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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: STP 500

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking ranks the top 30 drivers racing in the STP 300 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday, April 3.

This Week's STP 500

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After an off weekend, the Sprint Cup Series gets back to business at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Sunday's STP 500 will be the first short track event of the year, and the flat, paperclip-shaped oval is actually the smallest and slowest track on the schedule.

Despite the slow speeds, Martinsville can be one of the most exciting tracks on the schedule, with drivers wearing out their brakes and each other as they try to force their way to the front of the field.

Setting a fantasy lineup at Martinsville can be a little tricky. Yes, there are still several big names that have enjoyed plenty of success at the track, but sleeper drivers tend to hold their own a bit better at short tracks because aerodynamics and horsepower aren't quite as important.

With that in mind, don't be afraid to use a sleeper driver or two this weekend, especially in the Yahoo game. You can only use Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. so many times as B-List options, and even with Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. running well, you are going to be in a bad situation later in the year if you don't budget your starts now. Sunday's race is a great opportunity to use some alternative options.

1. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]

Hamlin is the defending winner of this weekend's race and a five-time winner at Martinsville overall. His 8.1 average finish at the track is the second best in the series, and he was the only driver to finish in the top five in both races at Martinsville last season.

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]

He has had some bad luck at Martinsville in his last few starts, but his resume at the track speaks for itself. He leads all active drivers with eight wins and a 7.5 average finish at Martinsville, and in 28 starts at the track, he has 22 top 10s and 18 top five finishes.

3. DALE EARNHARDT, JR., #88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]

Junior has been coming on strong at Martinsville, logging top 10 finishes in four of the last five starts at the track. He won here in the fall of 2014, and he has finished fourth or better in three of his last four starts. Junior might be the most underappreciated flat track ace in the series.

4. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE[YAHOO CLASS A]

The last time the series visited Martinsville, Logano's day came to an abrupt end when Matt Kenseth stuffed him into the outside wall. However, he had led 207 laps before being wrecked, and he had finished in the top five in his three previous starts at the track. He has also started third or better in four straight races here, so he should be a great source of qualifying bonus points in the Yahoo game, even if you don't end up starting him.

5. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 BUSCH BEER/JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]

Martinsville is not Harvick's best track, but he has still managed to be one of the more consistent performers here. He has four top 10s in his last six starts at the track, scoring the third-most driver points during the same stretch. His last top five came back in 2011, so while it probably isn't the best week to use him as an A-List option, he is still one of the safest picks.


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