NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Xfinity 500
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. We have a Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate. Jim also has a current form and odds breakdown to review how NASCAR's best drivers are performing recently analytically.
Multiple days of waiting for mist to pass from the Fort Worth area meant a Wednesday finish for NASCAR's best, and that was no issue for Kyle Busch. Busch used the track position he obtained when the dominant cars of Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin had trouble, and he held on with just enough fuel to hold off Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell. Busch is no longer in NASCAR's playoffs, meaning only one chance remains for drivers to join Joey Logano in the other three spots of NASCAR's Championship 4 next weekend in Phoenix, and that chance comes at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA. "The Paper Clip" is a 0.5-mile test given its long straightaways and flat corners -- and there is always plenty of contact!
This race's lineup was determined using NASCAR's new qualifying procedure that combines owner points, Wednesday's finish in Texas, and the fastest lap of each driver in that race, which puts Brad Keselowski on the pole for this Sunday's event. All eight remaining playoff drivers will start in the first eight spots -- which will be the case for all playoff participants moving forward. That formula also gives Keselowski the premier pit stall choice.
This is a 500-lap race, which from a fantasy perspective provides plenty of upside for drivers at the front. In fact, laps led are consolidated heavily at this track amongst drivers who excel here, so much so that nine drivers have led 3,542 laps in the last seven races, and the rest of the field combined has led just 53 laps. Certainly, our dominant and high-salaried cars will come from that pack, but this is a long race with plenty of accidents to justify value with other cars starting deeper in the field. That said, it is always a tough balance to find drivers with a high floor from starting deeper in the field while also finding those who are not lapped early on such a short race track.
With that, let's preview the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville.
Martin Truex Jr. ($13,500): A 20-point penalty for an inspection infraction at Texas leaves 2017 champion Truex in a must-win spot, and he nearly pulled it off last week before finishing second to teammate Kyle Busch on Wednesday. If there is positive news for Truex, he is a consensus +350 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook to win this weekend's event at Martinsville. The reason why seems obvious -- Truex has dominated at this track in recent times. He is the winner of the last two races at this half-mile track, including leading 464 of 500 laps one year ago in this event. Truex starts second, which provides him easy access to the lead and gives him a chance to dominate again. He is a strong play in all formats.
Brad Keselowski ($13,000): If Truex is unable to dominant this race, it might be because pole-sitter Keselowski does. "Bad Brad" is no stranger to that, as in April 2019, he led 446 of 500 laps in a dominant win here. Keselowski also has seven top-five finishes in the last eight Martinsville races, so he should factor in somewhere around the front on Sunday. Keselowski is also in need of a win to ensure his championship spot at Phoenix, but unlike Truex, he does have plenty of opportunity to make the finale on points. While the two best drivers both starting on the front row would normally cap the upside for both, there are enough laps led points available here to justify heavy exposure to both Keselowski and Truex in tournaments.
Clint Bowyer ($10,000): The mid-tier drivers to watch are two guys who are among the nine drivers we mentioned in the intro who dominante laps led at Martinsville. These two are also drivers that are retiring after the completion of the season next week in Phoenix. Bowyer has a recent Martinsville win from March 2018, and he led 265 laps in that dominant performance. Bowyer has finished sixth or better in the first stage in each race since, but he has an average finish of just 20.0 in those four races due to various incidents on this hectic track. Since Bowyer is out of the playoff picture, he does start 16th, which gives him some place-differential upside without a huge concern that he'd go a lap down early on.
Jimmie Johnson ($9,700): Johnson has been so frustrating from a DFS perspective, as he has plenty of speed to eclipse a deep starting position but continues to have mechanical issues. On this particular weekend, starting 27th is not the best news given the risk of going a lap down early, but the competition caution at Lap 60 should aide a fast car like Johnson's from going down a lap. Martinsville was the site of the former champion's best 2020 effort in June, as Johnson led 70 laps and won the second stage before faltering to Truex late. If he can avoid trouble again, Johnson checks plenty of boxes as a nine-time Martinsville winner in what is -- realistically -- his final chance to win a NASCAR Cup Series race.
Bubba Wallace ($7,000): One of the strongest cars all race long here in June was Wallace's. He finished in the top 10 in both stages and came in 11th for the race. That marked his third straight top-20 finish at this track, which is great consistency for a driver with this low of a salary. Wallace is a tremendous example of the risk and reward we have to take on with any value play -- there is plenty of place differential upside for him from 32nd, but he is in grave danger of going a lap down early due to starting so deep in the field. That would be an extreme concern if Wallace did not show outright great speed in the June event.
Chris Buescher ($6,600): Sharing plenty of similarities to Wallace is Chris Buescher. He certainly has a liking for this short track, especially given that he has three top-15 finishes in the last four Martinsville races. Also like Bubba, however, is that Buescher wrecked early at Texas and starts a fairly deep 28th in the field this weekend, which puts him in danger of going a lap down, as well. Still, Buescher's 82.4 driver rating here in June was a top-15 rating for the race, and he has six top-15 finishes at short tracks since the start of 2018. If the correct race script helps Buescher stay on the lead lap early, he should be a contender for yet another top-15 finish.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.