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Fantasy Picks: Who to pick and Who not to pick for the Martinsville Speedway 2015 STP 500

The first short track race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is upon us as the 66th annual running of the STP 500 will take place Sunday in Martinsville, Virginia at the historic Martinsville Speedway.

Kurt Busch enters the race weekend as the defending winner of the STP 500 as his lone win of the 2014 season came at the Virginia short track. Last October, when the Sprint Cup Series raced at the Martinsville Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought down the house as he took his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory lane for his fourth and final victory of the 2014 season.

Who To Pick 

Jeff Gordon – Jeff Gordon’s first top-five finish of the 2015 season might just come this weekend in Virginia as the four-time champion has produced three top-five finishes in his last four Martinsville Speedway races. His overall stats at the short track aren’t half bad either as in 44 career Martinsville races, he has eight wins, twenty-eight top-fives, thirty-five top-tens and forty-one top-twenty finishes to go along with well over three-thousand laps led.

Only Jimmie Johnson has a better overall finishing average than Jeff Gordon at the 0.526-mile race track.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer’s No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team is struggling out of the gate as they have only accounted for one top-ten finish in the first five races of the season, but this weekend could point them in the right direction because Clint has finishes of seventh, ninth, third, second and fifth in his last five Martinsville Speedway races.

Overall, Bowyer has twelve top-ten finishes in eighteen career Martinsville Sprint Cup Series races, and enters the weekend with a finishing average of 12th at the famed short track.

Jimmie Johnson – Hard to not pick a driver who in twenty-six starts has eight wins, eighteen top-fives and twenty-two top-tens to go along with 2,747 laps led at the Martinsville Speedway. In the last four Martinsville races, Johnson has led over 700 laps, won one race and finished in the top-five three times.

Johnson has one win and three top-ten finishes in the first five races of the 2015 season, and look for those numbers to increase Sunday in Martinsville, Virginia.

Kevin Harvick – Extremely difficult not to pick Harvick when he is on this kind of streak because this might never happen in his career again. Harvick’s overall stats at the Martinsville Speedway are a bit worrisome because he has only three top-fives and twelve top-ten finishes in twenty-seven Martinsville starts, but during this incredible run he is on he has produced much better results then past statistics have suggested.

Harvick started eighteenth and finished seventh in last year’s running of the STP 500.

Who Not To Pick 

Brad Keselowski – In ten starts at the Martinsville Speedway Brad has only one top-five finish, and he has finished outside the top-ten in five of his ten Martinsville starts. Even more alarming is the fact that Brad finished 31st and 15th in last year’s running of the Martinsville Speedway races.

I think it would be a bit risky picking Keselowski this weekend because of his track record at the Martinsville Speedway, but he showed last weekend that he can win just about anywhere as his victory last weekend at the Auto Club Speedway happened to be his first ever top-ten finish at the Fontana race track in seven tries.

Carl Edwards – Still looking for his first top-ten finish of the season with his new Joe Gibbs Racing ride, and it may be a uphill battle to do so this weekend because Edwards has just five top-ten finishes in twenty-one Martinsville races.

Overall, Edwards has seventeen top-twenty finishes at the Martinsville Speedway, but you wouldn’t want just a top-twenty finish from a driver like Edwards.

Kasey Kahne – Kahne has a finishing average of 23rd over the last four Martinsville Speedway races, and he has only four top-ten finishes in twenty-two career starts at the Martinsville Speedway. Plus, he has finished outside the top-twenty in half of his Martinsville starts.

Kahne finished 40th and 22nd in last year’s Martinsville races which should raise some pretty big red flags.

Chase Elliott – Elliott is a very intriguing pick this weekend because he is in top-tier equipment with Hendrick Motorsports, and three of his teammates have run extremely well in recent years at the Martinsville Speedway, but I think it’s just too risky to pick a guy who is making his first ever Sprint Cup Series start at a place like Martinsville. Even if that guy is the defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

 

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