This weekend, NASCAR will be racing at Martinsville! It’s the oldest, shortest and slowest track on the circuit, but its a ton of fun to watch! “The Paper Clip” is basically two drag stripes connected by relatively flat 11 degree banking turns.
At Martinsville, the best of the best shine and you’ll often find the same names finish up front. In 2020, five drivers swept the top six and overall seven swept the top ten. If Truex didn’t have problems in the fall, 8 drivers would’ve swept the top ten for the season.
In terms of what I want in a fantasy pick at Martinsville I want …
1) Great recent track record
2)A driver who’s been showing up with speed in 2021 races
3) Starting relatively near the front (9 of the last 10 Martinsville winners have started between 3rd to 10th)
Here’s the Martinsville Starting Lineup!
This year at ifantasyrace.com we’re committed to writing about the full field every week. In previous weeks, “Super Low-Tier” drivers were in this post. Now they have their own separate post, so check it out “Super Low Tier- Martinsville!”
Martinsville Fantasy NASCAR Rankings
1) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 7th)
Martinsville Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. is a super-elite performer at Martinsville who’ll be tough to beat. He’s won 2 of the last 3 races here, and if he didn’t have to make a late unexpected pit stop last fall, he may very well have 3 straight wins. Since fall 2017 at Martinsville minus last fall where he had an asterisk mark result, Truex has a 3.2 average finish. On Saturday night, look for Truex to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Martinsville Track History – Martin Truex Jr. is a premiere performer at Martinsville. Last fall, Truex was a contender to win, but finished a misleading 22nd. In the race he finished 6th in Stage #1, 2nd in Stage #2, had a 4.2 average running position, led 129 laps and ran 75 fastest laps. In terms of speed analytics, Truex had the 2nd best Total Speed Ranking and was the fastest driver in segment #4. Truex’s misleading result can be traced to him having a loose wheel while running in 2nd with 40 laps to go. With 25 to go he came to pit road and that doomed his evening. Just prior to him complaining about his loose wheel, Truex was the leader. In summer 2020 under the lights, Truex had a phenomenal car. In the race he finished 1st, led 102 laps, ranked as the 2nd Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 3rd best Green Flag Average Speed. What makes his win a little more impressive is that his evening wasn’t incident free. During the Stage #1 caution after just finishing 4th, Truex got a commitment cone violation. In fall 2019, Truex was the class of the field and put on a display of domination. In the race he won Stage #1, won Stage #2, finished 1st when the checkered flag waved, led 464 laps, had a 1.1 average running position and ranked as the “Fastest Driver Late In A Run.” In spring 2019, Truex finished 8th, earned the 8th best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. In the three Martinsville races prior to that, Truex had results of 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
DraftKings $12,000 / FanDuel $14,000
Further Recommended Reading: Martinsville Projected Finish Ranges
2) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 2nd)
Martinsville Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin is a super-elite performer at Martinsville who should be on your short list of favorites. At “The Paper Clip”, Hamlin’s a five-time winner who’s finished in the top five in 50% of his starts. Hamlin didn’t have a great 2020 at Martinsville, but with how well he’s been running on a weekly basis this year, I have no concerns. His season to date Total Speed Rankings is the best in the series. On Saturday night, look for Hamlin to be a top five contender who’ll be a factor to win.
Martinsville Track History – Denny Hamlin had a tough 2020 at Martinsville and finished outside the top ten in both races for the first time in his career. Personally, I’m not going to hit the panic button. Hamlin had a misleading result last fall, and last spring his team missed the setup. Last fall, Hamlin had a great car and was a top five contender but finished a misleading 11th. In the race, Hamlin finished 3rd in Stage #1, 4th in Stage #2 and had the 7th best Total Speed Ranking. During the Stage #2 caution after he just finished 3rd he made a second pit stop to tighten lug nuts which dropped him back to 29th. With 36 laps to go he was back up to 8th, but then he started to struggle and faded back a few positions. In summer 2020, the #11 team completely missed the setup and Hamlin struggled to a 24th place finish. In fall 2019, Hamlin had a strong showing. He finished 4th, had a 4.7 average running position, earned the 4th best driver rating and ranked as the 3rd Fastest Driver Late In A Run. In spring 2019, Hamlin finished 5th, had a 7th place average running position, finished 4th in Stage #1 and 3rd in Stage #2. I’ll note his result is a little more impressive when you take into account he was caught speeding during the Stage #2 caution. In 2018, Hamlin finished 2nd in the fall and then in the spring he was a top five contender but finished a misleading 12th after getting damage to his nose.
DraftKings $10,400 / FanDuel $12,500
3) Chase Elliott (Starting – 5th)
Martinsville Fantasy Spin – Chase Elliott crushed the competition last fall at Martinsville and on Saturday night, the road to victory lane will probably go through him again. In addition to being the most recent Martinsville winner, Elliott has performed at an elite level for an extended period of time here. Since 2017 at “The Paper Clip”, Elliott’s only finished outside the top ten twice, and in those races he had problems while leading in one (led 123 laps), and running in 5th in the other. In his incident free races over that stretch his average finish is 4.5.
Martinsville Track History – Martinsville has been a stellar venue for Elliott and he’s been in contention to win multiple races. In 2020 with a new rules package, Elliott was one of four drivers who swept the top five. Last fall at Martinsville, Elliott put on a clinic and dominated. In the race, Elliott finished 4th in Stage #1, won Stage #2, had a 2.6 average running position, led 236 laps and had a race high 110 fastest laps. In terms of speed analytics, Elliott had the best Total Speed Ranking and his speed over the segments were 2,1,1 and 2. Additionally, Elliott had the best Green Flag Speed. In spring 2020, Elliott had a great car. In the race he finished 6th in Stage #1, 8th in Stage #2, 5th overall and had a 5th place average running position. In terms of speed analytics, Elliott had the 3rd best Total Speed Ranking and the 4th best Green Flag Average Speed. In fall 2019, Elliott looked extremely strong, but finished an asterisk mark 36th. In the race he started in the back after changing engines, but had no trouble charging up thru the field. In the race he finished 8th in Stage #1, but then during Stage #2 around lap 180 while he was running around 5th he radioed his team that he broke his axle and after that you could stick a fork in him. In spring 2019, Elliott had a great car and at one point he passed Keselowski who dominated under green. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led the 2nd most laps (49). I will note he edged Keselowski for the most fastest laps (82). In 2018, Elliott swept the top ten with finishes of 7th and 9th.
DraftKings $11,400 / FanDuel $13,500