Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick will be a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win the Darlington Bojangles Southern 500. Last year nobody was better than him and he dominated the weekend. He won the pole, won the race, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 238 laps. His car was untouchable and probably the only driver who could keep pace with him over a long run was Jeff Gordon. The victory didn’t come easy for Harvick though. During his final pit stop he took four tires and other drivers stayed out and that shuffled him back to 5th with only a few laps remaining. In 2013 he started in 10th, had an 8th place average running position, finished 5th and earned the 5th best driver rating. In 2012 Harvick had an OK performance. He finished 16th, had a 13th place average running position and earned the 13th best driver rating. In 2011 Kevin Harvick had a very good car but Kyle Busch wrecked him. Despite his late wreck he still had a 4th place average running position and earned the 4th best driver rating. (Yahoo A Driver)
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Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch will be one of the drivers to beat at Darlington. He’s a former champion and he’s always in the mix at this venue. Over the last five Darlington races he has the best driver rating, best average running position (6.2), led the most laps (416) and has the second best average finish (6.8). Last year he had a very competitive car but he got into the wall a few times and I think it impacted his level of performance. In the race he finished 5th, earned the 6th best driver rating and had a 9th place average running position. In 2013 he had a dominant car. If it wasn’t for a tire starting to go flat late in the race he likely would’ve won. With 14 laps to go he was in the lead and when the checkered flag waved he fell all the way back to 6th. In the event he started 3rd, had a 1st place average running position, earned the best driver rating and led 265 laps. His car was unchallenged before he had his late issue. Whenever anyone looked like they would catch him he simply floored his car and increased the gap he had on them. In 2012 at Darlington he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position, finished 4th and led 44 laps. In 2008 Busch went to victory lane and led 169 laps. (Yahoo A Driver)
Other Recommended Reading – Darlington Front Runner Rankings, Darlington Mid Pack Predictions, PROS Rankings Darlington, Darlington Fantasy Values, Darlington Scouting Report, Who will win at Darlington?, DraftKings points from the last race at Darlington
Matt Kenseth – Matt Kenseth may not be a flashy pick at Darlington but he’s certainly proven to be an effective option. At this venue since 2006 he’s only finished lower than 13th once. Also in the 9 races over this stretch he has the 6th best driver rating, an 8.3 average finish and a 12.0 average running position. In Joe Gibbs Racing equipment he has two top 4 finishes. Last year he started in 25th and raced his way up to a 4th place finish. He utilized some pit strategy along the way but he had a great car. Also in the race it should be noted he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position and led 12 laps. In 2013 Matt Kenseth conquered the track “Too Tough To Tame”. Although he finished first I wouldn’t say he had the best car. His PROS Rankings for the event ranked 2nd to Kyle Busch. His victory can largely be attributed to teammate Kyle Busch having a tire going flat in the last 20 laps. In that event he started in 7th, had a third place average running position, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 17 laps. It’s important to point out that 13 of those laps led were the final 13 of the race. The other 4 laps led came during pit cycles. In the race Kenseth’s car was really strong. He passed nearly everyone in his way under green with the exception of Kyle Busch until his tire started going down. In 2012 at Darlington he finished 6th and earned the 9th best driver rating. (Yahoo A Driver)