Early Week Driver Rankings for Darlington


The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series will make the short trip from Charlotte to Darlington this week to dance with “The Lady in Black.” Darlington is one of the best tracks on the circuit in my opinion. The egg-shaped layout makes it tough for crew chiefs to find balance for their cars. The track is old and eats tires fast. The race at Kansas Speedway was excellent last week. I expect the same at “The Track Too Tough to Tame.” The GoodYear 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FS1.

How do we handicap the race at Darlington? Tire management is extremely important at Darlington, just like it was at Auto Club. We can use some of the data from the race at Fontana for the race this week. Darlington is also high-banked like Dover. The data from the Monster Mile should also translate into speed at Darlington. The races at Las Vegas and Kansas are intermediate tracks, somewhat similar to Darlington, so we will want some data from those races too. But the best data to use is from the previous races at Darlington. Some drivers know how to get around this odd-shaped track better than others. I used the data from all of these races, with an emphasis on the races at Darlington for the Driver Rankings this week.

Here are my early week driver rankings for the GoodYear 400

1. Denny Hamlin
2. William Byron
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kyle Larson
5. Joey Logano
6. Christopher Bell
7. Tyler Reddick
8. Ross Chastain
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Kyle Busch
11. Erik Jones
12. Kevin Harvick
13. Chase Elliott
14. Ty Gibbs
15. Bubba Wallace
16. Michael McDowell
17. Aric Almirola
18. Brad Keselowski
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Josh Berry
21. Chris Buescher
22. Justin Haley
23. Austin Cindric
24. AJ Allmendinger
25. Austin Dillon
26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27. Corey LaJoie
28. Chase Briscoe
29. Todd Gilliland
30. Ryan Preece
31. Harrison Burton
32. Noah Gragson
33. Ryan Newman
34. Ty Dillon
35. Breenan Poole
36. BJ McLeod


Be sure to check back Saturday night for the updated Driver Rankings for the race Sunday at the Monster Mile.


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