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Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400: NASCAR DFS Targets at Martinsville

Nascar DFS Top 5 Draftkings

The NASCAR and NASCAR DFS action has been hot to start the 2022 Cup Series season, and with the world-famous Martinsville hotdogs on the menu for Saturday night, things are only looking even further up. The green flag for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 will fly at dusk this evening, marking it the second straight short track event for the Cup Series, and the first race of the year to be held at night. The very flat, paperclip-shaped Martinsville Speedway is the smallest track on the circuit that is responsible for a points-paying race at just over a half of a mile in length, and for the first time since 1956, the race length will be shortened from 500 laps to 400.

When it comes to these short track races the strategy for NASCAR DFS is very different from that of the one we executed just two weeks ago at COTA, or even all the way back to the season-opening Daytona 500. It’s simple really. Races that are held on large racing surfaces require fewer laps. Races that are held on smaller racing surfaces, or short tracks, require more laps. More laps result in more laps led, and more laps led results in more NASCAR DFS bonus points.

A large number of bonus points should point you to the green on DraftKings.

Another thing to keep in mind is how fast drivers may lose a lap on Saturday night. When pole-sitter Chase Elliott takes the green flag just before 8:00 pm/ET, it won’t be long before he’s caught the back of the field. It’s not to say that going a lap down automatically results in a poor finish, but it does limit the upside of those drivers when it comes to roster construction. Therefore, position differential points will not be our main focus, but nonetheless, starting position is still something we consider.


Martinsville Speedway is one of my favorite tracks on the schedule, for both the door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper racing action as well as the ability to gain an advantage in NASCAR DFS. So with that in mind, I’ll take it away!

NASCAR DFS Cup Series Targets at Martinsville

Martin Truex Jr | #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota | $11,500

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been relying pretty heavily on Joe Gibbs Racing driver Marin Truex Jr, and he hasn’t disappointed. Over the past three weeks, he has three straight top-10s, with finishes of 8th, 7th, and 4th. His DKFPs in each of those three races is as follows: 58, 47, and 77. MTJ is looking good again this weekend as we head to Martinsville, even as the highest-priced driver. He will roll off the grid from p. 20, again giving him the opportunity for a bunch of position differential points.

Over his past six outings here, Truex has won 50% of the races and also has four top-5s, five top-10s, and a whopping 754 laps led. If I were a betting man, and it just so happens that am, I’d be looking for a minimum of another top-5 from MTJ, and possibly yet another win at the track that is unofficially named after him at this point.

Chase Elliott | #9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet | $11,200

Normally when writing up my NASCAR DFS advice, I won’t mention the highest-priced driver, then turn around and mention the second highest. However, this week, they both need to be talked about. For starters, Elliott has always been good at Martinsville. Over his previous six outings here, he has one win and four top-5s. He has also led 575 laps during that span.

Things look to be more of the same over today’s race, as Elliott had one of the best long-run cars in Cup Series practice.


Elliott will start from the pole position tonight, and as we previously stated, there is a ton of bonus points to be had via leading laps. I fully expect  Elliott to be one of two or three dominators in this race. If he runs into trouble, there is the risk of a possibility of negative points, but ultimately NASCAR DFS is considered gambling for a reason.

Alex Bowman | #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet | $9,300

Another Hendrick Motorsports driver that has shown speed this year, and in practice this weekend is Alex Bowman. After nearly coming out of nowhere to win the race at COTA a few weeks ago, Bowman will look to take his car back to victory lane at Martinsville where he will roll off from p.15. Again, he had both good short, and long-run speed on Friday afternoon and has won here before.

Considering all these things, I think setting your expectations of a top-10 is certainly not unreasonable when you remember that he has finished three of the last six races here in the top-5.

Kurt Busch | #45 23XI Racing Toyota | $8,000

The Richmond race last weekend saw the end of our NASCAR DFS winning streak, largely in part to our reliance on 23XI Racing driver Kurt Busch losing a fuel pump early in the race.


Mechanical failures are nearly impossible to predict, however, we’d like to hope they got their issues out of the way. Heading into tonight’s Martinsville race, there is a lot to like when it comes to the elder of the Busch brothers.

For starters, he is a former winner here — albeit, it wasn’t exactly recently. Over the past three years here though, there have been a total of six races completed. Over those six races, Kurt has one top-5 and four top-10s. He was tenth fastest overall in Friday’s practice session and will start the race from the 18th starting spot tonight. If he can run this race issues free, a top-10 should be in order.

At exactly $8k flat, Busch is a lock for cash and GPPs.

Bubba Wallace | #23 23XI Racing Toyota | $6,400

Staying within the Toyota and 23XI Racing camp, the last driver that we will mention is Kurt’s teammate, Bubba Wallace. One of the most appealing things that teams coveted during the 2021-22 NASCAR off-season when it came to signing then free agent, Busch, was his veteran leadership and Cup Series experience that he brought to the table. This would then hopefully allow whichever team signed him, to have a driver that could help develop some of their younger, more inexperienced talent. Bubba Wallace seems to have welcomed this, and the results could show this weekend at Martinsville.

Bubba posted the third-best 10-lap average of Friday’s practice and has also run decent here before. His price is fair at the mid $6k range, allowing us some salary relief and he starts 21st, meaning there is room to move forward during the race.

Good luck on Sunday afternoon! Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Nate_FFL and @TeamRiseOrFall for continued NASCAR DFS coverage and advice, as well as any late-breaking news prior to the green flag at Martinsville. Also, be sure to check out all the other great NASCAR DFS content at TeamRiseOrFall.com.