Eric increased his lead again as he picked up his third win of the season last Sunday in Kansas. He had the race winner, Denny Hamlin as well as three of the top six finishers (1-4-6) to extend his points advantage heading into throwback weekend at Darlington.
In fact, Eric had 6 of his 8 drivers in the top 15 and all but one in the top 20.
Greg had two cars in the top five (2-5) and four in the top 15. 5 of his 7 finished in the top 20. However, he also had a pair of cars (31-32) outside the top 30 as well.
CJ had four cars in the top 10 (3-7-8-10) but only five in total in the top 26. He had 27-34-35 below them.
2023 FANTASY STANDINGS
1 TEAM ERIC
2 TEAM GDP – 410 points
3 TEAM CJ – 615 points
1 TEAM ERIC – 2,615 points (3 wins)
J Logano… 460 (1 win)
C Bell… 440 (1 win)
IR/A Bowman… 345
D Hamlin… 340 (1 win)
K Harvick… 310
B Keselowski… 240
D Suarez… 235
B Wallace… 220
A. Almirola… 25
4/26 (After Race 10) Placed A Bowman on IR; picked-up A. Almirola for Dover.
2 TEAM GDP – 2,205 points (3 wins)
K Larson… 415 (2 wins)
R Chastain… 385
R Blaney… 360
T Reddick… 355 (1 win)
C Briscoe… 215
C Buescher… 145
A Cindric… 130
R Stenhouse Jr… 80
Waived/Traded Drivers… (120 points)
4/13 (After Race 8) Waived E Jones (80 points) and picked-up R Stenhouse Jr.
3/13 (After Race 4) Waived H Burton (40 points) and picked-up C Buescher.
3 TEAM CJ – 2,000 points (5 wins)
K Busch… 400 (2 wins)
W Byron… 385 (2 wins)
M Truex Jr… 365 (1 win)
T Gibbs… 185
AJ Allmendinger… 175
C Elliott… 160
A Dillon… 155
R Preece… 80
Waived/Traded Drivers… (95 points)
4/13 (After Race 8) Waived R Stenhouse Jr. (95 points) and removed C Elliott from IR.
3/5 (After Race 2) Placed C Elliott on IR; picked-up R Stenhouse Jr. for Las Vegas.
Weekly Race Points Standings
Week 12 Kansas
1 ERIC 240
2 GDP 170
3 CJ 155
Driver Standings (Top 10)
1 J Logano… 460 (ERIC)
2 C Bell… 440 (ERIC)
3 K Larson… 415 (GDP)
4 K Busch… 400 (CJ)
5 W Byron… 385 (CJ)
5 R Chastain… 385 (GDP)
7 M Truex Jr… 365 (CJ)
8 R Blaney… 360 (GDP)
9 T Reddick… 355 (GDP)
10 A Bowman… 345 (ERIC)
One of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR schedule. This year will be the 122nd and 123rd races on the South Carolina race track with the first coming on Sept. 4, 1950.
- Just the 5th spring race (2020 has 2 spring race) at Darlington since 2005. From 1957 through 2004, NASCAR came to Darlington every year during the spring as well as Labor Day weekend too.
- Prior to last year, the last eight winners had come from a starting spot outside of the top five. Three of the last four have since come from the top four.
- Every race winner at Darlington during the stage era have scored stage points. In fact, in eight of the 10 races, the eventual winner finished in the top 5 in the second stage (Logano was 3rd last year and Jones 9th in the Southern 500)
- What’s odd is, the race winner at Darlington has never won a stage either.
- Last September, Erik Jones gave Chevrolet their first Darlington win since 2014 (1-for-12).
- Prior to a last year, Toyota had won 3 of the last 4 including 7 of the last 10 overall. They went 0-for-2 last season.
- Expect the race to end in regulation. We’ve had no overtimes in the last 12 races there including 13 of the last 14 (since 2013).
Similar to Homestead and the old Atlanta, but this racing package and not as much room to pass with, makes this race tough to watch. With a less downforce package, cars slip and slide around which in turn allows for passing. The high downforce package makes cars more stable. This is a pit call race with varying strategies like Homestead and Atlanta too.
Kyle Larson (+500)
Yes, he was 36th and 12th last year. But I also can’t ignore three straight runner-up’s prior and two third place finishes in a three race span even before that. He led 45 laps in 2016, 124 laps in 2017, 284 in 2018, 44 in 2019, 156 in the 2021 Southern 500 and 30 in this race last year. All he’s missing is a win…
Martin Truex Jr. (+700)
He led 248 laps in his dominating Mother’s Day performance in 2021. He backed that up with finishing fourth in that year’s Southern 500. However, a year ago, he finished just 24th and 31st respectively and didn’t see either finish. The thing is, he had a top five car in both races though too. He crashed up front in the closing laps of this race last year while being in the Top-5, then blew a water pump while running in the Top-3 of the Southern 500.
Truex 196 laps in the 2020 Southern 500, those 248 in the 2021 spring race, one lap in the 2021 Southern 500, 28 laps in last year’s spring race and 48 in last year’s Southern 500.
Denny Hamlin (+800)
Hamlin has nine top 10 finishes in his last 12 “Lady in Black” starts including eight of them being in the top five. He’s a four-time Darlington winner and also has four runner-ups there too which includes the last time out. Five of his last seven tries have seen him also finish inside of the Top-5 there including three of the last four. 16 overall Top-10 finishes in 21 starts with 792 laps led.
Kevin Harvick (+1600)
He won NASCAR’s first race back during the pandemic at Darlington back on May 17th in 2020. Harvick, was third in the second race that year. He then won the Southern 500 for 2 wins in 3 Darlington starts for the 2020 season. Harvick has 13 Top-10 finishes in his last 14 Darlington starts including eight of his last nine being in the Top-6. Harvick, led 63 total laps here in 17 starts at Darlington with RCR. He’s already led 750 in 13 starts with SHR.
Joey Logano (+1400)
He won this race last year (107 laps led) to go along with being fourth (64 laps led) in the Southern 500. Logano has five Top-8 finishes in his last six Darlington starts and six career Top-5 finishes there.
Kyle Busch (+1000)
The bad? Three consecutive sub-30th place finishes. However, he had a Top-5 car in both races last year but crashed after leading 19 laps while running there in this race and had an engine blow while leading late in the Southern 500 in a race that he led 155 laps in. Prior to that was 10 Top-7 finishes in 12 Darlington starts. The only problem is that he’s had just one win in 22 starts and that coming back in 2008. This car finished in the top three in both races last year.
William Byron (+1200)
He led laps in both races last year including what was a Top-2 result in this very race before Joey Logano shoved him out of the lead late. Byron has three Top-8 finishes in his last five Darlington starts.
Christopher Bell (+3000)
Bell had one of the better cars on this track last year. He started third and second respectively while finishing sixth and fifth.
Tyler Reddick (+2000)
This track was made for Reddick. Running the high line right up against the wall. Reddick was second and third respectively here a year ago and now is with Toyota power.
Brad Keselowski (+5000)
Worth a look. The former Southern 500 winner (2018) has six Top-11 finishes in his last nine Darlington tries.
Austin Dillon (+3000)
A pair of top 5’s including a runner-up in 2020 as well as five top 11’s in his last eight at Darlington puts him on this list. He was ninth and 17th last year.
He won the Southern 500 for Petty GMS last year for what was his second win in the prestigious race. Seven Top-8 finishes in 10 tries gives me a big reason to take him.
He was an impressive seventh and sixth respectively on this track a year ago.
Third in this very race last year. While he was 19th in the Southern 500, take a risk.
Chase Elliott (+800)
Yes he could have won the second race of the 2020 race weekend. Yes, he led 114 laps and was crashed with Martin Truex Jr. while battling for the lead in that year’s Southern 500 with 15 laps remaining. Still, Elliott is 0-for-12 at Dartlington in Cup and among his three career Top-5’s, none have seen him finish better than fourth either. Four of his last six finishes there have seen him finish 20th or worse.
Ross Chastain (+1200)
He wrecked while leading last year. He was third in the 2021 Southern 500. However, what scares me about Chastian is, three of his last four finishes here have seen him finish 15th or worse too.
10th last year in this very race but that’s his best finish in 10 Darlington tries. Five of his last seven have seen him finish 18th or worse.
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
Not a strong suit for him. Just one Top-10 finish in 12 tries. He was 17th and 13th respectively last year.
18th and 16th respectively last year.
Alex Bowman (+1400)
Bowman had 2 top six finishes in 3 Darlington starts in 2020 but was only 17th and 26th in 2021, 29th and 10th last year to go along with being 23rd and 18th also in 2018 and 2019.
While he was ninth in both races in 2021, he was only 16th and 26th a year ago giving him five of his last seven Darlington finishes being 16th or worse.
Just one Top-10 finish in nine Darlington starts. That came last year (9th in Southern 500). He was 27th in this race a year ago too.
Chase Briscoe (+4000)
He won an Xfinity Series race here in emotional fashion in 2020 but was 11th, 19th, 20th and 27th respectively in his four career Cup Series starts.
Aric Almirola (+8000)
11th in both races a year ago, but 0 top 5’s in 15 Darlington starts and just 2 top 10’s too.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Yes he was eighth here last year, but that’s his only Top-10 finish in 14 Darlington starts too. He was also 35th in a crash in last year’s Southern 500.
14th and 21st last year.
Last raced a Cup car here in 2018. He was 22nd that night. He has two finishes better than 20th in 11 tries.