It’s time to get your fantasy racing lineups set as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
Posted by: Matt Lovisa, follow @mattlovisa
All the talk this weekend is about the throwback paint schemes, which would be easy enough to choose a fantasy racing lineup based on that. Choosing a fantasy racing lineup at Darlington isn’t that easy though.
With only one race on the calendar each season, there is a smaller sample size than most races on the NASCAR schedule. Let’s take a look at the numbers and the starting lineup to see which drivers are best for a fantasy racing lineup at Darlington.
Denny Hamlin ($9,900)
Hamlin will start ninth and in his last three races at Darlington has two top-fives and led 73 laps. Hamlin won at New Hampshire in July and won the race at Darlington in 2010 when it was held in the spring.
Kevin Harvick ($9,700)
Harvick is the only driver to finish inside the to-five in the last three races at Darlington. During that time he has one win and has led 496 laps. Harvick will start first and has a chance to get out front and stay there.
Ryan Newman ($8,100)
Newman has the eighth best average finish in the last three races at Darlington among active drivers. That’s one position better than last year’s defending champion, Martin Truex Jr. He will start 17th on Sunday night.
Daniel Suarez ($7,800)
This will be Suarez’s first time at Darlington in a Cup Series car, but he has impressed at the track titled “Too Tough To Tame” in the Xfinity Series. Suarez finished third in both of his previous Xfinity Series races and has steadily improved as the 2017 season has progressed. He will start 19th on Sunday night.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,600)
Earnhardt Jr. missed last year’s race at Darlington but finished second and eighth in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Earnhardt Jr. has struggled all season, that’s no secret. He starts back in 22nd position and will have a lot of ground to make up. At this price, he’s not a bad option among drivers who have had past success at a difficult track.
Chris Buescher ($6,600)
A very small sample size for Buescher, he finished 17th a year ago. Buescher seems to rise to the occasion when necessary, as evident by his finish at the Bristol night race in 2016 when he needed to stay inside the top-30 to make the playoffs. This year, there is no playoffs to be made, unless he wins, but rolling off from the 27th starting position provides some place differential upside.