It’s Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway with the Goodyear 400 on Sunday afternoon. The weather forecast says it’s going to be in the mid-80s and partly cloudy, so it should make for some great racing and a slicker track surface. Darlington is a “high-wear” race track that is pretty unique and hard to compare to any other track on the circuit. The cream definitely rises to the top at this track, and you can expect the most talented drivers to be in the running for the win on Sunday.

Click here to check out my DraftKings post for this race. It’s a little bit more in-depth than this FanDuel post and there’s a lot of crossover with drivers between these two DFS sites. Also, my algorithm predicted finishing order is a great tool to check out as well. Click here to look at that.

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Driver Loop Data Averages at Darlington

Kevin Harvick Dark Helmet
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Darlington is such a unique track that it’s important to analyze the data from just this venue. So, below you will find two charts: the first one has Darlington data from 2019 and 2020, four races total. And then the second chart will show you the 2016-2018 data, which is when NASCAR race the low downforce package at Darlington.

Darlington is also a “high-wear” race track, and we’ve had two races on that type this season: Homestead and Atlanta. You can click here for Green Flag Speed from Homestead, and click here for the full Loop Data Box Score from Homestead. Also, you can click here for Green Flag Speed from Atlanta, and click here for the full Loop Data Box Score from Atlanta.

Total Laps
Kyle Larson102.004.3160.92127.24044361367
Kevin Harvick402.307.0159.52118.710520111491235
Erik Jones404.508.8159.20105.83910611201235
Kurt Busch408.309.4159.0797.197999811235
Brad Keselowski408.310.1158.7199.3481069951235
Kyle Busch409.510.5158.9197.1671188921234
Joey Logano410.312.4158.7491.325199001234
Austin Dillon410.816.0158.1877.4705501235
Alex Bowman411.008.3159.30102.2854210761233
Aric Almirola411.314.8158.2883.2206791234
Denny Hamlin412.008.0158.4299.7543110731224
Matt DiBenedetto413.016.1157.7174.9405971234
Martin Truex Jr413.310.1159.45104.71392129051233
Clint Bowyer413.809.0159.0198.2577211461235
Tyler Reddick314.316.7157.7576.8200408867
Ryan Newman416.818.3157.8172.31353471233
William Byron418.313.9158.1285.92038181219
Ryan Blaney418.517.9157.7675.61404241233
Chase Elliott420.308.9158.9898.08515110551225
Cole Custer321.719.9156.8566.130208866
Daniel Suarez422.023.3156.3054.5013031230
Christopher Bell323.022.0156.9760.330114850
Chris Buescher423.320.8157.4061.21403701226
Michael McDowell423.524.5157.0354.300341142
Ryan Preece424.521.9157.1761.8101811094
Bubba Wallace424.823.4157.3456.8153901083
Ricky Stenhouse Jr325.724.2157.6158.3130111925
Ross Chastain228.531.2153.6038.6105721
Quin Houff331.033.8152.0633.8000701
Corey LaJoie432.030.0156.2043.610131060
Josh Bilicki233.033.9150.2532.3200642
Garrett Smithley335.336.4150.5128.7501675
BJ McLeod338.037.0152.7727.6001409
James Davison139.037.6150.6025.3000162

2016-2018 Driver Averages At Darlington

Total Laps
Kevin Harvick305.004.7159.79119.28223610821100
Denny Hamlin305.006.2159.64112.87414810951101
Erik Jones206.508.2158.71105.7480712734
Kyle Larson306.704.8159.88119.715445310711100
Martin Truex Jr306.705.8160.15121.71091349761101
Kyle Busch306.707.2159.60101.732710911101
Brad Keselowski308.306.9159.98111.770749731100
Joey Logano308.307.3159.78103.8301810751100
Chase Elliott308.709.3159.4494.83709501100
Austin Dillon310.714.2158.6382.41106991101
Ryan Newman311.313.0158.7383.81097801100
Jamie McMurray311.312.2158.8884.5608751100
Matt Kenseth312.313.0158.9789.422107071098
Jeff Gordon114.018.8160.7573.650108367
Kurt Busch314.309.2159.2693.031710251060
Chris Buescher315.717.6158.0870.5503711100
Paul Menard316.318.8158.4171.1501571099
Ty Dillon217.020.4156.8367.430128731
Kasey Kahne318.319.6157.7267.7903091095
Carl Edwards119.011.3161.6882.420309366
Ryan Blaney319.722.2158.5866.81701111090
Ricky Stenhouse Jr319.721.2157.4464.9402151092
Regan Smith120.026.5158.8951.1402366
David Ragan321.325.1156.6152.419021095
Aric Almirola322.019.7157.6865.0601751078
Dale Earnhardt Jr122.016.4157.7272.120139365
Michael McDowell322.025.3156.8454.020111094
Alex Bowman123.024.6156.0066.938035365
Danica Patrick225.027.1158.0453.81300728
Casey Mears125.027.8159.2751.3800365
Bubba Wallace126.028.6155.4449.3200363
AJ Allmendinger326.327.7156.2549.54021070
Landon Cassill327.030.0155.2944.505251083
Corey Lajoie227.529.3154.6145.5301720
Jimmie Johnson328.021.4158.9872.7210408921
Ross Chastain128.031.5153.6341.6100360
Michael Annett128.033.0156.9436.2000362
Josh Wise129.034.5156.3933.2100361
Cole Whitt230.030.3155.3039.2002614
Matt DiBenedetto330.329.5155.7944.1300980
JJ Yeley131.034.4149.6634.2000350
BJ McLeod132.036.2148.0830.1000347
Derrike Cope232.534.8150.3731.4002697
Clint Bowyer332.722.4158.5350.8390298692
Carl Long133.033.8150.2334.3201350
Daniel Suarez233.527.5155.8953.34033483
Jeffrey Earnhardt334.033.8153.0733.6500947
William Byron135.012.6155.8667.820328329
Tony Stewart135.016.4161.0665.600218317
Reed Sorenson235.036.5155.3132.2001462
Gray Gaulding136.033.7154.1539.41000202
Greg Biffle136.023.9159.3653.43013295
Cody Ware137.036.4149.9127.0200144
Timmy Hill137.037.3148.8626.2000268
Trevor Bayne237.535.3155.3534.9300497
Brian Scott139.032.9158.2141.2000199
Joey Gase140.038.4148.9926.3000120

Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video

Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal FanDuel lineup for FanDuel according to my Projections is:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch
  • Kurt Busch
  • Erik Jones

Confidence Rating = 7.2/10. I think this FanDuel lineup gives you a solid base to work with. I also think the projections are under-valuing Joey Logano a bit this weekend, so I would probably roll with this instead: Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick. You could also replace Kevin Harvick with Kyle Busch in that second lineup if you think Rowdy has higher dominator potential than Harvick.

FanDuel “Safe” DFS Picks for Darlington (Cash Lineups)

Kyle Larson in the Hendrick Cars #5 Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway 2021
Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($13,000) – For some reason, FanDuel didn’t price up Kyle Larson this weekend and he’s the 3rd-highest-priced driver on the slate. Shew. I could see taking a strategic approach and going underweight in tournaments with Larson (since he’s going to be extremely high-owned), but with cash lineups, you have to roll with this guy. His dominator potential is just too high. In addition to being projected to score the most FanDuel points on Sunday, Larson also has the highest ceiling at 91.70 fantasy points (according to my projections). Larson had an average finish of 6.7 here at Darlington in his Chip Ganassi car, so he should definitely compete for the win with his Hendrick car.

Kurt Busch ($8,500) – It’s now been over three months since Kurt Busch has had a good finish in NASCAR Cup Series action. It’s kind of hard to believe, and it makes him a little risky in NASCAR DFS, but it’s hard to pass up top 10 upside at a $8,500 price tag on FanDuel. Kurt just fits into lineups really well on this site this weekend. The good news about Kurt’s last good finish (at Homestead) is that Goodyear is bringing the same exact tire combination to Darlington this weekend. Also, Kurt is really good here at “The Lady in Black,” with six finishes of 8th or better in his last eight starts here. At this track, we often see the drivers with more talent overcome their equipment restrictions, and that’s what I expect to happen with Kurt Busch this weekend.

FanDuel “Risky” DFS Picks for Darlington (Tournament Lineups)

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Austin Dillon ($7,800) – I fully expect plenty of people to be talking about the other Richard Childress Racing driver, Tyler Reddick ($8,000), this weekend, and while my projections do like Reddick quite a bit, I don’t mind pivoting off of him to my boy, Austin Dillon. The #3 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 9th on Sunday, which makes AD a pretty risky pick due to virtually no place differential potential, but his record here at Darlington is solid: a career average finish of 12.0, no finish worse than 22nd in nine starts, and three top 10s in his last six races here (including a 2nd last September and a 4th back in 2017). Also, Austin came home 12th at Homestead this year and 6th at Atlanta–the other two “high-wear” tracks–and is on a three-race streak of top 10s now after his 10th at Kansas last week. If Reddick hits the wall on Sunday, Dillon could easily be the pivot that is the difference in your lineup.

Ross Chastain ($5,200) – Typically it’s best to just avoid rookies at Darlington, but I guess technically Ross Chastain isn’t a rookie this season so that doesn’t really count. He actually does have three Cup Series starts under his belt here at Darlington, with finishes of 28th, 28th, and 29th while running for Premium Motorsports and Spire. Those are actually kind of respectable in my eyes. Additionally, Chastain ran here at Darlington in the Xfinity Series last year, ending up 8th in the first race and then 2nd in the fall race after leading 43 laps. The salary here of $5,200 is what is enticing with Ross Chastain. Him staying on the lead lap and finishing mid-teens–as he’s done in most races this season–allows you to easily fit in a few high-dollar drivers into your lineup and really go for the maximum FanDuel fantasy points up top. Plus, not that it really has much effect, but Chastain is driving that same #42 Chevrolet that Larson was so successful at Darlington with, plus Matt Kenseth finished 10th with it last year as well.

Darlington Goodyear 400 FanDuel Driver Projections

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverFanDuel SalaryAvg Proj PtsStarting PositionCeiling Proj PtsDollar Per Pt
Kyle Larson$13,00079.651491.70$163
Martin Truex Jr.$13,50071.45484.70$189
Denny Hamlin$14,00070.05782.20$200
Brad Keselowski$12,50067.60181.10$185
Kevin Harvick$10,50067.47279.90$156
Kyle Busch$10,20067.15378.70$152
Chase Elliott$12,00065.72676.30$183
Alex Bowman$11,00065.551974.10$168
Joey Logano$10,00064.701271.00$155
Kurt Busch$8,50063.801770.40$133
Christopher Bell$9,00060.302170.70$149
William Byron$11,50059.85579.00$192
Erik Jones$7,30059.702675.80$122
Aric Almirola$7,50058.702770.30$128
Tyler Reddick$8,00058.551072.30$137
Ryan Blaney$9,50058.551663.90$162
Austin Dillon$7,80057.25965.40$136
Ryan Newman$6,00056.452066.80$106
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$5,50056.202863.30$98
Matt DiBenedetto$8,20051.95864.80$158
Cole Custer$6,50051.102456.80$127
Chris Buescher$7,00050.201160.80$139
Ryan Preece$4,50049.352959.30$91
Bubba Wallace$5,80048.352351.80$120
Michael McDowell$6,20047.701361.80$130
Ross Chastain$5,20047.601858.30$109
Corey LaJoie$4,00045.003049.30$89
Daniel Suarez$6,70044.351558.30$151
Justin Haley$3,00043.503148.30$69
Chase Briscoe$5,00042.602257.30$117
Anthony Alfredo$4,00039.752546.80$101
J.J. Yeley$2,00039.653443.80$50
B.J. McLeod$2,00037.803239.80$53
Josh Bilicki$2,50037.203745.30$67
James Davison$2,00036.453641.80$55
Cody Ware$2,50034.703338.80$72
Quin Houff$2,50034.353539.80$73
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.