There are some race on the schedule that are must see TV. The night race at Darlington is one of them. NASCAR will wrap the cars in throwback paint schemes to pay tribute to the cars that turned laps at the Lady in Black in the past. It is cool to see the iconic cars on the track and the race is pretty good too. The Southern 500 can be seen Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
One of the changes this season for the Driver Group Game is that your league commissioner has the ability to change to number of allocations for each driver and can place drivers into any group they choose. My picks will be based on the default settings (8 allocations per driver and the original group settings).
Here are my picks for Darlington…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Kyle Lason (8): Larson put on a clinic last year at Darlington. He 284 and won both Stages. Larson has averaged 204 laps led in the last 2 Southern 500s and he is averaging 17 Stage points per race. He looks like he is ready to dominate the race again Sunday night. Larson posted the fastest 5-lap, 10-lap, 15-lap and 20-lap speed in final practice. All of the teams were talking about how fast the No. 42 car was at the top of the track. The only question is if he can keep it off the wall for 500 miles. I will take a chance with him and save my allocations with the top drivers for the playoffs.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kyle Larson 2) Brad Keselowski 3) Kevin Harvick 4) Kyle Busch 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Joey Logano 7) Chase Elliott
Driver Group Game B Picks
Denny Hamlin (3): Hamlin is too hot to ignore. Hamlin has finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 2nd and 5th in his last 6 races. Hamlin will get a lot of practice laps this week since he is driving the Xfinity Series race. His car was very fast on the long runs in final practice. Hamlin posted the 3rd best 10-lap average speed and the 4th fastest 20-lap average speed. The No. 11 team is too good right now to fade. Hamlin is my pick to win Sunday.
William Byron (8): I have to have the Days of Thunder car in my lineup. That is one awesome looking car. The good news is that it is fast. I listened to Chad Knaus on the radio during final practice and he did a great job at keeping Byron call so he could run some smooth laps. Byron ranks 9th this season in average finishing position in the 550 HP engine package. Byron won the pole so he will have the No. pit stall and a great chance to earn bonus points for leading a lap and Stage points. I will use Byron this week and save my other drivers for the playoffs.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Denny Hamlin) Kurt Busch 3) William Byron 4) Erik Jones 5) Jimmie Johnson 6) Daniel Suarez 7) Clint Bowyer 8) Ryan Blaney 9) Alex Bowman 10) Paul Menard
Driver Group Game C Picks
Chris Buescher (3): Buescher has been awesome this season and Darlington ranks as his best track. He has 3 career starts in the MENCS at the Lady in Black and he has never finished outside the top 17. Last year Buescher qualified 19th and finished 13th. Buescher posted the 17th fastest speed in final practice but he said he liked his car. He qualified 12th and should be able to keep his car in the top 15.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Chris Buescher 2) Matt DiBenedetto 3) Darrell Wallace Jr. 4) Daniel Hemric 5) Ty Dillon
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Kyle Larson (8)
Group B: Denny Hamlin (3), William Byron (8)
Group C: Chris Buescher (3)
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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Good luck this week!