Welcome to the Monster Energy Cup Series Preview. This week we will be looking ahead to the Cup Series race at Darlington. If you are just finding the DFS Army and are not a VIP member sign up and use code LARKIN to save 20%!! Our DFS Army VIP members get access to the Domination Station and Research Station post qualifying. Also, VIP members get access to our VIP Slack and direct contact to the NASCAR coaches. Come join the best team in NASCAR DFS! You can follow myself Ryan Larkin on twitter @Larkin8
Throwback week at Darlington is finally here!! Darlington is perhaps the most historical track that NASCAR visits with a tradition that dates back to 1950. Every year teams run old school throwback paint schemes to celebrate the sports history. As for the race itself it is very likely the most grueling that the series experiences. At nearly four hours long in the middle of Summer the drivers struggle with their cars as one of the roughest surfaces in NASCAR causes extreme tire wear and handling issues. The drivers run right up against the outside while leaving little margin for error. Contact with the wall is fairly common and has been dubbed the Darlington Stripe. These incidents can sometimes cause minor damage or greatly hurt the handling of the cars through loss of aero. The tire fall off is massive at Darlington meaning that long run speed is incredibly important.
Inspection at Darlington: Cars will be impounded after qualifying at Darlington on Saturday. The starting lineup is official at the conclusion of qualifying.
Date: September 1st
Practice 1: Friday 2:05 pm ET.
Practice 2: Friday 4:05 am ET.
Qualifying: Saturday 2:05 pm ET.
Race: Sunday 6:00 pm ET.
Laps: 367 Stages: 100/200/367
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski
AVG. # of Cautions: 9 excluding stage breaks
AVG DNF’s: 6 per race
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Available articles include:
NillyJay’s – Calming the Chaos: Exceptional slate breakdown
BradyMillerDFS’s – The Sway Bar: Top plays for Drafkings
Larkin8’s – Cup Series Setup: Top Plays for FanDuel
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Dominator / Top Tier
Four of the last five Darlington races has seen one main dominator lead 75% or more of the laps. Due to the length of the race a 2-3 dominator strategy is still what will be wanted due to fast laps the 2nd and 3rd best cars will accumulate. There is also the potential for multiple drivers to share the laps led but based on result results that isn’t as likely. As for the drivers who are the favorites heading into the race we have to start with Kyle Larson. Larson has led 408 of the 734 laps the last two years. He is an elite play as ling as he can keep the right rear out of the wall and not hurt his cars performance. Denny Hamlin who is the hottest driver in the series has 2 wins here including the 2017 race where he led 124 laps. Truex, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick all have fantastic track record here and are threats to dominate and win as well.
Mid to Low Tier
In the mid tier we will look for guys who can manage their tires and equipment and make it all 500 miles cleanly. Place differential is crucial in this range as usual. There are a couple drivers who can offer top 10 cars and click off a few fast laps as well though that can be elite plays no matter where they start. This track rewards the elite teams the most so we don’t see as many surprises here. This is the group were long run speed in practice can help dictate who will be the best plays.
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Occasionally we get a Darlington race with lots of wrecks and mechanical issues that leads to many DNFs. This will likely need to happen to give any lower tier/punt teams any real upside. There is some viability to playing one very cheap punt play in lineups where you have multiple dominators from the very top priced tier. The dom points that those top end drivers would score would offset the difference lost by taking a poor punt play with very limited upside. Once qualifying is over we will get a better idea of what is available to us in this group.
I will be giving my Fanduel Top Plays in a VIP article prior to the race.
I will also answer any questions you may have in the VIP Slack!
This will conclude this edition of The Monster Energy Cup Series Preview. If you would like to reach out and talk NASCAR Follow me on twitter @Larkin8 or of course Become a VIP member and join me as well as our other DFS Army NASCAR contributors (Brady Miller, Taco, and NillyJay) in the NASCAR coaching channels.