The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to the Darlington Raceway for the eighth race of the 2014 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, April 12, 2014; 6:45 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 82; wind out of the SW at 13 mph. The chance of precipitation is 10 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.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven wins in 33 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 44 career starts at Darlington. He should be in the top five all day.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won last year and has been great in seven of the last eight races at Darlington. He should return to the top five this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has made the top 10 in seven of his 10 career starts at Darlington. He is a great option on Saturday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has 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 seven of the last nine races at Darlington. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has four poles and three top five finishes in 11 career starts at Darlington. He is someone to watch this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has had one of the best cars in the past seven races at Darlington. He will be a tough 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 10.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in eight of the last 13 races at Darlington. We like his chances for a top 15 finish on Saturday.
11 to 20
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke has 11 top 10 finishes in 21 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. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski wasn’t intimidated during his first five trips to Darlington. He is an exciting pick.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano cruised to a top 10 finish at Darlington in 2009 and 2012 and has been fast on 1.5 mile tracks this season. He will bring a top 20 car on Saturday.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has seven top five finishes in 15 career starts at Darlington. He is a very good option this weekend.
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. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished inside the top 15 in four of the past six Darlington races.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky finished 18th at Darlington last year. He will finish a little faster this trip to the track.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch has just one top 10 finish at Darlington since 2004. He won’t be a factor.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon will earn plenty of Darlington stripes this visit to the track.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has consistently brought a top 20 car to Darlington.
21 to 30
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers hasn’t fared so well against the Lady in Black. We can’t recommend him this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose was terrible during his first start at Darlington, but improved quite a bit the past four years. He isn’t a bad option.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola finished 20th 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 Kyle Larson: We love what the rookie has done so far this year. Use him without worry in most leagues.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Dinger hasn’t brought a ton of speed to Darlington in the past.
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 28th last year at Darlington. She will be doing well to improve on that finish this weekend.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears hasn’t produced at Darlington in his career.
No. 40 Landon Cassill: Cassill has averaged a 28th place finish at Darlington during hic career.
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 32 Travis Kvapil
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 35 David Reutimann
No. 33 David Stremme
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 77 Dave Blaney
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 44 J.J. Yeley
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jeff Gordon
B. Carl Edwards
B. Greg Biffle
C. Parker Kligerman