The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competes at Darlington Raceway this week. This is one of the most iconic tracks on the circuit and it is fun to watch the throwback paint schemes used in the race Sunday night.
There were two practices Friday at Darlington and qualifying will take place Saturday afternoon. When NASCAR uses this schedule, Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing allows players to see to practices before rosters lock early Saturday morning. You MUST take advantage of this knowledge before you set your lineup. You can see my thoughts from practice in my Garage Talk Notes article.
Denny Hamlin (8) has one of the fastest cars this week. He was 2nd fastest in the morning practice and 3rd fastest in race trim in the final practice. Hamlin has finished 5 of the last 7 races at Darlington in the top 4. He was my pick to win Monday and nothing changed my opinion today. He was fastest in both Xfinity Races and top 3 in both MENCS races. This is a great race to use an allocation with Hamlin.
Brad Keselowski (4) looked just as fast as Hamlin. Keselowski is driving the coolest paint scheme (IMO). The “Midnight” car was 3rd fastest in the first practice and 2nd fastest in race trim in final practice. Keselowski started on the front row in the last two races at Darlington. I would not be surprised if he won the pole Saturday. I need to save some allocations with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch so I will use Keselowski this week.
Kyle Larson (1) has the car to beat this week. He was fastest in the 1st practice and he was fastest in race trim in the final practice. What made his laps so impressive is that he sat out a 30 minute penalty and then laid down the fastest lap. There is no way I am using my last allocation with Larson this week, but he looks like a good bet to win the pole and earn my team 10 bonus points.
Chase Elliott (4) was fast in both practices. He was 7th fastest in the 1st practice and 8th fastest in race trim in the final practice. He finished 10th here last year and I think he will finish in the top 10 again this week.
Kurt Busch (4) is a hard driver to trust but I think this could be one of his best races since the spring. Busch was 9th fastest in the 1st practice and 4th fastest in race trim in the final practice. I will admit that I have bad luck with Busch, but I am willing to give him a chance this week. His car is fast.
Ryan Newman (7) said this is his favorite track and his practice speeds show it. Newman was 10th fastest in the 1st practice and 8th fastest in race trim in final practice. He said multiple times on the radio in practice that his car is nearly perfect. I would be surprised if Newman is not in my starting lineup Sunday night.
Ty Dillon (5) will be my starting driver Sunday night. Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez looked OK but not great. I will only use them when they look great in practice. Their allocations are too valuable to be burned at The Track Too Tough To Tame. Dillon looked decent. He ran around the 21st position in both practices. I will take that from him Sunday night.
Daniel Suarez (2) is on the team for qualifying points only this week. I thought about using David Ragan because his car looked decent but I just cannot do it. Suarez looked fast in qualifying trim so I will select the No. 19 car and hope he can qualify in the top 4 and earn me some bonus points Saturday.
Good luck this week!!