After a lengthy trip out West, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is heading back East for a date with one of the sport’s most iconic tracks.
Drivers will lineup Sunday for the STP 500 to compete for the grandfather clock trophy at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Va. The track, which is the shortest on the NASCAR circuit, always makes for exciting, close-quarters racing. However, not every driver is built for Martinsville, and setting fantasy lineups for the race can be especially difficult.
You might have a budget, or you might have a limit to the amount of times you can pick a given driver. Whatever your league’s format, we’ve got you covered in determining who to ride with Sunday, and who to stay away from.
Must pick: Jimmie Johnson
A case could be made here for Kyle Larson, who’s hotter than anyone in the sport right now. But history has to count for something at a track as unique as Martinsville, and there’s currently no one in the series who’s had more success at the famed speedway than Johnson.
The Hendricks Motorsports driver has nine career wins at the track, easily the most of anyone on the circuit. Get him in your lineups Sunday.
Stay away: Erik Jones
Jones has been very impressive, as he seems to improve every week. But Martinsville historically hasn’t been kind to rookie drivers, which could mean tough fantasy days for drivers such as Jones, Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon.
Sleeper pick: Jamie McMurray
Chip Ganassi Racing might the hottest team in NASCAR right now, and McMurray could help continue that trend Sunday. Not only does he always race well at Martinsville, but McMurray also enters Sunday’s race having finished in the top 10 in three consecutive short-track races.
Value pick: Matt DiBenedetto
Succeeding in NASCAR fantasy is as much about managing the bottom of your rosters as it is about managing the top. DiBenedetto hasn’t set the world on fire this season, but he has finished in the high 20s in every race accept the Daytona 500.
Given that avoiding rookie drivers could be a smart move Sunday, a driver like DiBenedetto might be the best value play left.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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