The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to the Darlington Raceway for the 11th race of the 2013 season, the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The only race this season at the "Track Too Tough To Tame" promises to be filled with excitement. We analyzed past performances, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to shed a light on how the field should finish on Saturday night.
When: Saturday, May 11, 2013; 7:00 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 82; wind out of the SW at 13 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
The Track: Darlington Raceway
Darlingtonis a 1.366 mile oval. It has 25 and 23 degree banking in the turns and three and two degree banking on the straight-aways. Darlingtonrewards aggressive and fearless drivers which is why it is the “Track Too Tough To Tame”.
Key to Race: THE TRACKTOO TOUGH TO TAME
Jeff Gordon is one of the few that has managed to tame Darlington. He has seven career victories at the track. He is one of our favorites to take the checkers on Saturday.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven wins in 32 career starts at Darlington. He has tamed the "Track Too Tough To Tame".
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has three wins and has finished outside the top 10 just four times in 43 career starts at Darlington. He should be in the top five all day.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has four poles and three top five finishes in 10 career starts at Darlington. He is someone to watch this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has made the top 10 in six of his nine career starts at Darlington. He is a great option on Saturday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy loved the increased speeds that came with the new Darlington surface 2008. He is a great pick to win.
6 to 10
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has had one of the most dominant cars in six of the last eight races at Darlington. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been great in six of the last seven races at Darlington. He should return to the top 10 this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke has 11 top 10 finishes in 20 career starts at Darlington. He has never won at the track and likely won’t find victory lane this weekend this trip to South Carolina.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has seven top five finishes in 14 career starts at Darlington. He is a very good option this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in seven of the last 12 races at Darlington. We like his chances for a top 15 finish on Saturday.
11 to 20
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has had one of the best cars in the past six races at Darlington. He is expected to be back for the entire race and should be fast again this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick finally figured out Darlington in 2010 and 2011 after struggling in most of his previous six races at the track. He shouldn’t have an issue making the top 15.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski wasn’t intimidated during his first four trips to Darlington. He is an exciting pick.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has cracked the top 14 in all but one of his career starts at Darlington. He is a great sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished in the top 12 in four of the last seven races at Darlington. We think he should just miss the top 10 this weekend, but will cruise to a solid top 20 finish.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano cruised to a top 10 finish at Darlington in 2009 and 2012. He will bring a top 20 car on Saturday.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has 17 top five finishes at Darlington, including a win during the 2009 race. He won't win this weekend, but his ability to be patient and drive smart races should have him near the top 15.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished inside the top 15 in three of the past five Darlington races. He should finish inside the top 20, but we don’t see a top 15 finish this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard had great Mother’s Day weekend runs at Darlington in 2010 and 2012. He could be fast again this year.
No. 51 Regan Smith: Regan Smith surprised everyone with a win at Darlington in 2011. He is work taking a flyer on in deep, deep leagues.
21 to 30
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose was terrible during his first start at Darlington, but improved quite a bit the past three years. He isn’t a bad option.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch has just one top 10 finish at Darlington since 2004. He won’t be a factor.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola finished 19th at Darlington last year. He is a fine choice.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very hit-or-miss at Darlington in his career. He is a bit of a risky pick on Saturday.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya had success at Darlington in 2010, but he had reverted to his middling ways. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky has averaged a 20th place finish so far this year. He will struggle a bit this weekend at Darlington.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Bobby-LA has finished in the top 25 in 24 of the last 27 Darlington races. He is a decent choice as a fourth fantasy driver on all teams this weekend.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan impressed with a top five finish at Darlington in 2008, but it was more luck than skill. He will be doing well to crack the top 20 this weekend.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica finished 31st last year at Darlington. She will be doing well to improve on that finish this weekend.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Reutimann has averaged a 22nd place finish at Darlington during his career. He will finish worse than his average this visit to South Carolina.
No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 33 Landon Cassill
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 35 Jose Wise
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 35 Josh Wise
No. 32 Timmy Hill
No. 52 Brian Keselowski
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jeff Gordon
B. Joey Logano
B. Martin Truex Jr.
C. Regan Smith