The field is set for Saturday’s Trucks Series race at Martinsville with John Hunter Nemechek and Todd Gilliland on the front row. Let’s delve into the top NASCAR DFS picks for the United Rentals 200.
United Rentals 200 NASCAR Trucks DFS Picks
John Hunter Nemechek, 1st ($10,600 DraftKings)
Guess how many races, in the 2021 Trucks schedule, have featured “short tracks?” Defining that term as simply a mile or shorter, the answer is four. Now, when the dirt races are removed (Knoxville, Bristol), the data set falls to just two events – Richmond in the Spring and Bristol a month or so ago. First, this seems like a scheduling error that NASCAR should fix. Second, this creates a data research problem where DFS players have just two events to semi-correlate to this weekend’s race at the half-mile paperclip in Martinsville.
While Bristol is of similar length, its steep banking makes comparing that race to Martinsville like comparing apples to hand-grenades. This season’s best short-track corollary has to be Richmond – a race in which Nemechek started back in 19th, rose through the field, and led 114 of 250 laps that afternoon. Furthermore, Nemechek does have a previous victory here in 2018 – albeit when he was still driving his dad’s Truck.
Kyle Busch Motorsports is two for two in wins at Richmond and Bristol, the betting odds at BetMGM suggest that DFS players should be looking for a win to come from this camp again – more specifically, Nemechek himself (+350) as this week’s outright betting favorite at BetMGM.
Sheldon Creed, 4th ($10,300 DraftKings)
Stewart Friesen, 7th ($8,200)
As just mentioned, with such a short data set, DFS players have to make mountains out of molehills just to find a hint of correlation. One of the stronger stories to piece together is looking back at the first race in the Trucks Series Playoffs at Gateway when Sheldon Creed started fourth and went on to win after leading 142 of 163 laps. The problem with this story is that Gateway is more than twice the size of Martinsville at 1.25-miles. However, banking and shape-wise, Gateway may be the closest thing on the Trucks schedule to Martinsville.
With a 5-point cushion over Stewart Friesen for the final Championship spot, Creed is going to have to stay on his toes and defend his position against a driver who has three straight top-six finishes here. While Friesen never ascended to the lead in that race at Gateway, he did manage to finish fourth after running second to Creed after the first stage break and fifth in the second break. This is on top of his fourth-place finish at Bristol, while not similar to Martinsville, it is one of the few short tracks left on the Trucks schedule.
Josh Berry, 25th ($11,300 DraftKings)
This should be one of the chalkier plays on Saturday, but this could very well be a driver that DFS players embrace and find differentiation elsewhere. Dating back to 2018 here at Martinsville, four of the past five winners are in this race – the exception being Kyle Busch from the Spring of 2019. However, Berry is a former Martinsville winner himself, from this past Spring’s Xfinity race where he put his own short track prowess on display at a track he knows very well. In Berry’s nine starts this season in the Trucks Series, he has a respectable average finish of 16th, mostly in the Rackley W.A.R. No. 25 with notable finishes of 15th at Gateway and 11th at Bristol.
Berry should easily maneuver his way through the field into the top 10 and no one should be shocked to see him fighting for a top-five finish by the end of the 200 laps. This price is a bit prohibitive, thus making Berry more suited for single-dominator lineup builds.
Corey Heim, 28th ($8,600 DraftKings)
All of the talk coming out of the ARCA-Menards Series, this year, has been about champion Ty Gibbs and rightfully so. However, a name that may have gotten lost in the shuffle, is that of runner-up Corey Heim who won six races himself.
Although Martinsville failed to make the ARCA schedule, racing in this Series gave Heim plenty of experience at shorter venues – something lacking as mentioned above for regular Trucks Series drivers. This week, Heim makes his third start of 2021 for Kyle Busch Motorsports and has previously stated, KBM won both Bristol and Richmond earlier this season. While a win would be a bit of a longshot dream for Heim (+1600), with his experience, talent, and equipment, he could easily push for a top-five result.
Dawson Cram, 33rd ($5,500 DraftKings)
The last time the Trucks Series raced at Martinsville, the race saw 14 actual yellow flags thrown for incidents. In the previous races, the caution flags were sliced in half, yet it saw a nearly similar number of laps run under yellow. If attrition is one of the potential scenarios, even among the top-tier drivers as they scratch and claw to fight for a spot at the championship in Phoenix next week, then that opens the door for drivers like Dawson Cram to pick up valuable place differential simply by not getting involved in any wrecks. With finishes of 16th and 13th in those past two Martinsville races, Cram has managed to land on the winning side of variance and finish better than his average of 26th for the 2021 season. It is by no means a guarantee that he does it this week considering he wrecked out at both Bristol and Gateway, but with three top-20 finishes at Martinsville in his Trucks career, there is legitimate hope that he replicates that this weekend.
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