fails, that driver’s time is disallowed and he will start from and be scored from the rear–so nobody’s safe yet. The last time we were here at Martinsville, Brad Keselowski absolutely dominated the race, and this time we have a bunch of favorites starting up front, so we could be in for more domination.
As mentioned before, NASCAR decided to go with a super condensed schedule this weekend, with all practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday. There will be race day inspection, so the starting positions may change, but you can see the entire starting lineup by clicking here. Click here to see the speeds from Saturday’s two practice sessions: Practice #1 — Happy Hour. You should also read our in-depth notes for those practices: Practice #1 — Happy Hour.
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Final Top 25 Fantasy NASCAR Rankings for Martinsville 2
1. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $11,400 – FanDuel Price: $14,000 – Slingshot Price: $13,000
Let’s talk about momentum. We’ve had six races in the Playoffs thus far, with one wildcard race (Talladega) that can really be thrown out. So let’s look at the other five races. Over those events, Martin Truex, Jr. has an average finish of 3.4, which is (no surprise) the best in the series. It’s also no surprise that Truex has the best difference in average finish (-7.1) over those five races compared to his season average finish (10.5). In other words, this #19 team is running extremely well, and that should continue here at Martinsville on Sunday. Truex probably should have won this race last year but we all know what happened there. Still, he has three top 5s in the last four races at “The Paperclip,” with his 8th-place finish here in the spring being the “off race.” This weekend, the #19 Toyota ranked 6th and 7th when it came to ten-lap average during the two practices, and Martin should be able to contend for the win again on Sunday–which would actually be his first at the track (although you already knew that).
2. Denny Hamlin – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $11,000 – FanDuel Price: $14,500 – Slingshot Price: $11,700
Denny Hamlin hasn’t went to victory lane at Martinsville Speedway since the 2015 season, but he’s still a five-time winner at “The Paperclip” and is going to be a factor come Sunday. This #11 team is looking like a legitimate championship contender with each passing week, and when momentum like that is building, a guy like Hamlin really excels at his best tracks. As far as recent history, Denny has top 5 finishes in the last two Martinsville races and has ended up 8th or better in ten of the last fifteen at this track. This weekend, Hamlin ranked 2nd in ten-lap average during Practice #1 on Saturday before ending up 6th-best on that chart in Happy Hour. I see no reason why he won’t challenge for a top 5 on Sunday.
3. Kyle Busch – Starts 13th – DraftKings Price: $11,800 – FanDuel Price: $15,000 – Slingshot Price: $13,100
In this year’s Playoffs, Kyle Busch has been consistently inconsistent. Let me explain. He started off the postseason with a 19th-place finish at Vegas, then ended up 2nd at Richmond, then 37th at the Roval. After that, Rowdy posted a 6th-place finish at Dover, then finished 19th at Talladega, and then ended up 3rd at Kansas last week. So if that trend is going to continue, Busch is due for another bad run. However, we’re at Martinsville this weekend, and “The Paperclip” is one of Busch’s best tracks. Kyle hasn’t finished worse than 5th here since the 2014 season and he has just one driver rating less than 120 in the last seven races at this track. The exception? This spring, when Kyle finished 3rd and had a driver rating of 109.3. This weekend, the #18 Toyota ranked 4th and 9th in ten-lap average during the two practice sessions on Saturday and should be a contender (as usual) on Sunday.