Driver Group Game Picks for Darlington


NASCAR travels to Darlington Raceway this weekend for the Goodyear 400. That is a good name for this race because tires are going to be very important Sunday. You will not see any two-tire pit stops at “The Track Too Tough to Tame.” It is going to be tough to put on a show as good as the one we had last week, but the cars will be all dressed up in their iconic paint schemes to add a bit of history to the race on Mother’s Day.

The Cup Series had their normal practice session at Darlington Raceway. The teams had 20-minutes to shake down their cars before they lined up for qualifying. Most of the teams were able to make some long runs. This is important because we can ignore the single-lap speed this week. We need the drivers who were fast on the long runs in our lineups at Darlington.

Here is my starting lineup for the Goodyear 400


DENNY HAMLIN (8): Hamlin seems to be on a mission to win the championship this year. He has led laps in 16 consecutive races. This is one short of Kyle Busch’s 17 races. Hamlin should have won the last race at Darlington. He led 177 laps, won both Stages, but was caught up in an accident in the final laps of the race. The No. 11 car looks fast again this week. I expect this race to come down to Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. I will use Hamlin since I have 8 allocations left with the No. 11 car and only 5 with the No. 5 car. I expect Hamlin to win the race and Larson to finish 2nd, like they have 7 times in the past.


TYLER REDDICK (5): It is no secret that Reddick is one of the best drivers at Darlington. This track wears out tires quickly and that forces the drivers to move up the track to make speed. Reddick is one of the best at running the wall. The only question is… How many “Darlington Stripes” can his car take in the race? Reddick finished 2nd, 22nd, 3rd and 2nd in the four races at Darlington in the Gen-7 car. The No. 45 car looks fast again this week. Reddick posted the top-10 speed on the long runs in practice and he won the pole for the race. This is a good race to use Reddick in the Driver Group Game.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (6): Could this be the weekend when Keselowski breaks his 110-race winless streak and gets his first win at RFK Racing? Darlington is a good track for Keselowski, so maybe it will happen. Keselowski finished 6th, 4th and 7th in his last three races at Darlington. He also scored Stage Points in every Stage last year and had the 4th-best average running position in the two races. Keselowski looked fast in practice and he qualified on the front row. Keselowski has a good chance to score a lot of Stage Points, lead some laps and be one of the top scoring drivers in the Driver Group Game Sunday.


CARSON HOCEVAR (9): I haven’t used Hocevar yet this season, but I will take a chance with the No. 77 car Sunday. I was planning on using Noah Gragson in this spot, but he qualified dead last. I still expect Gragson to be good Sunday, but I will save him for the races when he qualifies up front. Hocevar finished 17th at Darlington last year. He should have a decent chance to finish in the top-15 Sunday.


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