2017 Martinsville Speedway, STP 500

We are five weeks into the season and we have five different winners so far. I have come to the conclusion that I personally don’t care for stage racing. To me it doesn’t make the races any more exciting because you can’t really tell who is in the top ten at the time anyway because they aren’t showing that on TV. They show the leader go across the line and that is all. Also, I think it makes the points standings difficult to follow and it does nothing to make the end of races more exciting. The drivers do that themselves. One thing it does do though is keep the field a little tighter and put more people on the lead lap when you have a dominant car and no cautions, but I could do without it.

STP 500

Congratulations to Kyle Larson who picked up his first win of the season this past weekend in California. Kyle has finished in the top two in four of the five races run so far this year. This week the series heads back east to the Martinsville Speedway for the running of the STP 500. Martinsville is the shortest track on the circuit with small pit stalls and no banking on the track. Qualifying will be at a premium to get the best pit selections which can win you the race here.

Kyle Busch: Kyle won this race last year and has finished in the top five here in his last four starts. He has also qualified in the top ten in nine of his last ten races here with the other start being eleventh. This bodes well at a track where pit selection is very important and those pit selections are based on where you qualify. I think this team will be the sixth different team to head to victory lane this season.

Denny Hamlin: With five wins here, twelve top five finishes and seventeen top ten finishes in twenty-two starts, Denny is no slouch at this track. He is one of the most consistent drivers here and will give Kyle all he can handle in this race. It would not be a surprise to see him qualify well and run up front all day this coming weekend. One way or another, I think we get a new winner this weekend.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is still looking for his first grandfather clock which is the trophy for winning a Martinsville race. However, he has finished in the top ten in eight of his fourteen starts including three top five finishes in his last four races here. This team overcame some more early adversity last weekend to come back and finish in the top five at California with a damaged car.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie is the most consistent driver at this track of all the active drivers. This might be the place where he and Chad Knaus can get to victory lane for the first time this season. He has nine wins here and has nineteen top five and twenty-four top ten finishes in thirty starts. If you finish in the top ten in 80% of your races at any track you know what you are doing there. Tough to leave this guy off your roster this week.

Joey Logano: Joey is another driver looking for his first win at this track. However, he has led more laps here over the last four races than any other driver. He has also qualified first or second in his last five races here and as I said a couple of times already, qualifying is very important at this track. Look for Joey to have another great car coming into the weekend and we will have to wait and see if his team can keep up with the adjustments to their car to have a shot at the win late in the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale runs well here on a consistent basis also. He won a race at Martinsville in the fall of 2014. Add to that eighteen top ten finishes in thirty-three career starts which means he has a top ten run in over half of his starts at this track. This team hasn’t run as well as they would like on the intermediate tracks so far this year and like teammate, Jimmie Johnson, this might be the type of track that is just what the doctor ordered to get them on track once again.

Kyle Larson: The hottest driver on the tour right now, Kyle will carry a lot of momentum into this weekend’s race. In his six starts here his best finish was a third place finish in this race last season. That is his only top ten finish in his six starts here. His average finishing position in his other five starts here is twenty-sixth. Doesn’t really give me a lot of confidence in him this week, but like Martin Truex showed us the past couple of seasons, the past doesn’t always tell us how a driver will run every week no matter what track they are on.

Clint Bowyer: Clint has gotten better and better every week. This is the type of track he really excels on and this could be the week he picks up his first win in a long time. I think this team will qualify well and run well the entire race this weekend and it won’t be a surprise to see him battling for the win late in the race this weekend at Martinsville.

Jamie McMurray: Jamie is still looking for his first win at this track and as a matter of fact, he has only finished in the top five here twice in twenty-eight starts here. Then again, he has finished in the top ten in fifteen of those races which tells me Jamie knows how to get around this track pretty well and if things fall in line for him he could surprise a lot of people by being in contention late in the race this weekend.

Matt Kenseth: Matt is another driver who has struggled with his finishing positions so far this season. His is not a matter of poor driving or poor equipment. He is struggling with bad luck, pure and simple. This might be the type of race this team needs to turn their fortunes around too. Matt is still looking for his first win at this track, but he has finished in the top six in five of his last seven starts here which tells me they have figured something out here and will probably continue to get better every time they come here.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Denny Hamlin

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Jamie McMurray
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Ryan Newman
  • Austin Dillon

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Ty Dillon
  • Daniel Suarez


  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Joey Logano

Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray

Stay Away From: Kurt Busch

Big 18: Jamie McMurray

11 thoughts on “2017 Martinsville Speedway, STP 500

    1. Allmendinger is a road course driver and this track is flat, so I think he would be a good driver to take a chance on here.

  1. I don’t mind the stage racing, I don’t think there should be a caution between stages, let em race. NASCAR has so many cautions now it starting not to be racing, start a Fantasy NASCAR Caution League.

  2. On the driver preview page, where do you come up with the total expected? For example I copied and pasted this Fantasy NASCAR Driver Points to Expect from Kyle Busch
    For your fantasy NASCAR team you can expect around 39 driver points to be earned by Kyle Busch this race at Martinsville as that is his average points earned over the last five races here. I thought maybe it came from yahoo but when I looked at their scoring it shows they start out with 90 pts for the winner and drop from there. so I would assume a driver like kyle would be higher then 39 pts. thanks for your help

    1. @Tracey…(this is Darren, I run the site. I am no where near the greatness of Jeff in writing articles) that’s a very good catch and something that slipped by me for this year. Those Weekly Driver Preview articles are something I scripted a few years back when I found a large group of websites (under the same “umbrella site”) that generated “ai articles” (artificial intelligence articles) based completely on stats. I was fascinated by the concept of writing articles that conveyed statistical information and used words that were descriptive of the statistical performance. For example, a finish of 30th in the previous race could be described as ‘mediocre’, ‘lackluster’ or ‘not so good’. On the contrary, a 6th place finish could be described as ‘very good’, ‘exceptional’ or ‘great’.

      I wrote what was a ‘base article format’ with content I thought was relevant and helpful and then wrote a script to pull statistics for each driver and create a unique(ish) article by randomly selecting the various words to coincide with the statistical data. Unfortunately, and now thankfully pointed out by you, I see that I have predictive points in the article based on the former NASCAR points system. I’m going to need to think of a different way to analyze the data to continue the predictive points section of those articles. It is the segment points mostly that throw a wrench in it. I may consider using the Loop Data metrics of ‘Average Running Position’ and ‘Percent of laps run in the Top-15’ as some kind of weighting. Hmmmm…….

    1. Fifteen top tens in those races is why I am using him in the Big 18. You can only use a driver twice during the year and he is one of those I am probably wanting to use and this is a good track for that with him behind the wheel. Besides, the way he and Larson are running so far this year I think he is going to do well this weekend.

    1. I have the same dilemma on my Yahoo team this week. They were both about the same in practice too. I am going with my gut and taking Dillon this week. That is the only thing I am going on between those two. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but that is how close to each other they have been this weekend.

      1. I feel the same. I think Suarez will improve as the season goes and I think he is better suited for other tracks. Was just seeing if you saw something i didnt. Thanks!

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