ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 25 FOR MARTINSVILLE
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson salvaged a decent day at Fontana with a 12th place finish, improving his Average Finish of 8.6 on the season. In 22 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Johnson has seven wins (2004, 2006, 2007 sweep, 2008-09, 2012), 15 Top 5s, 19 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 5.5. He’s led at least 65 laps in each of his last four starts. He led 193 laps in his October 2012 victory. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson leads all competitors in Driver Rating (122.3), Average Running Position (6.2) and Laps Led (1,810). He also leads in Laps in the Top 15 (7,349), Average Green Flag Speed (91.503 mph) and Quality Passes (802). His only DNF at the site came in his first ever start, so even at a volatile track like this Johnson remains a safe bet to plug into all lineups.
2. Kyle Busch: Busch took advantage of late-race fireworks at the Auto Club to capture his first win of 2013 and his third-consecutive Top 5. In 16 starts at MS, Busch has seven Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.8. He led 151 (April) and 126 laps (October) in each of the 2011 Martinsville races. He finished second in the October 2012 event. Busch ranks sixth in DR (95.3) and seventh in ARP (14.1). He’s found his groove and is the hottest driver in NASCAR right now. Unless you’re looking to save Busch starts in Tiered/Grouping formats for later in the year, he should be in all lineups.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: The Sprint Cup Series points leader overcame a 12.1 ARP to finish second at Fontana. In 26 Martinsville starts, Earnhardt Jr. has 10 Top 5s and 14 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.0. He’s led at least three laps in three of his last five starts. He’s qualified fifth or better five times. Earnhardt Jr. ranks fourth in DR (99.8) and fifth in ARP (10.9). He continues to dazzle in place differential with an Average Start of 19.8 and Average Finish of 4.4. Junior’s bonus points upside in terms of laps led will always be limited, but that is of minor importance with the consistent finishes he’s posting weekly.
4. Jeff Gordon: Gordon finished 11th at Fontana despite a season-worst ARP of 18.2. In 40 starts at The Paper Clip, Gordon has seven wins (1996-97, 1999, 2003 sweep, 2005 sweep), 25 Top 5s, 32 Top 10s and seven poles with an Average Finish of 7.1. He’s led at least 36 laps in each of his last 13 starts. He’s only finished outside the Top 10 twice in his last 20 starts. Gordon ranks second in DR (120.9), ARP (6.2), Laps Led (1,661), Laps in the Top 15 (7,243), Average Green Flag Speed (91.500 mph) and Quality Passes (549). He leads all drivers in Fastest Laps Run (925). Gordon is freakishly consistent at Martinsville and will be an incredible value for Fantasy owners in Tiered/Grouping formats looking for a Johnson alternative.
5. Tony Stewart: A fired up Stewart finished 22nd at Fontana despite a season-high ARP (7.5), Laps in the Top 15 (90.5%) and Laps Led (18). In 28 MS starts, Stewart has three wins (2000, 2006, 2011), nine Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 13.7. He led 14 laps in his October 2011 win. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid five times. Stewart ranks fifth in DR (99.7) and fourth in ARP (10.8). I believe the blowup with Joey Logano had more to do with Smoke’s poor 2013 than blocking on the restart. He will channel that energy into running a quality race and will turn his season around this weekend.
6. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski’s streak of four-straight Top 5s ended with a 23rd-place performance at Fontana. In 26 starts at Martinsville, Keselowski has three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 12.2. He’s led at least two laps in each of his last two starts. He’s never finished lower than 19th at MS. Keselowski ranks 12th in DR (84.5) and 11th in ARP (15.0). He’s logged back-to-back Top 10s at MS and will actually come at a better value than normal this weekend.
7. Mark Martin: Martin ran his worst race of 2013, finishing 13th with a 62.4 DR at Fontana. In 48 starts at MS, Martin has two wins (1992, 2000), 12 Top 5s, 25 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 13.3. He led 25 laps in the October 2010 race. He sat out both Martinsville races in 2012. Martin ranks 11th in DR (87.0) and 10th in ARP (14.7). He wasn’t supposed to run this race, but will step into the No. 11 Toyota for Denny Hamlin. Martin’s experience and the improved equipment make him a must-start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
8. Kurt Busch: Busch logged his second-straight Top 5 finish (fifth at Auto Club). In 25 Martinsville starts, Busch has one win (2002), two Top 5s, four Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 21.0. He started 26th and led 111 laps in his October 2011 victory. Busch ranks 18th in DR (78.2) and 19th in ARP (18.5). He’s starting to look like his old self. As Busch gets more comfortable with his new surroundings he will only get better. Fantasy owners would be wise to get on the bandwagon early.
9. Kasey Kahne: Kahne stayed hot with a ninth-place performance at Fontana. In 18 starts at The Paper Clip, Kahne has two Top 5s, three Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 20.7. He led 12 laps in his October 2012 third-place performance. Kahne ranks 20th in DR (76.0) and in ARP (20.9). He hasn’t been great at Martinsville, but for a veteran like Kahne how he’s running means a lot more than historical stats.
10. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth ran a solid race at ACS, posting a seventh-place finish. In 26 starts at Martinsville, Kenseth has three Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.9. He’s led at least one lap in each of his last three starts. He’s qualified fourth-or-better twice. Kenseth ranks 16th in DR (78.4) and 17th in ARP (17.7). He’s been ultra-consistent this season and makes a great value play in Tiered/Grouping formats.
11. Kevin Harvick: One win (2011), three Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.7 in 23 starts at Martinsville. 92.3 DR.
12. Ryan Newman: One win (2012), seven Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 13.6 in 22 MS starts. 89.5 DR.
13. Carl Edwards: One Top 5 and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.1 in 17 MS appearances. 80.9 DR.
14. Joey Logano: One Top 5 and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.3 in eight starts at The Paper Clip. 77.1 DR.
15. Aric Almirola: One Top 5 and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 27.0 in eight starts at MS. 60.0 DR.
16. Clint Bowyer: 90.8 DR.
17. Greg Biffle: 68.3.
18. Jamie McMurray: 82.8.
19. Martin Truex Jr.: 69.6.
20. Paul Menard: 59.5.
21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
22. Brian Vickers
23. Jeff Burton
24. Juan Pablo Montoya
25. Marcos Ambrose
Sleepers & Bargains
1. Regan Smith: I’m starting whoever’s driving the No. 51 Phoenix Racing ride. Smith has that teams best finish on the season (seventh at Daytona).
2. Danica Patrick: She has steadily improved in each of her last four races (39th, 33rd, 28th, 26th) since overachieving at Daytona (eighth).
3. David Ragan: Has led at least one lap in each of his last two Cup starts.
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Martinsville (Salary Cap)
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Jeff Gordon $24.75
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $13.50
Kasey Kahne: $24.00
Regan Smith $9.50
Yahoo! Fantasy Sports Auto Racing Lineup (Tiered/Grouping Format)*
A-List – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon
B-List – Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano
C-List – Regan Smith, David Ragan
*Starters will be decided after qualifying @RotoExpertsAA