Saturday, September 25, 2021

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OPR Staff Fantasy Picks for NCWT and NSCS at Martinsville

As we enter this weekend, the staff at thought it’d be clever to see whether we can pick drivers that will run well, or whether our picks will end up sinking to the bottom of the barrel.

Listed below are the picks that we have made for this weekend at Martinsville Speedway – drivers we feel will run well in both the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series. Will we be right? Or will be wrong?


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Journalist Name: Ashley McCubbin
Pick #1: Darrell Wallace Jr. After having a pair of top-fives last year at Martinsville including a win in the fall event, there is no question that the young driver has the talent to take Kyle Busch Motorsports to victory lane this year once again for their second straight win in a row.
Pick #2: Jeb Burton. Last year, Burton had a pair of solid top fives in both starts at the paperclip. Coming into this year’s race, Burton is driving for ThorSport Racing – the team that took the top two spots in last year’s spring event. Burton is riding high on confidence based on last year’s success and a good run could go a long way to securing sponsorship for the season.

Journalist Name: Marshall Gabell
Pick #1: Timothy Peters. After having dismal finishes at his hometown track of Martinsville last season, I believe this season will be different. With no NSCS drivers intruding into the field, it gives Peters and opportunity to capitalize and score the victory at the track he grew up at.
Pick #2: Erik Jones. The kid’s got raw talent – and this weekend at the short track of Martinsville it’ll be no different, he’ll impress. After winning his first career event at Phoenix he sent a message to the entire NASCAR universe, that he’s here to stay and be competitive and he’ll only reignite that this weekend in Martinsville.

Journalist Name – Tayler Stiles
Pick #1: Johnny Sauter. My pick for who is going to win at Martinsville was configured with a lot of math and Johnny Sauter had one of the best averages last year at all of the short tracks including Martinsville and Bristol. While the short tracks are very different, Johnny Sauter had an average of about 4.4 which is impressive as it is. Drivers need a certain attitude when they head into a short track, and I believe Johnny Sauter has it and that is why Sauter is going to bring his No. 98 Thorsport Toyota into victory lane tomorrow.
Pick #2: Jeb Burton. Jeb Burton is extremely confident going into Martinsville, and that’s a lot of what Martinsville is – half skill and half confidence. Jeb is going to put up a good fight at Martinsville, and it’s going to be a close fight as Jeb definitely has the skill to bring his Thorsport Toyota to a top two finish this week with an average of 5.6 at short tracks last year.

Managing Editor: Roger Holtsclaw
Pick #1 – Darrell Wallace Jr. – Obviously, he won here last fall and he has a knack for this place. It’s always easier to win at a place where you have won before.
Pick #2 – Timothy Peters – Timothy is always good at Martinsville. This track fits his driving style perfectly.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Journalist Name: Ashley McCubbin
Pick #1: Jimmie Johnson. In the past 15 races at Martinsville Speedway, Johnson has won seven of those races. Sitting sixth in points, Johnson isn’t off to his top notch caliber start that we’re used to. However, given the No. 48’s team past, I expect them to come back full strong after the win following the California disappointment.
Pick #2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is off to a strong start this season as he currently sits second in points. Sure, he had a slip up at Bristol with the set-up and you can blame the darn tires at California – but it’s an awesome start to the year. If you combine that awesome start to the year along with his past solid consistent results at Martinsville, Earnhardt may take home his first Grandfather clock.
Pick #3: Denny Hamlin. Due to vision issues, Hamlin was forced to sit out last weekend’s event at Auto Club Speedway. With that said, he’ll be coming back with a vengeance and what better track than Martinsville for that to happen. Hamlin has four wins and 13 top 10s in 16 starts on the paperclip.

Journalist Name: Marshall Gabell
Pick #1: Jeff Gordon. After almost tasting victory at Fontana last weekend, I believe that Gordon will come back focused and determined to grab his 89th career Sprint Cup Series victory and his ninth Martinsville clock. After all, he won here last season, so why not clinch a Chase berth with a win this weekend.
Pick #2: Denny Hamlin. Like Gordon, Hamlin is eyeing victory this weekend, however, it seems that being out of the car last season and now last weekend isn’t benefiting him at all. And this weekend, at a tough short track, even though he’s been dominate in the past here, I feel his stamina and durability inside the racecar could take a toll on him and he’ll be overpowered by Gordon.
Pick #3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Starting off the season strong is an understatement when referring to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first five races this season. His consistency has propelled him to become an obvious contender for this year’s championship – and this weekend at Martinsville he will further prove that he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Journalist Name – Tayler Stiles
Pick #1: Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie Johnson has been silently lurking in the shadows the last couple of weeks, and had it not been for the flat Jimmie Johnson suffered last week at Fontana, he might have brought home a wni istead of the last car on the last lap. Jimmie Johnson is stellar and dang near perfect at Martinsville, with eight wins and only one finish outside of the top 15. That finish? 35th all the way back in 2002. Another impressive fact? He has finished all but four laps at Martinsville.  Average finish – 5.3
Pick #2: Jeff Gordon. The one man who is about as impressive as Jimmie Johnson is Jeff Gordon. Gordon has eight wins as well at Martinsville and has a worst finish of 36th and 33rd. Gordon also has a lot more experience than a considerable amount of those in the field. Gordons first start at the track was back in 1993. Expect Gordon to be chasing Johnson all the way to the end. Average finish – 6.83
Pick #3: Denny Hamlin. Despite the shard of metal that was entrapped in Denny’s eye that prevented him from racing last week, Denny Hamlin is going to be back in action next week. With a total of four wins and about half the amount of starts that Johnson and a fourth of the amount of Gordon has, Hamlin will be up their fighting until the end. Nothing can stop the man that has everything to lose at Martinsville. Average finish – 8.13

Managing Editor: Roger Holtsclaw
Pick #1 – Denny Hamlin – He is very good here, and he is fired up due to the controversy this week regarding his health issues.
Pick #2 – Kyle Busch – He wants to win here badly. Joe Gibbs Racing have been fast all season, and he has Hamlin’s experience to draw from.
Pick #3 – Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has eight wins in just 21 starts. He and Hendrick Motorsports are phenomenal at Martinsville. Also, he and Chad are agitated about the way they lost at Auto Club Speedway. The only thing tougher than the 48 team, is a mad 48 team!


As always, the writers do welcome your feedback and your choices. If you feel that you can do better than the writers, feel free to e-mail us your picks at, or post them on the facebook page. Perhaps you know something that we don’t.

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