I’m writing this before the Texas race is finished, so I don’t really know who needs to do what now to qualify for the championship race. The other side of the coin is that a lot of you need the advice early so you can get your leagues taken care of during work, so I’m going to do my best this week.
The good news is that this is a short track, so how good their cars were at Texas really has no bearing on how well their cars might run this week as the head to the Martinsville Speedway for the running of the Xfinity 500. This is the shortest track on the circuit and doesn’t have a lot of banking either. The drivers will want to make sure to pass inspection this week because you don’t want to start at the back if you can help it. If you do start at the back the leader will be a half a lap ahead of you before you get to the start/finish line and you could get lapped in a hurry.
Brad Keselowski: I’m going with Brad to win this week. He has been pretty amazing here lately with eight top five finishes in his last nine starts including one win. His other finish in that stretch was a tenth, so he knows how to get the job done here and a win gets him in. He’s going to be tough to beat.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin won the last two races here and could go for three in a row. This team has been off a little bit and I don’t know what’s going to happen after NASCAR confiscated his rear spoiler last weekend. If they find something illegal about it he might end up losing some points and might have to run very well and possible win to make the championship.
Kyle Busch: Kyle had finished in the top five at Martinsville in eight straight races until last fall. Now he has two straight top twenty finishes and I don’t know what his mind set is. This is one of those tracks where he excels and if he really wants to go out and win he could do it this week. On the other hand if he’s just waiting for the season to end he won’t run well at all.
Joey Logano: Joey is already locked into the championship race via his win at Kansas a couple of weeks ago. He has lead laps in eleven of the last thirteen races he has run at Martinsville which tells me he runs up front here quite a bit. Could he and Brad be up front and Joey do some blocking for him? That is a very real possibility. Joey could make himself difficult to pass and if someone gives him the bumper to get by he would have no qualms about returning the favor.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has nine wins at this tracks and his chances of winning a race this season are getting pretty slim. He might have that one more in him this week. He finished tenth here in the first race this year so he had a pretty good car. If things fall right for them they are going to do anything to get Jimmie a win before he rides off into the sunset.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has five career wins at Martinsville and has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts there. He either has a really good handling car here or recently on his bad days he does a lot of wheel hopping as he goes into the corners which push him out of the groove and isn’t good for the tires. He might just have to point his way in and take it easy on his equipment this week.
Kevin Harvick: This isn’t his best track as he only has one career win here and that came back in the 2011 season, but he can run good enough to make the championship and Phoenix is his best track. That means depending on his outcome at Texas after scraping the wall before the rains came. He might just have to do well enough to point himself in too.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan runs well here finishing in the top five in four of his last five starts. If you get all three Penske drivers up front together it’s going to be tough to pass them all. Ryan might be another blocker to help Brad get into the championship if it comes down to that. I think all of the Penske drivers are going to have good handling cars this week.
Chase Elliott: With four top ten finishes in his last five Martinsville starts Chase has a chance to win this week. He might need to depending on what happens at Texas. It’s going to be very hard for him to make the championship if he needs to win this race as there are too many drivers who are more consistent here.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game Group B
- Clint Bowyer
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kurt Busch
- William Byron
Driver Group Game Group C
- Tyler Reddick
- Cole Custer
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
- Brad Keselowski
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
Dark Horse: Clint Bowyer
Stay Away From: Matt DiBenedetto
Big 18: Denny Hamlin