NASCAR® Driver Rankings: First Data 500

WATCH: NASCAR PRICE CHECK FIRST DATA 500


Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(FPPK = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)

RankDriverSalary
1Kyle Busch$11,000
2Brad Keselowski$9,600
3Martin Truex, Jr.$11,200
4Joey Logano$9,000
5Chase Elliott$9,400

1. Kyle Busch ($11,000) – The No. 18 car was the best car at Martinsville all weekend back in the spring. Busch practically led the entire race until he got a bad set of tires on his last run. Brad Keselowski earned the win, but Busch earned the most fantasy points (164 points). (5.5 FPPK)

2. Brad Keselowski ($9,600) – The assumption is that Keselowski snuck away with the win at Martinsville, but he was fast all weekend. Keselowski recorded 90 fast laps; that’s one less than the leader, Kyle Busch. The Penske Fords have the setup and will likely unload fast this weekend. (4.2 FPPK)

3. Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,200) – Martinsville sticks out as one of Truex’s worst races this season, but it wasn’t. He had the fourth-best average running position. He scored the fifth-most fast laps and laps led points. He was running sixth near the end of the race, but he got spun out. (6.5 FPPK)

4. Joey Logano ($9,000) – Early in the season, the Penske Ford’s were strong. Logano was a top-tier driver at the flat, short tracks (Phoenix, Martinsville and Richmond). This is a Toyota season, but Martinsville is not like any other track. Watch out for Team Penske. (3.3 FPPK)

5. Chase Elliott ($9,400) – The No. 24 car has nine wins at Martinsville. This is hallowed grounds for Hendrick. The home of the organization’s first win and its greatest tragedy. Martinsville is serious business, and Elliott is a contender. He scored the fourth-most fantasy points in the spring race. (4.2 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
6AJ Allmendinger$6,000
7Kyle Larson$10,400
8Matt Kenseth$9,300
9Denny Hamlin$9,200
10Jamie McMurray$8,500

6. AJ Allmendinger ($6,000) – Forget about the road courses; Martinsville is Allmendinger’s best track. It’s undeniable. He has a top-15 finish in 10 of the last 12 Martinsville races. (3.7 FPPK)

7. Kyle Larson ($10,400) – It’s winning time. His championship dream came to an end when his engine expired for the first time in his career. Larson has been a solid top-10 driver at Martinsville over the last two years, but his team did not have a winning car at Martinsville in the spring. (5.4 FPPK)

8. Matt Kenseth ($9,300) – Everyone knows that Truex, Kyle Busch and Larson have been the fastest this season. The next step down isn’t as obvious. At the short tracks, Kenseth ranks fifth in fast laps and laps led. (3.5 FPPK)

9. Denny Hamlin ($9,200) – There was a time when Hamlin was a god at Martinsville. He finished sixth or better in 11 of 12 races between 2006 and 2012 (four wins). He’s still good, but not the greatest. In his last five Martinsville races, he has two third-place finishes and a win. (4.1 FPPK)

10. Jamie McMurray ($8,500) – Flat tires ruin good race cars. McMurray had a car that could have won the first Martinsville race, but a cut tire ended his day early. Before that wreck, McMurray had top-10s in three of his last four Martinsville races. (3.3 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
11Kevin Harvick$10,200
12Jimmie Johnson$9,800
13Clint Bowyer$8,800
14Ryan Newman$7,400
15Austin Dillon$7,500

11. Kevin Harvick ($10,200) – The Stewart-Haas Racing Fords have made a giant leap forward at the intermediate tracks. Martinsville will be a big test. Can they compete with the Toyota’s at a short, flat track? Harvick’s last top-15 finish at The Paperclip was in 2015. (4.4 FPPK)

12. Jimmie Johnson ($9,800) – The short, flat tracks have not been strong races for Johnson this season. His best finish is ninth. His worst finish was 15th at Martinsville. If anyone can right the ship, it’s the nine-time Martinsville winner. (3.8 FPPK)

13. Clint Bowyer ($8,800) – Kansas may be his home track, but Bowyer is a short-track guy. Don’t look at his 2016 stats for HScott Motorsports. From 2007 to 2014, Bowyer earned 12 top-10s in 15 Martinsville races. (3.3 FPPK)

14. Ryan Newman ($7,400) – It’s guaranteed that the phrase, “Ryan Newman is the toughest driver to pass in NASCAR” will be mentioned in the TV broadcast this weekend. Anyone remember Dover? The hardest to pass driver at the track where it’s the hardest to pass, that’s hard to pass up. (4.1 FPPK)

15. Austin Dillon ($7,500) – Experience matters at unique tracks, and this will be Dillon’s 12th time racing at Martinsville (including truck races). He doesn’t have a win. His average finish is a mediocre 16th, but his average start is 26th. Dillon knows how to move through the field at Martinsville. (3.5 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
16Ryan Blaney$8,200
17Erik Jones$8,600
18Kasey Kahne$7,900
19Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$8,000
20Kurt Busch$8,300

16. Ryan Blaney ($8,200) – The short-track woes reared their ugly head again at Dover. Blaney has the 15th-best average running position on the short tracks this season. His average finish ranks 26th. Those are frightening numbers. (3.0 FPPK)

17. Erik Jones ($8,600) – Martinsville doesn’t seem like it’s a Jones track, but Jones is still new. It’s not quite clear where his strengths will lie. He never won a truck race at Martinsville, but he always finished on the lead lap. (3.9 FPPK)

18. Kasey Kahne ($7,900) – Hendrick always races well at Martinsville. A Kahne win would be surprising, but no one expected Gordon to win the Martinsville fall 2015 race or Earnhardt, Jr. in the fall 2014 race. The 2016 fall winner was another unexpected Hendrick victory by Jimmie Johnson. (3.2 FPPK)

19. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($8,000) – The spring race wasn’t as bad as it looks. Junior had a top-15 car for most of the race, but he wrecked on lap 419 of 500. It’s not impossible for Earnhardt to win this weekend if he plays the strategy correctly. Jeff Gordon won his final race at Martinsville. (2.7 FPPK)

20. Kurt Busch ($8,300) – His track history at Martinsville might be some of the worst numbers in NASCAR. He won at Martinsville in 2014. That is his only top-10 at Martinsville in the last 11 years. That’s not a typo. Over his career, he has four top-10s at Martinsville (34 races). (3.1 FPPK)

 


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.