This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
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Location: Darlington, S.C.
Course: Darlington Raceway
Format: 1.37-mile oval
This weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity series visits Darlington Raceway for the second time in a single season for the first time since 2004. Chase Briscoe won at Darlington in May after a battle with Kyle Busch where each driver led 45 laps. The driver with the most laps led that day was Noah Gragson with 46, however. Briscoe will be joined this week by Denny Hamlin as the only two drivers in the field with prior wins at the circuit. With just four races left in the regular season, drivers outside of the playoffs looking in are feeling the pressure increasing. Ross Chastain, Michael Annett, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg could all clinch their spots in the playoffs with a win on Saturday.
Key Stats at Darlington Raceway
- Number of races: 60
- Winners from pole: 15
- Winners from top-5 starters: 38
- Winners from top-10 starters: 46
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 141.355 mph
Previous 10 Darlington Winners
Darlington Raceway is a rough speedway with effectively two racing lines for drivers to use. The different corners at each end of the speedway make setups a comprise, and drivers may need to run high at one end and low at the other. Regardless of which groove is preferred, drivers will have to move up and down the track to make passes or protect position. While track position is a valuable commodity at Darlington, fresh tires may have a bigger premium. Teams will naturally opt for four-tire stops, which will make pit strategy less of a factor than we've experienced in recent weeks. Due to these factors, fantasy players should expect the fastest drivers to spend significant time out front, while those at the back of the field rely on caution periods to move forward.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Austin Cindric has been on a terrific run of form with just one finish outside of the top-five since Pocono at the end of June. He starts fourth for Saturday's race at Darlington, which is exactly where he finished in the May race. Noah Gragson led 46 laps in that May race from pole before finishing fifth. He finished eighth in his only other series start at the track. Myatt Snider will have to come from the 20th starting position on Saturday to advance his bid for a spot in the playoff field. He finished 35th here in May but should be considered more of a top-15 option this week. Brandon Jones isn't worrying about a playoff spot this week and has the benefit of a top-10 starting position, too. He has two Darlington top-10s from five series starts at the track. Michael Annett will also start inside the top 10 and has added four top-10 finishes to his tally in the last five races. Finishing off the lower-risk lineup option is Matt Mills, who will start 33rd. Mills finished 16th at Daytona last week and offers a roster selection that could add some finish differential points with him starting so deep in the field.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The driver starting the farthest back in Saturday's race will be Denny Hamlin. Fantasy players will expect him to move forward quickly, and he could even challenge for the win despite that starting position. He is the highest-priced driver this week for that reason, and choosing him means being highly selective on the rest of the roster. Riley Herbst makes the cut with a run of four straight top-10 finishes heading into this weekend. Jeremy Clements also presents a good option in this situation given his Darlington experience. He has 10 series starts at the track, finished 12th in the last two and will start 13th Saturday. Brandon Brown will start deeper in the field in 17th, but finished 13th at the track in May. Chad Finchum scored his best Darlington finish of 24th in May's race. He will start 23rd on Saturday and could move forward if he's able to avoid trouble throughout the race distance. The final spot goes to Josh Williams who sits 15th in the championship standings. Williams was ninth at Daytona last week, which was his second top-15 finish in the last five races. He has a top-10 starting spot for this race and finished 16th here in May.