This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Steakhouse Elite 200
Location: Darlington, S.C.
Course: Darlington Raceway
Format: 1.37-mile oval
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action this week at Darlington Raceway where Chase Briscoe and Brandon Jones won last season. Jeb Burton captured his first series victory two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway, continuing his best start to a season. AJ Allmendinger will start this week's race from pole with Austin Cindric on the outside of the front row. This will be the 62nd time the Xfinity series has competed at Darlington, and the track has produced 33 different winners. Only in one race since 2005 has a driver won when starting outside of the top 10. The last time that happened was Briscoe's win last season when he started 11th. There have been seven different Xfinity race winners so far in 2021 and five of them are already locked into the playoffs. Brandon Brown currently occupies the 12th and final playoff spot with Riley Herbst 15 points behind in 13th.
Key Stats at Darlington Raceway
- Number of races: 61
- Winners from pole: 15
- Winners from top-5 starters: 38
- Winners from top-10 starters: 47
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 141.355 mph
Previous 10 Darlington Winners
2020 fall - Brandon Jones
2020 spring - Chase Briscoe
2019 - Cole Custer
2018 - Brad Keselowski
2017 - Denny Hamlin
2016 - Elliott Sadler
2015 - Denny Hamlin
2014 - Chase Elliott
2013 - Kyle Busch
2012 - Joey Logano
Darlington Raceway is an aged and rough surface that chews up tires and challenges drivers throughout their fuel runs. The different radius corners at each end of the speedway make setups a comprise, and drivers may need to run high at one end and low on the other to get the most out of their cars. The fastest line at Darlington tends to be right against the outside wall, though. Running so close to the wall opens the door to mistakes, which can ruin an otherwise promising day. Regardless of which groove is being run, drivers will have to move up and down the track to make passes or protect their position. While track position is a valuable commodity at Darlington, fresh tires will come with a bigger premium. Teams will naturally opt for four-tire stops, which will make pit strategy less of a factor than at other tracks. Due to these factors, fantasy players should expect the fastest drivers to spend significant time out front, while those at the back of the field rely on caution periods to move forward. Fantasy players can look to this season's races at Homestead and Atlanta for a preview of which drivers should be competitive this week. All three circuits are fast ovals that are extra tough on tires.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Justin Allgaier's lone 2021 win came on one of the most similar tracks to Darlington that the Xfinity Series has raced on thus far. He has been very good at Darlington in the past, too. He scored seven top-10s in 11 visits, which includes a third-place finish in this race last year. His 16th-place starting position should also give fantasy owners extra points for finish differential. Noah Gragson's hunt for a 2021 win continues this week. He has not finished lower than eighth in three series starts at this track and led 46 laps in his fifth-place finish last season. JR Motorsports' Josh Berry won at Martinsville and has top-10 finishes at both Homestead and Las Vegas. He only has one prior Darlington start in the series, which was back in 2016. He will start 24th this week and could be a contender for a top-10 finish this week given his other finishes so far this season. Harrison Burton has the eighth-place starting position and finished third at Atlanta in March. He finished in the top 10 in both Darlington races last season and hasn't finished lower than 12th this year since Homestead. Matt Jaskol will make his second series start this week. It will be his first time in the car since finishing 28th at Martinsville. He started 40th in that debut and will do so again this week, which would deliver significant finish differential points if he can replicate that finish. Similarly, Joe Graf Jr. started 36th in this race last season but finished 19th. He has the 30th starting spot for Saturday but has an average Darlington result of 21.0 from two starts.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Ty Gibbs has been tremendous in his part-time Xfinity schedule this season. With three top-fives and a win from three starts this season, he is going to be high on fantasy lists this week at Darlington. Atlanta victor Allmendinger will start on pole this week. His Atlanta win came on a track also known for old and worn pavement, which should be a sign that he could be a contender again this week. His teammate Justin Haley will start on the second row. Haley has an average finish of 11.3 from three series starts at the track, including a 10th-place finish in this race last year. Herbst finished fourth at Darlington last September. He is fighting to stay in playoff contention and has three top-10 finishes in the last four races including a sixth-place finish at Atlanta. Brown will start ninth. Last year, he started sixth and finished 13th. He is coming off of a top-10 finish two weeks ago at Talladega, too. That gives him a combination of momentum and confidence this week. Finishing out the higher-risk lineup is Timmy Hill. His best Darlington finish in the series was a 16th-place run in 2012. He has two top-15 finishes in the last four races and should be in store for another top-20 this week.