And just like that, we’re back into the swing of things. The race at Darlington on Sunday was a pretty solid event, all things considered, and even though Kevin Harvick dominated most of it, the racing was pretty solid. Now we’re heading back to Darlington for another race on Wednesday night…maybe. The weather doesn’t look promising so make sure you keep an eye on that. We may be racing on Thursday or Friday. Still, we’re racing at the exact same track and now have a very good idea of what to expect and who will be fast (hint: it’s the same teams that were fast before the COVID shutdown).
Ryan Preece is starting up front for the Toyota 500(k) at Darlington with Ty Dillon alongside. The way this starting lineup was set was by the results from last Sunday. Positions 21st through the rest of the field start where they finished in that race, while the top 20 finishers are inverted (so Preece, who finished 20th, starts 1st, etc.). You can click here for the full starting lineup.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Darlington Wednesday Night
Kevin Harvick ($13,000) – Immediately after Sunday’s race at Darlington, Kevin Harvick was made the favorite by oddsmakers across the country to get another win here on Wednesday night–and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be the top dog. The #4 Ford had the top green flag speed in Sunday’s race while Harvick grabbed 32.6% of the fastest laps in the race and also led over 50% of the 293. Because of his win, Harvick will have to start 20th for the Toyota 500(k) but that just makes him an even better fantasy pick in a game like the Slingshot Auto Contest. If you’re looking to play contrarian, though, Harvick will probably be the highest-owned driver for this race, so there’s some strategy to consider if you’d like to take a risk (more on that in the “Alternate Roster Considerations” section below).
Alex Bowman ($11,800) – Yeah, I’m all about picking the fastest cars in the early part of the season. Each year we see certain NASCAR organizations get a bit of a head start on the competition, and it’s clear this season that the Hendrick cars have that advantage. Alex Bowman has emerged as the top Fantasy NASCAR pick on old, worn-out race tracks, and he’s starting 19th for Wednesday night’s race. In other words, a lot of room for place differential points. The #88 Chevrolet has arguably been the fastest car through the first five races of 2020 and Bowman grabbed 20.3% of the fastest laps at Darlington yesterday and was the only car even somewhat close to Harvick’s realm.
Kurt Busch ($11,100) – The top 3 finishers on Sunday were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, and Kurt Busch. So I’m going with Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, and Kurt Busch on Wednesday night, too. Obviously there’s other strategy moves you could go with in this roster spot, namely Jimmie Johnson ($10,800) and William Byron ($10,700) who start back in the mid-30s and have a higher ceiling of place differential points, but, don’t forget that Stage points come into play here, too, and someone like Kurt Busch has a much greater chance of getting those than Jimmie Johnson or William Byron. Not to mention, this race on Wednesday night is shorter, with the first Stage only being 60 laps and the second Stage being 65 laps. Looking at green flag speed from Sunday, Kurt ranked 5th-fastest.
Tyler Reddick ($8,000) – This might be my favorite play of the season thus far in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. With guys like Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($8,100) and Chris Buescher ($8,800) starting outside of the top 30, they are bound to garner a much higher ownership than someone like Tyler Reddick because of the place differential potential. Which I get, trust me. But not only does Reddick start 14th, which gives him a little bit of place differential upside, but he also probably had a legitimate top 5 car here on Sunday (his green flag speed was 6th-fastest) and probably would have finishes there if not for that uncontrolled tire penalty. I love this pivot play in Slingshot to Reddick over someone like Stenhouse or Buescher. Finish points matter too in this game–don’t get too caught up in the place differential.
Corey LaJoie ($6,100) – This is just a relatively safe play in my book with Corey LaJoie to fill out the lineup. He starts 31st and shouldn’t finish worse than that unless he wrecks. Best case scenario, he’ll end up around 26th or 28th. On Sunday, LaJoie had the 29th-fastest green flag speed. Of the drivers remaining with the cap space, LaJoie is the safest option. With the others down in this price range, you’d just be hoping for a lot of wrecks so they move up and get those place differential points.
Alternate Roster Considerations
There are many strategies you can take with your Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest roster this weekend, which makes this a really fun race to play. I can’t argue against anyone wanting to take the Hendrick teammates of Jimmie Johnson ($10,800) and William Byron ($10,700) since they both showed top 5 potential on Sunday and they start back in 37th and 34th, respectively, on Wednesday night. If they are able to have that kind of speed again on Wednesday night, and finish up front, they’ll easily be the highest-scoring drivers in this game. My biggest problem with those two was I couldn’t get a roster I loved that included both of them plus Tyler Reddick. To me, Reddick is non-negotiable.
As far as Kevin Harvick goes, because of his domination on Sunday, I do think he’s going to be one of the highest-owned drivers in this game on Wednesday night. If you’re looking to pivot off of him in the hopes of capitalizing if he has issues or wrecks, the no-brainer pick is Kyle Busch ($12,900) who starts 26th but could easily finish top 5. If you’re looking for an even more strategic choice, though, Denny Hamlin ($12,400) starts 16th but had the 3rd-best green flag speed here on Sunday. He’ll probably be lower owned in this game than he should be.
Again, there’s a whole slew of strategies you could go with when it comes to your Slingshot roster this week. Have fun and good luck! Make sure you get those picks in.