Finally, we get a return to real racing! No more 20 minute mad dashes between qualifying and lock like we had with iRacing. And man are we going to be filled with action over the next few months. Mid week races in addition to the traditional Sunday ones. I am extra excited for this weekend as we head to Darlington. Races at this track are always fun to watch and we have some massive contests in DFS.
The way I plan to structure this article each week is to talk about strategy for the track we are at and then dive into each price range. I will probably give my favorite play or 2 from each range but I really want the focus to be on strategy. NASCAR only has 40 drivers in each race so I’m not going to write up half the field. Let’s dive in!
I do a lot of my weekly research over at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet (https://frcs.pro). They give you a great database to sort out stats so you can see who has good track form along with track type history. They really have all the tools you would want to analyze what drivers are trending and how they match up with the race ahead. Be sure to check them out!
Darlington is a steep track that has an old racing surface. We are going to see a lot of tire wear during the race, which means that it is going to be more important to focus on driver skill. With the combination of no qualifying/practice, and this being a return from a long layoff, I expect us to see driver’s making major adjustments throughout the race. You will want drivers that have experience and can feel what changes need to be made.
I expect that most of my lineups will have 2-3 dominators this weekend. Due to the high tire wear, we do see some lead changes during the race, but most of the time 2-3 people lead enough laps to pay off as a dominator. Track position is a big key when it comes to Darlington. We will probably see fastest laps spread through the field due to people that pit and get newer tires will be running quicker than others until they pit.
I will be interested to see if the Chevys continue their hot start to 2020. I will touch on my favorite plays below, but something I will be watching for sure is how the Chevy drivers produce. They have been known to unload fast during practice/qualifying so I assume we will see them be good early on in this race.
$10K + RANGE
These top priced drivers are spread through the top 15 in the starting order. We don’t have tons of value this weekend so I am not sure yet how much I will cram 2 or more of these guys into one lineup.
- Brad Keselowski ($10,400) Starting 1st – Penske has been really good to start 2020 and I believe we will see a good run out of Brad on Sunday. Guys will probably not force a lot early in the race which should allow him to lead the first portion. In his last 2 outings at Darlington he has a win and a 5th.
- Martin Truex, Jr ($10,800) Starting 15th – Don’t forget about these Gibbs Toyotas. They haven’t been up to par with what we are used to seeing to start the year, but maybe this long layoff will do them some good. Truex starting 15th has some place differential upside and could really pay off if he gets up front and leads.
Notables: Kevin Harvick
$8K & $9K RANGE
I like a lot here in this range which is why I don’t plan on squeezing multiple top guys in my lineups. 5 Chevys are here and that is probably where I will have my heaviest exposure. You could potentially start a super balanced build here.
- Kurt Busch ($8,500) Starting 22nd – Kurt has some great history here recently and had a really good car here in 2019. He gives us a good amount of place differential upside starting 22nd. I do wish he was a bit cheaper but he is still a play I really like.
- Chase Elliot ($9,800) Starting 11th – He has been really fast early on in 2020. He is one of the guys I expect to have a good car early on in this one. At just under 10K I really like Chase to push a top 5 finish on Sunday.
Notables: William Byron, Ryan Blaney
$6K & $7K RANGE
I like the rookies in this range. They provide us some nice value due to their starting spots and I believe they this years class is very talented. They do have some experience here in the Xfinity series which should help them a little bit.
- Tyler Reddick ($7,200) Starting 29th – Reddick is going to be one of my favorite values on Sunday. Starting 29th he gives us some nice upside at $7,200 if he can get in the top 15. In the Xfinity series Reddick finished 2nd and 3rd at Darlington the last 2 years. Take that for what it’s worth.
- Christopher Bell ($6,600) Starting 28th – I can’t quit this guy. He has killed me a couple times early this year, but I will be going right back to him this weekend. Like I said, I expect the Toyotas to figure things out at some point and I want to be there when they do. Bell at $6,600 starting 28th is a nice value.
Notables: Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon
$6K & BELOW
There are only a couple guys I will play down here this week. One is going to be our favorite value play of the week in Ty Dillon. Other than that I’m not going to chase these back markers. With the tire wear and all, I don’t expect them to move up very much.
- Ty Dillon ($5,600) Starting 33rd – Ty has some nice history here over the last 3 races and starts 33rd. That is really all you need to say. Chris also had a good note in the Slack that he has unloaded fast here at Darlington in the past as well. Will probably be high owned but I’m not worried about that with the price and starting position.
Notables: Michael McDowell
Please feel free to hit me up with questions in Slack. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the 2020 season preview article. It is filled with great strategy and info on car/crew chief changes for the season. Thank goodness we have some NASCAR back in our life!