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Gas-N-Go NASCAR DFS Picks for the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on DraftKings + FanDuel

Phillip Bennetzen

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The field is set for Sunday’s Xfinity 500 race at Martinsville, and with Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott on the front row we can get into some NASCAR DFS today. With the help of Awesemo’s premium data and expert tools, and a free look at some of the top lineup optimizer picks, we can get into some of the best NASCAR DFS picks today for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.

Xfinity 500 NASCAR DFS Picks

Kyle Larson, 1st ($11,800 DraftKings, $13,000 FanDuel) GPP (Dominator)

Weeks in which beds are made by how one handles the Series’ best driver aren’t great for cash games but are fantastic for tournaments. Larson has victories in the 750-horsepower package in 2021 but they’ve come at tracks not resembling Martinsville whatsoever (Bristol, Nashville). At tracks like Martinsville, or at least its best corollaries, Larson has been good but not his dominant self. There are definitely reasons why the numbers aren’t as eye-popping as what he did at Nashville earlier in the Summer (Phoenix — multiple pit road penalties) but the fact remains that at Martinsville plus Phoenix, Richmond 1 and 2, plus New Hampshire, Larson only has one top-five, an average running position outside the top-10, and has led nine total laps. This, on top of the disappointing recent history of pole-sitters at Martinsville, and DFS players have every reason to finally jump ship and go underweight on Larson in tournaments — especially at the slate’s projected highest owned driver.

However, this is Larson, who had the fastest car (in terms of green flag speed ranking) at Bristol and ranked fourth at the second Richmond race. Larson is completely capable of taking advantage of his pole position, unlike the past five drivers to start first and lead a vast swath of this event. His history suggests this shouldn’t happen, as Martinsville ranks as his second-worst track in terms of average finish (21.1 through 13 starts). Yet, if 2021 has shown the NASCAR world anything, it’s don’t judge Larson in Hendrick Motorsports equipment by his years of service racing for Chip Ganassi.

Denny Hamlin, 3rd ($10,700 DraftKings, $13,500 FanDuel) Cash, GPP (Dominator)

Currently sitting third in the playoff picture, 32 points above the cutoff, Hamlin is where lineups should begin, whether in cash or tournaments this Sunday. If not for New Hampshire where Hamlin spun, on the same lap that took out Kyle Busch and attempted to claim Martin Truex Jr., Hamlin has finished top-three in all of this weekend’s corollary races. Besides the high finishes, Hamlin has had the speed to match ranking first or second in green-flag speed all five of these short, flatter track races in 2021. Furthermore, Hamlin has capitalized on this speed knocking down dominator points in the process:

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  • Phoenix – 33 laps led, 38 fastest laps
  • Martinsville – 276 laps led, 81 fastest laps
  • Richmond 1 – 207 laps led, 89 fastest laps
  • New Hampshire – 1 lap led, 24 fastest laps
  • Richmond 2 – 197 laps led, 72 fastest laps

Joey Logano, 5th ($9,500 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel) Cash, GPP (Dominator)

Just seven points separate the drivers situated in spots fourth through seventh for the final spot in the championship four at Phoenix. Joey Logano is not part of that gaggle as he trails Kyle Busch by 26 points. Thus, while everyone else may be playing Sunday close to the vest looking to accrue stage points, Logano is in such a position that he needs to go out and get a victory to fight for the Cup title next Sunday. Luckily for Logano, Martinsville has been one of his better tracks of late with six top-10 finishes in his past seven races here. During that time span, he’s averaging over 70 laps led per race. However, it is worth noting that the bulk of that came from two races in which Logano led 309 and 234 laps. Further making the case for Logano has been his consistency at this track type in 2021. In these five races, Logano has yet to finish worse than sixth while having an average green-flag speed ranking of 11th or better in each event.

At Kansas last Sunday, the No. 22 team showed they were willing to go off-script in order to get Logano out front, attempt to inherit the lead, and then use Logano’s blocking skills to hopefully steal a victory. Them doing the same this weekend should be expected in order to get Logano that elusive victory so that he can compete for the championship at Phoenix. Martinsville presents ample opportunities to long-pit and hope for a caution, thus giving Logano that lead.

Chris Buescher, 15th ($5,900 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel) GPP

This point has been made in previous posts but AJ Allmendinger must be a heck of a coach. He seemingly takes every younger driver under his wing and teaches them everything he knows about a track or driving style. In the Xfinity Series, Justin Haley has become a top-10 road course racer while also being one of the best superspeedway drivers — both obvious strong suits of Allmendinger. In the Cup Series, Buescher spent several seasons with Allmendinger at JTG Daugherty, and during that time, NASCAR fans saw Buescher improve in those two types of events as well.

However, the numbers also show that Buescher became a better driver at the two tracks that Allmendinger has his career-best average finishes at, sans road courses, Martinsville and Phoenix. Dating back to 2018, Buescher has four finishes of 13th or higher, including this past spring’s race. Starting 15th doesn’t leave nearly any place differential, yet, Buescher still has viability in tournaments provided he can hold position, hang on to the lead lap, and outscore the rest of these drivers via his finishing position points.

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Erik Jones, 28th ($6,900 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel) Cash, GPP

Do certain tracks matter more to teams than others? The case can certainly be made that Richard Petty Motorsports puts a hair more focus on setting up their cars for Martinsville. In Bubba Wallace‘s last four starts at Martinsville, he managed to crack the top-15 twice while finishing no worse than 21st. Fast forward to this year and the corollary seems to have fallen off as Erik Jones finished 30th. Yet, buried in that finish is the fact that Jones had to retire early due to a rear-gear issue on lap 403 after holding an average running position of 21st. Save for that Martinsville result, Jones has run fairly well (considering this equipment with finishes of 21st or better in these corollary races.

For the season, at one-mile or shorter tracks, Jones ranks 20th in green-flag speed — better than Bubba Wallace, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer, Chris Buescher, Ryan Newman — all in presumed better equipment. Jones should be in contention to pick up around eight to 10 spots on Sunday, and perhaps a little more should he be on the better side of variance. However, don’t be shocked to see his ownership outrank every one of those previous drivers.


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Virginia is for Punters

After weeks of purposely avoiding the punt plays, Martinsville presents the perfect opportunity to openly embrace these plays. DFS players may wonder just what has changed to make them viable, in a conceivably much tougher race versus the past few weeks at Kansas and Texas? Truth be told, it’s the fact that this race is so tough. The attrition that accompanies a 500-lap race opens the door for the punts to grab double-digit place differential. All these drivers have to do is not suffer a mechanical issue or get caught up in a wreck themselves. Should they accomplish both, then they can end their day with 30-plus DraftKings points and 70-plus FanDuel points and make triple-dominator lineups viable.

For those still not convinced, pull back the curtain and check out the past three optimal lineups in the Race Sheets. Each of the past three races, all featuring the high-horsepower, low-downforce package have had optimal DraftKings lineups with a “punt” play, AKA a driver priced at $5,900 or below. Furthermore, in two of the past three optimal FanDuel lineups, punts have made the top-scoring lineup. This is all to say, in three dominator lineups, don’t be afraid to dip down in this range but do mix and match not pushing too much ownership on any singular driver. The gaggle of Cody Ware, Timmy Hill, BJ McLeod, Josh Billicki, and Joey Gase all have similar ceilings, according to the Top Driver Tool.


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Phill Bennetzen is a father, husband, and Catholic as well as a self-professed annoying fitness guy. Phill heads up NASCAR content at Awesemo.com. You can contact Phill by emailing [email protected].

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