The Cup Series did not have a lot of track time to prepare for the race at Darlington. NASCAR gave the teams 20 minutes to shake-down their car and prepare for the race Sunday. Some of the teams were able to make a long run in practice. This should give us an idea of who has speed and who needs some adjustments during the race.
Here is my starting lineup for the Goodyear 400…
Driver Group Game Team
GROUP A DRIVERS
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (8): Truex has not been to Victory Lane yet this year, but that could change Sunday. Truex completely dominated this race last year. Can he do it again Sunday? Truex did not post a blazing fast speed in practice but he never does. 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. I will use an allocation with Truex and save Kyle Larson for another race.
GROUP B DRIVERS
JOEY LOGANO (8): Dover and Darlington are similar tracks so it was surprising to see how the No. 22 team could look so bad at the Monster Mile and then have speed at the Lady in Black. Logano posted the 2nd -fastest speed in practice and won the pole for the race. Logano also had the fastest car on the long-run speed charts. He has the fastest car in the field, starts on the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall. There is no reason to fade Logano Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN (7): Chastain showed up with speed again. Are you surprised? He has been fast in every race this year. Chastain finished 3rd in his last race at Darlington. Chastain posted the 4th fastest speed in practice and qualified 8th for the race. The No. 1 car should run up front, score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top-10 Sunday.
GROUP C DRIVERS
ERIC JONES (7): Before the season starts I pencil in the drivers for the races at their best tracks. I wrote Jones’ name in ink for the race at Darlington. This is by far his best track. He finished in the top-10 last week at Dover and I expect Jones to do it again Sunday. Jones starts 11th Sunday. His No. 43 Richard Petty throwback car has the speed to run in the top-12 Sunday.
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