NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Cook Out 400 at Martinsville

Okay, so that was a crazy finish last week. Perhaps we can finally stop talking about restarts. No, wait. Maybe not. Last week's winner Denny Hamlin is pretty darn good at Martinsville with his five wins, 19 Top 5s, 25 Top 10s, four poles, and 2,382 laps led. Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. aren't too shabby either. 
Can Denny make it two in a row? Interestingly enough, teammate Martin Truex Jr. was the most recent driver to win consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Martinsville (Oct. 2019; June 2020).
This Week's Pick Strategy: I can't decide whether to go with the tried and true Martinsville elite drivers or mix it up with some surprises. We could very well see all the Stewart-Hass Racing drivers shine this weekend. I'll start with a couple key elite drivers and then fill in based on practice and qualifying.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Chase Elliott - 5 
All with 4 - Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr.
All with 3 -  William Byron, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin

By Track 
Joey Logano - 9
Ryan Blaney - 8
All with 6 -  Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, and Brad Keselowski
Both with 5 - Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch      
Last Year's Pole Winners: Ryan Preece
Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Larson
The Likely Suspects: My Martinsville go-tos are Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is a tie between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. My next picks are Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Bubba Wallace. I will complete my roster with Chase Briscoe and Ryan Preece.

My Final Four: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Briscoe.

Second-Look Driver: This week's sleeper pick is Chase Briscoe. Chase has the 11th-best driver rating at Martinsville. He made a dismal Martinsville debut in 2021 finishing 27th, but has improved steadily. In fact, Chase has not finished outside the Top 10 in his last four Martinsville starts. He finished ninth place in both the April and October races in 2022, and earned a fifth place finish in April 2023 after leading 109 laps, and earned a fourth this past October. It doesn't hurt that Stewart-Haas Racing runs pretty well at Martinsville.
Points to Ponder:
  • Seven NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Speedway pole winners are active this weekend, led by Joey Logano with five, followed by Denny Hamlin with four, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch tied with with two each, and Ryan Preece, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Larson, all with one each.
  • Eleven of the 59 different NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Speedway winners are active this weekend, led by Denny Hamlin with five, Martin Truex Jr. with three, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch with two wins, and Christopher Bell, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano with one win each. 
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville with four runner-up finishes (2012, 2017, 2018, 2021). 
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active Cup drivers in Top 5 finishes with 19 at Martinsville Speedway as well as in Top 10s at Martinsville with 25; followed Kyle Busch with 21. Hamlin also leads active Cup Series drivers in laps lead at the Paper Clip with 2,382 (14%) in 36 starts.
  • Ryan Blaney leads the series among active drivers in average finishing position at Martinsville Speedway with a 9.0 in 16 races.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 4:20 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 6th, final picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, April 7th.
Enjoy the race!


Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 17 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Cook Out 400 at Martinsville NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, April 05, 2024 Rating: 5