Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaves the West Coast behind and heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Sunday's STP 500 will be the first short track race of the year, and it will kick off a stretch of three short track events in a four-race span.
Martinsville is actually the smallest and slowest track on the schedule, but the flat, paperclip-shaped oval is far from boring. The track can be brutal on brakes, and Martinsville tight, narrow pit road is one of the most treacherous in the series.
For fantasy owners in the Yahoo, a trip to a flat track offers a chance to lean on some different drivers. The early portion of the season has been filled with races at big, fast ovals where the top drivers and top teams tend to dominate. Short tracks level the playing field just a bit, and Sunday's race is a good opportunity to utilize the middle-tier drivers in all three groups.
Remember, you can only use each driver nine times over the course of the year, so you have to budget your starts wisely. Short tracks, road course and restrictor-plate tracks are your best chances for earning solid finishes from unexpected options. Take advantage this weekend at Martinsville.
1. KYLE BUSCH, #18 M&M'S, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Busch is the defending winner of this weekend's race, leading 352 of the 500 laps. He has now has eight straight Top 15s at Martinsville, and he has five Top 5s in that stretch, including three straight.
2. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
He has been one of the top drivers at Martinsville throughout his career, and in 22 starts, Hamlin has notched five wins, 17 Top 10s and a 9.2 average finish. He also has four Top 10s in his last five starts here, including three finishes of third or better in his last four.
3. BRAD KESELOWSKI, #2 MILLER LITE, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Keselowski continues to develop into one of the most reliable fantasy plays at Martinsville. His seven Top 10s in the last 10 races here are the most of any driver, and he has three Top 5s in his last four starts, including a pair of runner-up efforts.
4. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Over the last three seasons, Logano's 11.5 average finish is the second best at Martinsville. He has finished 11th or better in five of his six starts in that stretch, cracking the Top 5 three time. At the very least, you should stash Logano on your bench to try to grab some qualifying points. He has started on the front row in the last five Martinsville races.
5. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
After a bit of a drought at Martinsville by his standards, Johnson returned to victory lane at the track last fall. He now has nine wins at the paperclip-shaped track, and he has 24 Top 10s and a series-leading 7.3 average finish in 30 career starts here. I think he busts out of his early-season funk this weekend.