Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Bojangles Southern 500
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Bojangles Southern 500
Darlington Raceway - Darlington, SC
Track - 1.366 Mile Intermediate
Laps - 367
After a week off from the track, the Monster Energy Cup Series returns this week and things are heating up with just two races remaining before the Playoffs. There are just three spots remaining and the with the points spreading out(McMurray with 700 in 16th and Bowyer with 642 in 17th), it appears those drivers on the outside looking in will need a win in the next two weeks.
This week presents quite a challenge for the drivers as they head to Darlington Raceway to dance with the Lady in Black. What makes Darlington so tough is the construction of it as it is more of an egg shape than an oval giving two completely different approaches to each end of the track. The biggest challenge can be entering turn three as drivers come off a long straight away and into a tight corner. This is where the Darlington Stripe will find plenty of cars right side panels this week.
From 1950 to 2003, the Southern 500 was run on Labor Day weekend and although it moved around a few times in between, it returned in 2015 and became the throw back weekend. Speaking of throwbacks, let's take a ride with Cale Yarborough and check out the track.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 24, 2017
Let's now take a look at some of the trends going into this weeks race.
Last Six Winners at Darlington
- 2016 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 8th, led 28 laps)
- 2015 - Carl Edwards(started 13th, led 15 laps)
- 2014 - Kevin Harvick(started 1st, led 238 laps)
- 2013 - Matt Kenseth(started 7th, led 17 laps)
- 2012 - Jimmie Johnson(started 2nd, led 134 laps)
- 2011 - Regan Smith(started 23rd, led 11 laps)
Top 5 Current & Career Track History at
The first name that stands out from both lists is Denny Hamlin who has been a boss here at Darlington in his career. He has only one win(2010) but has an incredible nine Top 10 finishes in 11 career races including six Top 5's. Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano are the only other drivers to have finished both the last two races here inside the Top 5 but both fall outside the Top 5 in career average finish with a 15.6 and 18.4 mark respectively. Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. picked up his first career win here last year and although he has just five Top 5 finishes in 11 career races, he has a sparkling 11.6 average finish. No surprises as Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with three career wins here and he has also added nine Top 5's and 12 Top 10 finishes.
Top 5 Current Track Type History
Finally, we get back to an Intermediate track where we have a ton of stats in the bank this season when looking at my trends sheet. The first thing that stands out and comes as no surprise, unless you have been living under a rock in 2017, is Martin Truex Jr's dominance of the intermediate tracks. Three of his four wins have come on this track type(Las Vegas, Kentucky, Kansas) and he also dominated the Coca Cola 600 again leading 233 laps but finished 3rd. With an average of 99.4 DK points per Intermediate race, he sits more than 40 points per race ahead of Kyle Larson in second. Kevin Harvick is next up in the average DK points per race column despite his 38th place finish at Vegas. He has done it by finishing each of the other five races inside the Top 10 and has led 424 laps. Teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano both sit inside the Top 5 when looking at the last 30 intermediate races with a 6.4 average finish but both have struggled a bit this season sitting 9th and 15th in DK points per race on the six tracks.
Top 5 Current Form (last six races)
Holy Toyota Batman! As you can see four of the Top 5 drivers in average finish over the last six races are Toyota's. Even we take a peek at the DraftKings point averages over the same time period, the Toyota's, and more specifically Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row have dominated holding down the Top 4 spots in that category. All of the drivers on this list are locked into playoffs besides Matt Kenseth so look for the #20 team to give everything they got this week to get that win.
Pre Qualifying Picks
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
Not only is Truex the defending race winner here at Darlington, he has also lapped the field this season on Intermediate tracks as I mentioned above. Whether he starts from the pole or the back of the field, he is the top pick this week in all formats.
Brad Keselowski ($9,200) & Joey Logano ($8,600)
After three straight years finishing 15th or worse here at Darlington, Brad bounced back with a 2nd in 2015 and 9th last year and has been excellent on the mile and half tracks over the last two years. The biggest thing that stands out is the $900 decrease in salary from last week. If he manages to fall back a little in qualifying, he will be a top play in all formats.
For Logano, it's do or die time as he sits 117 points outside the cutline for the Playoffs. The good news is like Keselowski his salary has dropped and he returns to the Lady in Black after back to back Top 5 finishes over the last two years.
Chris Buescher ($6,600)
Without seeing practice or qualifying, Buescher is one name that stands out as a potential top value play this week. He has raced here once and impressed as he started from the 31st position and worked his way up eventually finishing 17th. He has also been fairly consistent for the price recently with three Top 10 finishes since the start of July.
Below you will find a copy of my DFS NASCAR cheathsheet which includes Track History, Current Form, DraftKings points averages, Track Type History, Practice/Qualifying Ranks and much more. Get it HERE. I also have available my Race by Race Trends sheet you can view as well.
If you have any questions scroll down to the comment section and join the conversation.Good Luck everyone!
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- AP_907038885751: AP Images - mpi34/MediaPunch/IPX