The Cup Series is set for throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway. The cars will be wrapped in their iconic paint schemes to honor the drivers of the past and the “Lady in Black” is ready to take her first dance with the Gen-7 car. It should be fun to see how the new composite body holds up against the “Darlington Stripe” and how the wider tires wear out on this abrasive track. The Goodyear 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
Allocation management is important in Fantasy Live but Darlington is not one of the tracks were you want to sit your best drivers on the bench. The races at “The Track Too Tough to Tame” are usually dominated by the best drivers in the Cup Series because it takes a while to figure out how drive this egg-shaped track and how to save your tires over a long run. I am not worried about allocations this week. If a driver has good track history, ran well last week at Dover and posted a fast speed in practice, he will be in my lineup Sunday.
Here are my picks for the Goodyear 400…
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP
KYLE LARSON (6): Larson has been one of the most consistent drivers at Darlington. No driver can run the wall the way he does. Sometimes he gets a “Darlington Stripe” but the Gen-7 car is tough and it should be able to take the beating Larson will put it through Sunday. Larson finished 2nd, 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in his last 4 races at Darlington. He also averaged 121 laps led and 16 Stage Points in those races. Larson starts on the front row so he should spend a lot of time up front; leading laps, scoring Stage Points, with a good chance to win Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (8): Truex completed dominated this race last year. He led 248 of the 293 laps, won both Stages and went to Victory Lane. The No. 19 team has not hit of the perfect setup in the Gen-7 car yet this year, but they are getting closer. The No. 19 car was too tight in practice so his team used the notes from Kyle Busch’s car and it came to life in qualifying. Truex qualified 4th and should run up front, score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance to win the race.
KYLE BUSCH (8): Busch is quietly putting together a good season in 2022. He has finished the last five races in the top-10 with a 5th-place average running position since March. Rowdy has not won at Darlington since 2008, but he has finished 3 of his last 4 races in the top-10. Busch should be a good pick to run up front, score Stage Points and finish in the top-10 Sunday.
JOEY LOGANO (5): What a difference a week makes. Logano sucked at Dover and now he has the fastest car in Darlington. Logano posted the 2nd fastest lap in practice and had the fastest car on the long-run speed charts. Logano won the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall. He should lead a lot of laps, score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top-10 Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN (10): How good has Chastain been this year? He won at COTA and Talladega. He finished second at Phoenix and Atlanta and the No. 1 car finished 3rd at Las Vegas and Dover. It doesn’t matter what the size or the shape of the track it in 2022. Chastain has been good at all of them. I am not worried about his track history at Darlington. The No. 1 car posted the 4th fastest speed in practice and qualified 8th. Chastain should once again run up front and score a lot of points for your Fantasy Live team.
GARAGE DRIVER: TYLER REDDICK (6): Reddick has not had much success at Darlington and that surprises me because the “Lady in Black” is his type of track. Reddick finished 7th at Darlington in 2020 and he had the 5th best running position in this race last year. The fast way around Darlington is right up against the wall. The two best at it are Kyle Larson and Reddick. The No. 8 car posted the 5th-fastest speed in practice with the 3rd-fastest long-run speed. Reddick qualified 10th for the race. Reddick should run up front and score a lot of Stage Points Sunday.
Fantasy Live has a new Bonus Picks section this year. Instead of selecting the winning team or manufacturer, we will earn 10 bonus points for selecting the driver who finishes the best in a Head-to-Head matchup. Here are my picks for the matchups…
MARTIN TRUEX JR. vs. DENNY HAMLIN (My Pick: MARTIN TRUEX JR.)
ROSS CHASTAIN vs. KYLE BUSCH (My pick is KYLE BUSCH)
CHRIS BUESCHER vs. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (My pick is RICKY STENHOUSE JR.)
RYAN BLANEY vs. WILLIAM BYRON (My pick is WILLIAM BYRON)
Good Luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing CheatSheet Pro
* Team Information from Jaysky.com
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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