Brief Playoff overview: The first three races will taper the 16 eligible playoff drivers down to 12. The next three races bring the field down to 8. Three more races will bring it to the final four who have one race at Homestead-Miami to decide who the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion will be.
Race: First Data 500
Date: October 28th
Venue: Martinsville Speedway
2017 Winner: Kyle Busch (3:32:27)
Broadcast: NBCSN (Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Steve Letarte)
Martinsville Speedway. Located in Ridgeway, VA, this half mile track is the shortest track on the NASCAR Cup Series. It was built in 1947 by H. Clay Earles and stands as one of the first oval tracks in NASCAR. It uses Concrete for the turns but sticks with Asphalt on the straightaways. The constant braking is tricky here so it’s best to have someone who knows what they are doing and has a record of success.
1) Joey Logano (8th selection this year). He finished 6th and 4th the last two times at Martinsville, he has top ten finishes in four of the six playoff races and three consecutive top ten finishes going into the First Data 500
He is locked in to the Round of 8. How far will @joeylogano advance in the #NASCARPlayoffs? #TeamJLpic.twitter.com/UlD8FKMsVA https://t.co/3SJq1iSTPe pic.twitter.com/3nlyWBTgS9— Sports Roadhouse® (@SportsRoadhouse) October 23, 2018
2) Kyle Busch (7th selection this year). Kyle’s recent track record at Martinsville: 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 5th. Easy selection for me.
High Risk/High Reward
3) Clint Bowyer (5th selection this year). Clint’s last three races at Martinsville include a win, a 7th place and 3rd place finish. He has finished in the top 13 in four of the six playoff races so far.
4) Alex Bowman (3rd selection this year) Freshly knocked out of playoff contention, Alex finished 7th here earlier this year and he had two top 10 finishes in the playoffs so far.
Alex Bowman wrecks late and collects J.J. Yeley | 2018 TALLADEGA https://t.co/mRx1WQVLyI pic.twitter.com/VrqSleXcN7— Coach Billy Carson (@CoachCarson) October 14, 2018
5) Erik Jones (5th selection this year) Fresh off three consecutive top ten finishes, he comes to Martinsville where he finished 17th earlier this year. Being out of playoff contention he is fighting for pride at this point.
Favorites: avg finish 11th (29th percentile)
High Risk/Reward: avg finish 15th place (41st percentile)
Dark Horse: avg finish 18th place (47th percentile)
The rules I have implemented for myself are:
- I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.
- Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.
My general format for my power rankings:
- Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finished
- #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.
- Pick #5 is the dark horse.