Daily Fantasy NASCAR Track Preview: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500

With 500 laps set for Saturday night's race in Martinsville, how should we alter roster construction for NASCAR DFS?

It's a Ricky Bobby kind of week for NASCAR DFS. If you ain't first, you're last.

The one deviation is that we're not talking about finishing position. This is on a lap-by-lap basis. If drivers in your DFS lineup aren't leading laps, you might as well not enter.

The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 in Martinsville is 500 laps long, tying the longest race we'll see the entire year. That leaves 50.0 FanDuel points available for laps led. You're going to want as many of those in your lineups as humanly possible.

But just how aggressive do we have to be in trying to pin down lap-leaders? And how does this alter our roster construction? Let's dig in and find out how we should attack Saturday night's race.

Maximizing Lap-Leaders

Our best corollaries for this week will be last year's two Martinsville races. They're the only 500-lap races at short, flat tracks we've got, but they also took place with no qualifying and with the current rules package. It's a good template to work off of.

Both those races show us the importance of targeting potential lap-leaders. Here's the perfect FanDuel lineup from the spring race.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Martin Truex Jr.$14,0005th132
Joey Logano$12,0003rd234
Jimmie Johnson$10,20021st70
Matt DiBenedetto$8,00019th0
Bubba Wallace$5,00023rd0

And here's the one from the fall.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Chase Elliott$12,3008th236
Ryan Blaney$11,60010th36
Kurt Busch$10,5005th23
Aric Almirola$8,70020th0
Matt Kenseth$6,80031st0

Both lineups had a driver who led at least 230 laps. Even though the fall lineup had just one difference-making lap-leader, it still had three drivers who started in the top 10. The two perfect lineups contained an average of 365.5 laps led. That's more than we've had in a race yet this year.

So, yeah, laps led are a priority. That's the main thread here: you need to sell your soul to find lap-leaders.

As discussed leading into previous races of this nature, that leads to increased appeal for the mid-range. Both lineups had a driver in the $10,000 range, and both wound up leading a non-negligible number of laps. If you find a driver in that range who could jump out front and contend for a top-five finish, they have more appeal here than they do in shorter races.

Finding those mid-range plays allows you to jam in three potential lap-leaders without having a completely top-heavy roster. But a stars-and-scrubs approach also isn't the worst idea here.

As you can see with the perfect lineups, we can sometimes get drivers with low salaries who pop up and produce good outings. There's a larger pool of drivers who can realistically contend at Martinsville than in Atlanta, so punting is more viable here than it is elsewhere.

Those lower-salaried plays are where you can scoop some place-differential. Even with the emphasis on laps led, there were still five drivers who started 19th or lower in last year's two perfect lineups. Especially with finishing order at the Bristol dirt race partially dictating the starting grid, we'll be able to find drivers projected to finish better than they're starting. They're in play as long as they don't deprive you of lap-leaders.

That last part there is key. There are some solid drivers in the middle tier of salaries who are starting further back. You can absolutely use them because if they get a top-10, they'll score well. You'll just want to make sure they're not depriving you off potential lap-leaders elsewhere in your lineup as those drivers will be the true difference-makers for the week.

The final thing worth noting from a starting position perspective is that you'll likely want at least one driver starting in the first few rows in each lineup.

Last year showed you can absolutely make passes at Martinsville, so starting deeper in the back half of the top 10 is not a detriment for trying to find a winner. However, it will take them at least a bit of time to work their way forward. You want someone who will run out front and lead laps while that process is taking place.

So, as an example, if you want to check out Brad Keselowski starting in 10th, you have full leeway to do so. It'd just be wise to pair him with another driver starting closer to the front who can rack up upside while Keselowski works through traffic.

Laps led are always important for DFS. We're just in the unique position this week where there are more available and we've got a good idea of who will likely scoop them up. That forces us to get a minimum of two and at times three lap-leaders in each lineup.

Failing to account for the composition of this race will have your lineups coming up short for both cash games and tournaments, so make sure as you map out lineups that you're giving proper attention to the front of the pack. That's where the lineup-building process has to start and revolve around this week.