Welcome to my FREE NASCAR DFS breakdown for today’s race at the iconic Martinsville Speedway! Martinsville is a track that’s near and dear to the hearts of many NASCAR fans, and it’s definitely on my bucket list of must-see venues. It’s probably the last track I want to go to that I haven’t been fortunate enough to make it to. This historic speedway has been an integral part of NASCAR’s 75-year legacy, hosting races for an incredible 74 of those years.
What’s not to love about The Paper Clip? From its unique grandfather clock trophy to the world-famous red hot dogs served at the concession stands, Martinsville Speedway has it all. Add in the bumping, banging, and high emotions that come with short track racing, and you’ve got a recipe for a fun afternoon of NASCAR. The race today has a scheduled green flag time of 2:56 PM EST, so let’s get to the breakdown and explore the key factors and strategies specific to NASCAR DFS at Martinsville Speedway.
Martinsville Speedway is known as a challenging short, flat track where track position reigns supreme. Passing is notoriously difficult here, often requiring drivers to use their bumpers aggressively to make their way through the field. This aspect significantly impacts how DraftKings points are distributed during races at Martinsville.
In the last eight Martinsville races, 30% of all Top 10 DraftKings Performances came from drivers starting within the Top 5, accounting for 25 instances. Of those, 18 were Top 6 performances, and six were the top scorers in their respective slates. Remarkably, 76% of all Top 10 DK performances originated from drivers starting within the Top 20, with only 3% coming from those starting 30th or worse.
Drivers starting towards the back face a high risk of getting trapped a lap down early in the race, particularly during long green flag runs in Stage 1. Interestingly, while the pole sitter has been in the Top 7 for DraftKings scoring in six of the last eight races, they have not been the top scorer in any of those slates.
Dominator points are crucial for success today, as the 400-lap race offers a massive point pool. Five performances in the last 8 Martinsville races have yielded over 100 dominator points, with Truex amassing a staggering 232 DK points in 2019. A total of 26 performances of 20+ dominator points have been recorded, with all but three finishing within the Top 4 of DraftKings scoring, averaging around three per slate.
It’s essential to note that 21 of those 26 dominator performances came from drivers starting inside the Top 10, and a remarkable 17 were from drivers starting within the Top 5, averaging about two per race. This further emphasizes the importance of track position at Martinsville.
For today’s race, focus on building lineups with at least 2-3 dominators, preferably those starting in the Top 10 or even the Top 5, as track position plays a significant role in accumulating dominator points. Keep this in mind when constructing your DFS lineups, as maximizing dominator points will be vital for success today.
In contrast to dominator points, position differential at Martinsville reveals a different story. There have only been four performances of 20+ position differential points in the last eight races. The sweet spot for position differential is in the 10-20 PD range, typically involving drivers starting between 10th and the mid-20s.
Out of the 40 drivers who scored within this range in the last eight Martinsville races, 26 made it into the Top 10 in DraftKings scoring. The rest of the top scorers are comprised of drivers who start inside the Top 10-15 and finish within the Top 5-10. These races offer excellent opportunities to find value from drivers starting between 10th and 20th who can work their way up into the Top 10.
Below is my Cheat Sheet for today’s Cup Series race from Martinsville. There is a lot on this sheet today. From left to right, I have data from yesterday’s practice session, then data from the last 8 Martinsville races. Martinsville is a unique track, so I lean heavy into track history here. I also have included data from the last 5 short flat track races to showcase recent speed on them. Those races are Richmond 23′, Phoenix 23′, Clash 23′, Phoenix 2 22′, Martinsville 2 22′. Drivers highlighted in blue are my potential dominators. Drivers in green are drivers I like outside of the doms.
William Byron (Dominator): Been one of the best cars all season at a track he has very good history. Looked in practice to have the fastest car once again this weekend. Odds on favorite to win.
Kyle Larson (Combo): Larson provides potential today for both Dom points and some PD. Him and teammate Byron have been the class of the field all year, Byron’s looks fast so I expect Larson to be fast despite practice. He scored 62 points in this race 2 years ago after starting 19th like today. Was the 4th ranked score in the slate despite not leading a lap.
Martin Truex (Dominator): None of the Gibbs cars showed much speed in practice so this play is more off of Truex’s past results here, plus he found enough speed in practice to start inside the Top 5, which we know from the breakdown is huge for Dom upside.
Ryan Blaney (PD): Blaney and Team Penske usually always performs well at Martinsville. 6 Top 5s in the last 8 races here is about as consistent as you could get. However, he has not started further back than 17th in that sample, and today he starts 31st. He has a ton of upside if he can run a clean, mistake free race.
Chase Elliott (Combo): Back off his broken leg and what a better spot to do it then at one of his best tracks. Showed speed in practice and has 4 Top 5s in last 8 races here. He also has the best Driver Rating and the highest percentage of fast laps and laps led and scored more than 30 Dom points is both races here last year.
Tyler Reddick (Dominator): Had a lot of speed in practice, but it was the first practice and almost everyone in that practice was faster due to track positions. He still qualified well though. Historically not a great track for him but both 23XI cars look to have speed today.
Ross Chastain (PD): Ross is another PD option in this range. Both Trackhouse cars had speed in practice and Ross had Top 5s in both races here last year. Ross already proved he could get it done from the back, finishing 5th in this race last year starting from 27th.
Kevin Harvick (Finish): Was fast in practice and the entire SHR stable showed up with speed in qualifying. Not a ton of success here at Martinsville but the success he has had has came after starting inside the Top 10. Great at saving tires and his pit crew has been lights out this year, will be pivotal in keeping him towards the front today.
Alex Bowman (PD): Former Martinsville winner with 3 Top 10s in last 8 races here. Much improved recently on short flat tracks. HMS has had speed all year, keep going after them until they show otherwise.
Brad Keselowski (PD): Martinsville has always been a solid track for Brad, 2 wins and 12 Top 5s in 26 starts. Finished 4th last time here, which is his 6th Top 5 in the last 8 races here. Team has been much improved on short flats recently. 82.65 Driver rating over last 4 short flats with the 12th best avg position and 2 Top 10s.
Ryan Preece (Dominator): Preece excels at short flat tracks and we saw it on full display at the LA Coliseum during the Clash. That track is the closest comparison to Martinsville and Preece backed it up putting his #41 on the pole for todays race. Great price tag here and I expect Preece to lead a little bit early and finish Top 5.
Aric Almirola (Dominator): Almirola is a play very similar to Preece but he will likely be way lower owned. If Preece doesn’t lead early then I think it’s his team mate Almirola that gets out front. Great at short flats and was faster than his teammates in practice. He started has started in the Top 4 four times in the last 8 races here, has scored 9, 13 and 16 Dom points in 3 of those 4 races.
Bubba Wallace (Finish): 23XI had speed in practice and this is a decent track for Bubba. He finished 9th last time here after starting 24th, he also scored 7 Dom points in that race. Put up a solid qualifying run and has the track position to start. Should compete for a Top 10 today.
Michael McDowell (Value): Been having a great year. Has improved on short flats with 3 Top 20’s in last 5 and an Avg finish of 17.2. Great starting position should allow him to hold on to the lead lap for a while.
Harrison Burton ( Value): Has 3 top 20 finishes in his last 4 short flat track races. Best Avg running position in that sample amongst everyone priced $6800 or below, McDowell being the only exception. Highest % of top 15 laps amongst drivers priced below $7k. Finished 12th here in the fall after qualifying Top 10.
Corey Lajoie (Value): Only $5k here for Lajoie and helps you squeeze in the big dogs up top. Showed solid speed in practice and has an Avg finish of 21 in last 4 short flat track races. Needs to finish 23rd or better for 5x.
Not playing cash today, these slates with so much riding on nailing the right dominator aren’t great for cash imo, would rather just play GPP.
Play at your own risk and remember, if you think you know better than you probably do, so roll with it! Good Luck!
Potentially lower owned options you can pivot to off some of the chalkier core plays above.