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Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200
Location: Darlington, S.C.
Course: Darlington Raceway
Format: 1.37-mile oval
NASCAR Xfinity Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 Race Preview
The battle to make the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs continues this week at Darlington Raceway. Jeremy Clements survived a wild Daytona race one week ago to claim a surprise win. NASCAR levied a hefty penalty after an illegal intake manifold was found to have been on the car following the race, which meant the win will not count for the playoffs. That is a huge blow to the small team and unlikely driver that has turned in some great performances this season. The win itself will stand for Clements, but the playoff position that would typically come with it has been scrubbed. He sits 20th in points following the controversy. Three more chances remain for him, and every other driver, to win and get in, though. Up first is Darlington where Justin Allgaier prevailed earlier this season. Allgaier has won two of the last three races at this track with Noah Gragson having won the fall version last season.
Key Stats at Darlington Raceway
- Number of races: 64
- Winners from pole: 15
- Winners from top-5 starters: 39
- Winners from top-10 starters: 49
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 141.355 mph
Previous 10 Darlington Winners
2022 spring - Justin Allgaier
2021 fall - Noah Gragson
2021 spring - Justin Allgaier
2020 fall - Brandon Jones
2020 spring - Chase Briscoe
2019 - Cole Custer
2018 - Brad Keselowski
2017 - Denny Hamlin
2016 - Elliott Sadler
2015 - Denny Hamlin
Darlington's uniquely shaped oval is notorious as an abrasive surface and a challenge for driver. Each end of the track features distinctly different turns with varying banking that many drivers like use to run against the wall in one and down at the bottom of the track in the other. The preferred line, and often the fastest, is line right against the outside wall, though. Getting as close as possible to the outside wall at maximum speed every lap breeds mistakes, though. Hitting the line inch perfectly every time is what drivers are trying to achieve. That preferred line can make it a challenge to race through traffic. While track position is extremely important, fresh tires often give cars a massive speed advantage. However, due to the abrasive surface, almost every visit to pit road will be for four-tire changes. Teams that can manage tire wear the best and maintain speed late into a fuel run can set themselves up to defend at the front of the field as they race toward the checkered flag.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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NASCAR DFS Picks for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Spring Darlington victor Allgaier got the hang of Darlington early and has been successful at the track since. He has two track wins and has amassed 10 top-10 finishes from 14 starts at the track. Similarly, Gragson has also found Darlington to his liking. He and Allgaier have combined to win the last three races at the track, and Gragson has not finished lower than eighth in any of his six series starts at the historic track. Martinsville winner Brandon Jones finished seventh in the spring race at this track. The biggest hurdle for fantasy players choosing him this week is that he has just one top-five finish in the last seven races. His top-10 at this track earlier in the season should be a good sign of potential this week, though. Another driver looking for a little luck is Sheldon Creed. Creed has been working his way toward the playoff fight, but a slower start to the year is holding him back. A win would get him in. He started 10th at Darlington earlier this season, but didn't get to show what he could do after an engine failure forced him out of the race. Brandon Brown could deliver some upside to fantasy rosters this week, too. He comes relatively inexpensively due to just four top-20 Darlington finishes from his eight tries. However, Brown has been moving forward in the standings with frequent top-15 finishes and a fourth-place finish last week at Daytona. Another top-20 contender this week should be Joe Graf Jr. Graf has two top-20s from five Darlington starts, which would be good value for the cost for players this week.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Larson will get some extra seat time this week as he prepares to get his NASCAR Cup Series playoffs off to the best start possible. He boasts an impressive average finish at the track in that series of 10.5 with a best finish of second. This will be his third Xfinity start of the season. AJ Allmendinger sits atop the points battle as he looks to claim the regular-season title. He has been consistently quick all year and will be aiming for his second Darlington top-10 this week after finishing eighth at the track in May. Daniel Hemric is another top choice for this race. He finished 10th in the spring race and has three top-10s from seven track appearances in this series. He sits 11th in the points and could use a victory to guarantee himself a playoff berth. Veteran Landon Cassill also brings upside to fantasy rosters this week. Darlington is a track where veterans tend to outperform others, and Cassill's nine series starts here show that he has the experience to get the most out of the race. He has two top-10 Darlington finishes in that span and grabbed his best series finish at the track of sixth in the spring race. Jeremy Clements went from the high of winning Daytona last week to the low of having his playoff spot stripped away just a few days later. Still, Clements has often proven to be a lower-priced driver with significant upside potential. With three top-10 finishes from 14 Darlington starts he should enter this weekend thinking a top finish is well within his reach. Rounding out the selections is Ryan Vargas, who scored a 21st-place finish at Darlington in May. His first top-10 of the season came last week at Daytona, which gives him some momentum this week to crack the top 20.