Qualifying is over. All of the practice laps have been run. This is it. Let’s make some picks.
Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day.
High Price Salary
Kevin Harvick ($10,500) – Happy has to be happy where he qualified! Starting in the 3rd spot Harvick will ride behind his teammate Kurt Busch and then eventually take the lead. Harvick found the top 5 during the first practice, but ended up in 21st during Happy Hour. Erase the 21st from your mind, because Harvick will be looking for victory lane tomorrow.
Kurt Busch ($10,100) – I mentioned Kurt riding in front of Harvick for a couple of laps above, but don’t think that Kurt will drop too far out of contention. Kurt starts in the 2nd spot and practiced extremely well. With the proper equipment and a great team at SHR, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a Harvick and Busch finish.
Kyle Busch ($10,600) – Saving the best for last, Rowdy is the hottest driver on the planet. He has easily solidified his spot in the chase and will now be looking for another win at the Lady in Black. He didn’t qualify quite as high as I would have liked, but the 10th spot will give him the ability to accrue some positive place differential points. Practice times weren’t great, but its practice!
Mid Price Salary
Jeff Gordon ($8,400) – Jeff has had a lot of success at Darlington in the past and will look to make a wave this weekend. It is going to be hard to pass this weekend and Gordon sets up in the 5th spot. He was tweaking things in practice, but will be fine when the flag drops. Look for him to stay in the top 10.
Kasey Kahne ($8,000) – Kahne has also had some success at Darlington. He starts in the 15th spot and provides a lot of potential for positive place differential points. His practice times were in the top 15 and he has historically done well at intermediate tracks.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,300) – Not saying there’s a theme here or anything, but Hendrick has dominated Darlington. Junior provides the ultimate place differential play as he starts from the 26th spot. He will work his way up through the pack by pit strategy. I think that Junior will be a top 15 car at the end of the night.
Low Price Salary
Austin Dillon ($7,500) – This play is definitely a gamble, but it’s one that may be necessary. Dillon starts in the 29th spot and practiced well enough to garner some positive place differential points. I only worry about him touching the wall pretty hard in practice. If you want to win a GPP this play may set you apart.
Greg Biffle ($7,400) – The Bif has two wins at Darlington since 2005 and has the highest driver rating among active drivers. He starts 24th and has been a great place differential play all year long. Insert Bif and ride him to victory.
Ryan Blaney ($7,100) – Just like Austin this is a GPP play only. Blaney will roll off in the 9th spot, but is a rookie at Darlington. He has the equipment and the skill, but will have to stay out of trouble to stay in the top 10. He is also a big gamble that could pay off dividends.
Long Shot Value Driver
Chase Elliott ($6,600 ) – Chase can drive, once again I say Chase can drive. He starts in 22nd and has the ability to become a top 15 car. If you want to punt, use Chase to finish off a top heavy lineup.