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Fantasy NASCAR Recommendations for 2011 Goody’s Relief 500 at Martinsville

Posted by chadmusselman on March 28, 2011

The 6th race of the season will be in Martinsville, Virginia.  This is the race where the 2011 standings start to matter and the top 35 are guaranteed a starting position, and the others who want to race have to earn their way in by qualifying.  This is also the week that I have to look at the 2011 standings to make my recommendations.  The Dark Horse pick now must be outside of the top 15 in the 2011 standings and not have made the chase last season.

Want to talk about domination at a track?  The last 9 races have been won by only two drivers.  Want to guess who they are?  …. It’s Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.  Johnson has won 5 and Hamlin has won 4.  Pretty impressive.

This Week’s Recommendations:

Chaser: Denny Hamlin
To put it in poker terms, Denny Hamlin has been sick at Martinsville over the past couple years.  He has won the last three races here and four of the last six.  The only time he’s finished outside of the top ten was back in 2006 when he finished 37th.  Hamlin has a remarkable record at Martinsville.  In eleven career races he has accumulated four wins, eight top five and ten top ten finishes.  His average finish of 6.1 is second best to only Jimmie Johnson.  As much as Jimmie Johnson was a no brainer last week, Denny is a no brainer this week.

Alternate Chaser: Jimmie Johnson
If you thought Hamlin’s numbers were gaudy check out Jimmie Johnson’s.  18 career races with 17 top ten and 15 top five finishes.  He has also won 6 races at the track and owns the best average finish among active drivers (5.3).  The only time Johnson has finished outside of the top ten was in his first race at the track back in 2002.  Hamlin should be the only driver that can challenge him for the win.  If you don’t put one of them on your fantasy NASCAR team this weekend, you’re nuts.

Mark Martin
Martin has finished in the top ten in three of the last four races in Martinsville.  This will be his 47th race at the track, so there is no other driver that knows the track better.  Martin finds himself 13th in points currently and will be working to get his way back into the top ten and look to stay there.  That push should start this coming weekend.  He is a good driver and is always a contender for a top ten or top five finish.

Ryan Newman
Like Mart Martin, Ryan Newman has three top ten finishes in the last four races here.  He’s also been hot in 2011 averaging a 9.4 place finish in the first five races.  Although Newman doesn’t have a win yet in Martinsville, he has collected six top five finishes and finished 2nd once.  It looks like this could be the year that Newman puts it together and starts winning races again.  He should be a contender every week and be able to make the chase again this season.

Dark Horse: Joey Logano
I’m going out on a limb picking Logano as the dark horse this week.  He’s in one of the bottom 10 drivers in average finish position (25.4) and is in 29th place in the standings.  The good news is that Logano has had some success at Martinsville.   Last year he had finishes of 2nd and 6th, and is averaging a 13th place finish at the track in his 4 career races.  This could be the race that Logano starts to dig himself out of the cellar.  If he doesn’t, it could be a very long season.

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