NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 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!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed the Daytona 500 on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Before an off week for the Easter holiday, NASCAR made its return to dirt in a wild, ugly race at Bristol Motor Speedway. On a tough Monday afternoon, Joey Logano navigated the dirt the best to win NASCAR's first event off pavement since the 1970s. Logano's win marked the seventh different winner in seven races this season, and yet another different winner could be in store this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. This flat, 0.5-mile track is slow and offers plenty of contact as drivers navigate 500 laps around "The Paper Clip." Martinsville's hot dogs are incredibly famous, as well.
The starting lineup for this event was set through NASCAR's general qualifying format, which is a weighted average of the prior race's finishing position, prior race's fastest lap, and driver points. That formula put the Bristol winner Logano on the pole for the event, and Denny Hamlin is on the outside of the front row. Pit stalls for the event were selected in the same order.
With that in mind, let's preview the Blu-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville on FanDuel.
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): Martin Truex Jr. rightfully earned the top spot in the salary pool this weekend. Truex won back-to-back Martinsville races between October 2019 and June 2020, and he was in line for a third victory before pitting with a loose wheel late last October and finishing 22nd. Still, in that latest event, Truex led 129 laps and has led 725 laps total across the last three events as the clear, dominant car each race. It should instill even more fear in the field that Truex was victorious in Phoenix earlier this year, which is the lone short, flat track that NASCAR has visited in 2021. He starts seventh, but that should be close enough to the front for him to still have a chance to lead a significant chunk of the opening stage.
Brad Keselowski ($13,000): Although others have periodically been more dominant here than Keselowski has, no driver has been more consistent than him as this short track. Keselowski has nine top-five finishes in his last 10 races at Martinsville, which is nearly unfathomable at a track with this many accidents and issues. Keselowski led 446 of 500 laps in March 2019, and even though he has led just 8 laps here since, his average running position was inside the top five last October. On top of that, he had wins and laps led last season at short, flat tracks like Loudon and Richmond. Keselowski is a threat to lead and win once again Saturday night.
Alex Bowman ($9,500): Playing the mid-range tier can be perilous at a short track, because these drivers lack some of the laps-led potential of the higher-salary guys but also don't offer a lot of place-differential upside. This week's mid-range is actually fairly desirable grading on a curve. While laps led are still unlikely from these two I'm going to highlight, it is at least possible. Bowman's upside will partly come from starting 20th, and he finished 6th in both 2020 events at Martinsville. With teammate Chase Elliott winning the second race here last year, Bowman's equipment has performed well at the track before. It never hurts to have the number 48 here, either, which Jimmie Johnson won with nine times between 2002 and 2017.
Kurt Busch ($9,000): One spot behind Bowman in the starting grid is Kurt Busch, and Busch is a regular inside the top-10 spots at this tiny track. He finished fifth and ninth in the two events in 2020 at this track, and he added 23 laps led in October, although that was primarily due to pit strategy. This track usually favors veterans over younger drivers. Busch's results back that up, as he has seven straight finishes of 12th or better here after recording just four such finishes in his 34 starts prior to that recent streak. Busch is a solid play who will likely be a popular target among this salary range.
Bubba Wallace ($7,000): One of Wallace's 2020 efforts that landed him such a high-profile ride at 23XI racing for this year came in Martinsville last June, where Wallace scored points in both stages and finished 11th overall in underfunded Richard Petty Motorsports equipment. He now drives for Toyota, which has posted 10 top-five finishes in the last six Martinsville races with -- at most -- five total cars entered. Bubba's best finish of 2021 so far was at the short, flat Phoenix track, where he finished 16th and led four laps. Starting 25th after a tough afternoon at Bristol, Wallace profiles as a good value target.
Ross Chastain ($3,500): NASCAR salaries on FanDuel are normally incredibly efficient, but this particular one seems a bit absurd. Chastain is in the same equipment as teammate Kurt Busch, but he comes at a fraction of the salary. Chastain's salary is in the range of cars that will struggle to complete all 500 laps, but Chastain has already had several top-20 finishes (four) in 2021. His upside from 27th position if he could score another top-20 showing would be outstanding for a guy at this salary. The rookie is also not a total newcomer to Martinsville, as he led 31 laps here and finished fifth in October's Xfinity Series event. Using Chastain frees up a bunch of salary, and he may be the best $3,500 play we get all season.
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.