NASCAR makes the quick turnaround from Richmond to Martinsville Speedway for a special Saturday evening under the lights. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS players need to know, what to expect for this weekend’s running of the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400, and some early NASCAR fantasy picks.
NASCAR DFS Preview: Blue-Emu 400 at Martinsville
Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 Race Information
- Track: Martinsville Speedway
- Location: Martinsville, Virginia
- Length: 0.5-mile paperclip-shaped oval
- Banking: 12 degrees in the turns
- Race Distance: 400 laps (100/200/400)
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 100 – laps led, 180 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 40 – laps led
- Past winners: Alex Bowman (Fall-2021), Martin Truex Jr. (Spring-2021)
- Betting favorite: Martin Truex Jr. (BetMGM) +550
- Entry List: All 36 Chartered Teams, including A.J. Allmendinger (16), J.J. Yeley (15) and Josh Bilicki (77).
- Weather: High of 54, mostly sunny
- Watch: FOX Sports 1
- Listen: MRN (MRN.com, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Friday, April 8
- 4:30 p.m.: Practice
- 5:05 p.m.: Qualifying
- Saturday, April 9
- 7:30 p.m.: Green flag
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Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 NASCAR DFS Preview
After racing at the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval in Richmond, NASCAR heads southwest to the 0.5-mile, paperclip-shaped, flat oval in Martinsville for 400 laps under the lights and stars. Unlike previous iterations of this event, besides being held on a Saturday, the Blue-Emu 400 will be a night race — not only a night race, but a cool one at that. Race-time temperatures are anticipated to be in the low 50s with numbers dropping into the mid-40s by the time the checkered flag waves.
Generally, the spring Martinsville race has been a mid-afternoon affair that ends before the sun begins to dip below the horizon. However, this year’s version will see the green flag wave at 7:30 p.m., meaning the sun should be nearly gone. Cooler temperatures, combined with this race being held almost entirely under the night sky, could really emphasize the importance of track position, making passing nearly impossible and dooming any driver who has to start at the rear of the field.
Looking Back to Richmond
In a lot of respects, last Sunday at Richmond could tell the tale of what NASCAR fans see at Martinsville on Saturday. Martinsville is a quarter of a mile shorter than Richmond, and shape-wise they are not exactly representative of one another, but in the realm of NASCAR’s shorter venues these tracks are about as close as corollaries get, especially for Martinsville. Seven races into 2022, the debate at each track will be how much of this track’s history can NASCAR DFS players trust in light of numbers in the new Generation 7 vehicle? Last week looked like a perfect combination of both, as Ryan Blaney continued to run strong while the Joe Gibbs stable made a strong rebound at a track they continually run well at.
The driver who started on the pole at Richmond (Blaney), despite pitiful track history, managed to finish with the most laps led despite just the ninth-fastest car in green-flag speed rankings. Although he led 128 laps, Blaney only registered 28 fastest laps suggesting his early strangle on the lead was more about clean air than a fast car. This could easily replicate itself at Martinsville this weekend. All but seven of the 400 laps were led by drivers who started outside of the top 10 on Sunday, and in the Martinsville era during the Generation 6 era, only five times did the driver who led the most or second-most laps start 11th or worse. For what it’s worth, a driver starting outside of the top 10 ending their day as a top-two lap leader hasn’t occurred since the fall of 2016.
With Saturday’s race getting reduced down to 400 laps, from its typical 500 laps, the DFS process that went into last weekend’s race should look fairly similar on Saturday. Of course, all of this hinges on how qualifying plays out on Friday night, but prioritization begins with lap leaders and then filters down to drivers with place differential plus finishing position upside.
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