NASCAR Picks for Darlington
Ryan Newman, #31 Caterpillar, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has been one of the more consistent drivers at Darlington throughout his career. Since the start of the 1999 season, his 12.3 average finish is tied for the fifth best in the series. Meanwhile, Newman has 10 top-10 finishes in 15 career starts at the track, including eight top-five finishes.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Kahne tends to run hot and cold at Darlington, but he always has some upside. In the last three starts at the track, he has two top-eight finishes, but in his last eight starts at the track, he has six finishes outside the top 15. Kahne definitely isn't the safest pick this weekend, but he could provide a top-10 for those willing to roll the dice.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
In his five Cup starts at Darlington, Logano has been tough to predict. He has a pair of top-10 finishes, including a ninth-place run in his track debut. However, he has finished outside the top 20 in his other three starts at the track. At the very least, you need to keep an eye on Logano's practice times before deciding whether or not to take a chance on him.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Darlington has never been Bowyer's strongest track. In eight starts at the track, he has a disappointing 21.1 average finish. Worse yet, he has just a single top-10 finish compared to four finishes outside the top 20. Not to mention the fact that his lone top-10 finish came back in 2007.
Kurt Busch, #41 Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
While he hasn't been awful at Darlington, his strong runs have been few and far between. In 17 starts at the track, he has only five top-10 finishes. More concerning is the fact that he only has one top-10 in his last nine starts at Darlington. Expecting more than a top-15 finish out of Busch this weekend is a recipe for disappointment.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Chip Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
McMurray has the makings of a decent sleeper pick this weekend. He has compiled a 16.1 average finish in 13 starts at the track, and he has finished 11th or better six times. McMurray has also finished 16th or better in five of his last seven starts at Darlington, so he should at least be good for a top-20 run this weekend.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He has only made two starts at Darlington, but both have yielded respectable results. Almirola finished 19th in his track debut in 2012 and followed it up with a 20th-place finish last season. His ceiling may not be the highest, but a driver that can provide a top-20 has its place in a lot of formats.
Kyle Larson, #42 Target, Chip Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The rookie will be making his Darlington debut at the Cup level this weekend, but there is reason to be optimistic about his chances. For one, Larson has the natural talent to handle the tricky track. More importantly, the high line is the preferred line around the track, and nobody runs the high line better than Larson.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
His results at Darlington have been hit or miss, and in five starts, he has two top-15 finishes to go along with three finishes of 25th or worse. However, both of his top-15s have come in the last three races, including a career-best ninth-place run in 2012. Ambrose still isn't the greatest fantasy pick, but he has a little potential.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He made his Darlington debut at the Cup level last year, and he finished a respectable 18th. The sample size is obviously small, but assuming he can at least deliver a similar performance this weekend, Stenhouse will make a viable sleeper pick this weekend.
Austin Dillon, #3 Dow Chemical/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The rookie will be making his first start at Darlington at the Cup level this weekend, so it is tough to know what to expect. That being said, he has finished 16th or better in five of the six races this season, so he has been pretty darn solid regardless of the track. Expect another respectable run out of Dillon Sunday.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Darlington has been a house of horrors for Vickers at the Cup level. He has just a single top-10 finish in nine starts at the track to go along with a dismal 27.1 average finish. Worse yet, he has finished outside the top 20 in seven of his nine starts at the track.
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