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Race Preview/Lineup Construction
Darlington is great for DFS and real life purposes because they always host their Throwback Weekend, and it’s always cool to see some of the Throwbacks the drivers run in this race. In terms of the race itself, Darlington is a unique track compared to the others with it being steep, high wear on tires, and egg shape to it. The most comparable track to this is probably Homestead because both have a high groove where you can run right up against the wall. This race is 293 laps which means there are over 200 dominator points available so hitting the right dominators will definitely be important this weekend. They won’t be in the 550 aero package like they were here last season, so don’t factor in track history from 2020 too much. Usually, we can’t look at old data, but this is a race where I feel like we can because it’s a tough track to drive, and they’re racing in the 750 aero package from the past. With all of that out of the way, here are some of the drivers that I’ll be targeting for today’s race.
Kyle Larson (DK $11,400 FD $13,000)
I feel like I write up Larson every race, but he’s been dominant this season in the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Darlington is a track where you can run against the wall, and we all know how great he is at doing that if you’ve watched any of the races where there’s a high groove. He put some some great numbers at this track when he was in the #42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing with three top 5’s, five top 10’s, 500 laps led, and an average finish of 6.7 over his six starts here at the Cup level. Larson offers us some place differential as well starting in 14th, so he’s a driver that I love rostering in cash games and tournaments on DraftKings and FanDuel this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr (DK $10,300 FD $13,500)
Truex is a great driver you can pair or use as a pivot off of Larson this weekend. He was dominant in the most recent Darlington race last season where he led almost 200 laps and had 90 fast laps. I like the speed he had at Homestead earlier this season and also at some of the short tracks like Richmond and Martinsville because that could carry over to this weekend and it really shows you how much upside he has. If you want a little narrative, Truex will be in the Auto-Owners Insurance car for this race, and he always seems to dominate in that car for some reason. I love him this weekend, and I think you can play him in cash and gpps.
Chase Elliott (DK $9,200 FD $12,000)
Elliott is priced appropriately on FanDuel, but that $9,200 price on DraftKings is awfully cheap for a driver that has potential to dominate in this race. The track history might not look good for him, but we have to remember that he was running great in all three races there last season and led 114 laps in the most recent Darlington race. The Hendrick Motorsports cars have been very fast in 2021, and Elliott will eventually dominate one of these races. His cheap price allows you to do a lot of different things with your lineups, so he’s a driver I love to target in tournaments this weekend.
Tyler Reddick (DK $7,400 FD $8,000)
Like I said earlier, Darlington is a track where you can run up against the wall, and Reddick is a driver that does very well at that considering he won two championships at Homestead in the Xfinity Series and had a 4th place finish at Homestead and 7th place finish at Darlington last season. I’m hoping people get scared off of him because of the high starting spot, but I’m guessing he’ll be pretty popular because of the data he has and ability to rack up fast laps. I don’t think he’s playable in cash games starting this close to the front, but he makes for a great tournament play with plenty of upside this weekend.
Ross Chastain (DK $6,300 FD $5,200)
Darlington is a tough track, but that could definitely reward someone like Chastain because of his aggressive driving style. Looking at his Xfinity Series data, he put up some good numbers in the #10 car for Kaulig Racing finishing 2nd and 8th in his two most recent starts and also led 90 laps back in 2018 but finished 25th. He’s finished top 20 in his last four starts as well, so I think he’s under priced on DraftKings and FanDuel this weekend and looks like one of the better value drivers to target that has decent upside.
Ryan Preece (DK $5,900 FD $4,500)
A lot of the value drivers are starting closer to the front, but Preece is starting all the way back in 29th and offers some place differential which makes him one of the safer options to target. Over his four Cup Series starts at Darlington, he’s finished 22nd or better in three of them and also finished 21st at Homestead earlier this season. JTG Daugherty Racing has had success at Darlington in the past, so I think Preece looks like a nice value option we can target with a safe floor and decent upside.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my free article for the Cup Series Darlington race, and I wish you the best of luck in your DFS contests! Make sure to follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already @DFS_NASCAR_Zone, so you can see when I post NASCAR DFS content!