Race: Bojangles Southern 500
Track: Darlington Raceway (Darlington, South Carolina)
Track Length: 1.366 miles (Asphalt)
Distance: 367 laps (501.3 miles)
Defending Champion: Denny Hamlin
Welcome back race fans! I hope everyone enjoyed the week off from Cup racing. It was a much needed to take a few days off and refresh the mind heading into the last third of the season. Kurt Busch locked up his spot for Chase at Bristol two weeks ago and there are quite a few guys on the wrong side of the bubble that will be in desperation mode to secure a victory and get a spot. It’ll be interesting if we see some of those guys try to use strategy this weekend to get track position or possibly gamble to outlast the field.
Pricing wasn’t released when I wrote most of the content below but right now it doesn’t affect the Drivers to Watch. I see some value based on my projections so the DFS preview on Saturday could get lengthy depending on research between now and then / what happens with practice and qualifying.
Drivers to Watch
Denny Hamlin $9,900: Denny has been really good at Darlington and is the defending winner of this race. He has 3 straight T5s, 5 in his L6, and 2 wins in his L8 here. He hasn’t been great (fantasy wise) as of late despite starting inside the T7 in the L5 races. This is probably the main reason you’re seeing him under $10K for the first time since the Quaker State 400.
Erik Jones $8,700: As with many tracks on the circuit, sample size is small with Jones and his Cup races. Last year was his only Darlington start, which he qualified 10th and finished 5th. Locked in the Chase with his victory last month and he also has 3 5th place finishes in his L4 races this season. Coming on strong heading into the Chase.
Kurt Busch $8,500: Mentioned earlier that Kurt drove into the bye week on a high note after winning at Bristol. He sat on the pole here in ’13 (Furniture Row Racing) and has started 7th or better in his L3. He’s alternated successful finishes here in the L4 (31st, 6th, 34th, 3rd) and despite the trend having Kurt ready for a finish in the 30s, I expect him to have a good night in his Stewart Haas Ford.
Going to dedicate some more time tonight to digging into pricing and previous race trends to re-evaluate my projections. The Cup cars will be on the track Friday for two practices, while the only action on Saturday is qualifying. I’ll have the DFS preview posted on Saturday with the regular edition of Made, Trade, & Fade. Any questions beforehand, let me know!