Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2024 Cook Out 400

Virginia may be for lovers, but for the second week in a row, it’s about good old-fashioned short-track racing.

Last week, Denny Hamlin brought home the win in my lineup and I had a pretty solid week outside of a few misses. Let’s hope we get similar, if not better, results as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to the old-fashioned bullring at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday (April 7).

One of the oldest tracks in the sport, Martinsville is 0.526 of a mile in length, with long straightaways and tight corners. This design gives it its distinct and famous “paperclip” shape. A large number of NASCAR Hall of Famers from multiple eras have been masters at this place, including Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Richard Petty.

The key to running well requires that teams set up their cars to be able to enter the corners at speed, roll the center and exit with control and pace. It’s a very delicate balance, much like the one needed at places like Richmond Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Qualifying will once again be very important this week, as traditionally, the preferred line at this place has been the bottom groove. This makes passing very, very difficult at times, unless you’re willing and able to move someone off the bottom groove with the front bumper. However, last fall, Ryan Blaney locked himself in the Championship 4 utilizing the the top lane. I had personally never seen anything like it in 25 years of watching races here. I hope we get to see some more of that this weekend.

If you couldn’t tell, this is my favorite race track, and I’m always jazzed up for some hard-nosed, old-school style racing at the Paperclip!

Coverage of the Cook Out 400 begins at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

See also
Through the Gears: Martinsville Best Bets

Now, before we talk about setting a lineup this week, here’s a quick rules recap:

Points will be awarded on DraftKings for finishing position, position differential, fastest laps and laps led. The driver who wins the race scores 45 fantasy points, while second gets 42 points, third gets 41 points and so on, at least through the top 10. The 11th-place finisher scores 32 points, 21st gets 21 points and 31st gets 10 points.

However many spots they lose or gain on the track is added to or subtracted from the score. Then, if the driver leads a lap, they will earn 0.25 points for each lap led and 0.45 points for each fastest lap.

DraftKings NASCAR Scoring Rules

Fantasy Forecast

  1. Ryan Blaney ($10,500)

Stats that matter: Won here in October, career average finish of 9.0 at Martinsville, turned 86 fastest laps in October.

Blaney’s early-season momentum has started to cool a bit, just in time for a return to the site of his most recent win.

As I said earlier, Blaney did something I have never seen before when he won that race last season. He used the top lane to make his passes, and if his team can make his car do that again this week, he’s going to be tough to beat.

Not to mention, YRB normally qualifies well here, with an average starting position of 9.4. He also can get you points in fastest laps as he turned a whopping 86 last year. He’s expensive for a reason, but you have to have him this week.

2. Chase Elliott ($8,800)

Stats that matter: 1 career win at Martinsville, career average finish of 13.2 at Martinsville, 3 top-10 finishes in last 4 Martinsville starts

Last week was what I think is a turning point for NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver.

Elliott finally brought home his first top-five finish of the season, looking rather impressive while doing so. While his was never one of the most dominant cars on track during any point, he led a few laps and started on the outside of the front row.

It seems as though the No. 9 team has short tracks figured out somewhat this season, as both of his top 10s came at that track type. He only has one win here and has looked pretty mediocre in terms of his finishes here since that win, but I still think he’s a solid pick with momentum on his side.

3. Kyle Busch ($8,100)

Stats that matter: 2 career wins at Martinsville, career average finish of 12.8 at Martinsville, 21 top-10 finishes in 37 starts at Martinsville

I hesitate to take KFB here, only because of the miserable few weeks he’s had since that amazing finish at Atlanta.

But his record at this track suggests that maybe he can turn things around this week. The two-time champion shouldn’t be counted out anywhere, but especially not here at Martinsville, where he’s won twice and has an impressive average finish. Not bad at all for a guy who’s started almost 40 races here in his career.

Buyer beware though: Busch’s best finish at this track since joining RCR is 21st last spring.

4. Bubba Wallace ($7,700)

Stats that matter: 3 straight top-15 finishes at Martinsville, 2 career Craftsman Truck Series wins at Martinsville, a combined 69 green flag passes in both races there last season.

I will always bet on Wallace at Martinsville.

This is certainly one of his best tracks, especially since joining 23XI, as he’s not finished worse than 11th here over his past three starts. He also isn’t afraid to move someone off the bottom to advance his position, and he has those two Truck Series wins to his credit.

Perhaps most interesting is Wallace’s ability to make passes here. That could net you a solid amount of points come Sunday evening.

5. Ryan Preece ($7,200)

Stats that matter: 2 consecutive top-10 starts, 2 consecutive top-20 finishes at Martinsville, polesitter for this race last season, 2 career Whelen Modified Tour wins at Martinsville.

Alright, so I struck out on Preece last week, but it’s a short track, so … I’m taking him again this week.

The $7,200 price tag is a kind of rich for my blood, but I think he’s a solid option here. Last spring, Preece put his No. 41 Ford Mustang on the pole and ended up finishing 15th.

I just always feel good about him on a track he’s confident at, and I absolutely think he should be this weekend. Also, with SHR’s improvement being evident over the past few weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him running up front.

6. Daniel Suarez ($6,900)

Stats that matter: 2 top-20 finishes in his last 3 starts at Martinsville, led his first career laps at this track last spring

Alright, so this is admittedly not Suarez’s best track by any means.

But, he showed a little bit of muscle before limping home 17th last spring. It kind of depends on how well the No. 99 qualifies as to how confident I’ll be on this pick. Suarez certainly is talented and capable of scoring you some points here, as he had two top-10 finishes here early in his career.

It’s totally okay and understandable to take a flier on him this weekend.

See also
Fire on Fridays: Mr. Flagman, Bring Me to Green

Prop Bets and Locks

  1. Chevrolet (+245) to win: Considering just how much success Chevrolet has had at Martinsville, I was shocked by these odds. To see them going in as the underdog doesn’t make much sense, but hey, this seems like easy money to me.
  2. Martin Truex Jr. (+600) to win: After last week at Richmond, MTJ is coming in as man on a mission. He led a lot here last fall, but faded and missed the playoffs because of it. A motivated Truex could pay dividends should you take the chance.
  3. Bubba Wallace (+1400) to finish top Toyota: As I said earlier, this is one of Wallace’s best tracks. It is totally conceivable that he could beat the stable of strong Toyotas unloading this weekend.

Well, that’s all for this week. Enjoy the race this weekend, and if you’re at the race track, grab a few famous hot dogs for me. Good luck and happy betting!

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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