We are entering the final off weekend of the 2018 season, but when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action, it will do so at famed Darlington Raceway. The track has been called everything from “The Lady in Black” to NASCAR’s original superspeedway, and next Sunday night, the egg-shaped oval will host one of the more prestigious events of the year, the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
Thanks to Darlington’s long history, the Southern 500 ranks alongside the Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400 as one of the biggest races after the Daytona 500. Any driver would love to add a Darlington win to their resume, so don’t be surprised if the teams already locked into the playoffs are a little extra aggressive.
While I definitely expect the usual suspects to be among the top contenders next Sunday night, Darlington does have a unique layout and a preferred groove that forces drivers to run within inches of the wall. You will hear the term “Darlington stripe” used throughout the weekend, but while brushing the wall is fine, bouncing it off the wall can ruin a driver’s night.
Certain drivers just seem to excel at this place, and you can use these Darlington ringers to your advantage, especially when filling out your Group B options in the Driver Group Game. There are also some appealing Group A alternatives to the Big 3 this weekend.
Overall, I’m expecting a bit more attrition than normal as drivers try to pick up a coveted Southern 500 win at a track that is one of the toughest on the schedule. With just two races left for Fantasy Live, I’m not too concerned about budgeting my starts, but picking and choosing when to save starts in the DGG remains tough. This race at this track could be a good spot to try.
- Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer
- Kyle Busch, M&M’s
- Martin Truex, Jr., Furniture Row
- Denny Hamlin, FedEx
- Kyle Larson, CreditOne/DC Solar
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