After a two-week hiatus, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back, as drivers are set to compete in Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
The annual throwback event is one of the most hyped races on the NASCAR calendar, and for good reason. In addition to the eye-popping throwback paint schemes, fans usually are treated to some action-packed racing on the 1.36-mile track. But because things can get crazy, Darlington usually makes life difficult for fantasy owners.
But that’s where we come in.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Saturday’s race at Darlington:
Must pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Truex had a tough race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 19, but we expect the Cup points leader to get back on track.
The Furniture Row Racing driver won this race last season, and has finished in the top 15 in nine of his 11 starts at Darlington. With the fantasy season in the homestretch, you’d be foolish to not have the sport’s best driver in your lineup.
Stay away: Clint Bowyer
I’ts been a great season for Bowyer, but we think there are better B-List options this week.
Bowyer has finished in the top 10 only once in 11 races at Darlington, and that came back in 2007. It’s not that he doesn’t race well here, it’s just that oftentimes he’s merely average. With so much on the line, you need more of a sure bet in your lineup.
Sleeper pick: Jamie McMurray
Speaking of sure bets, McMurray is a model of consistency at Darlington.
In 10 races at the track, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has finished in the top 16 on eight occasions, four of which came in successive races at “The Track Too Tough To Tame.” Honestly, a B-List tandem of McMurray and fellow CGR driver Kyle Larson might be the safest way to go for this race.
Value pick: Erik Jones
Jones put on his finest performance of the season at Bristol, and we expect him to carry the momentum into Darlington.
The rookie sensation is in the midst of his hottest stretch of the season, as he’s finished in the top 10 in four straight races. If you only have one start left and want to save Jones for next weekend’s regular season finale, then go with Daniel Suarez. Otherwise, ride the best C-List option in the sport.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images