The Real Heroes 400 Race Details:
Track: Darlington Raceway
Type: 1.366 mile “oval”
Time: Sunday, May 17, 2020 – 3:30 pm EST
Man is it good to be back! I’ve missed writing about this stuff! I know that we’ve taken some time off for everyone to make sure they don’t have COVID-19, but now we’re back to racing! We have the brand new DraftKings NASCAR Control Tower & FanDuel NASCAR Control Tower putting tons of stats, projections, and proprietary grades in everyone’s hands. When I’m talking about grade ranks, note that I’m not talking about finishing position. We also have a NASCAR DraftKings Optimizer & NASCAR FanDuel Optimizer that will be a huge help with all of the MME this season.
And lets be real about this – NASCAR is an MME sport. It’s a lot easier to win money when you play that way. We should be looking to max enter contests and making the most of those entries. I know not everyone can or will play MME, so below I give you the plays I like best every week. This week we make our way to Darlington Raceway for The Real Heroes 400. No practice or qualifying under these race conditions, so the start positions were determined by NASCAR though a draw.
The Real Heroes 400
“The Lady in Black” as many drivers refer to Darlington Raceway is one of the more interesting tracks in the Monster Energy circuit. Every turn on this track is at a different banking angle. It makes it difficult to have an ideal setup. I know that a lot of us are excited about NASCAR being back, and may remember that I recommend playing this race a little light. I’m recommending that you may want to play a little bit heavier this week because there will be a lot of new NASCAR fans to take advantage of.
The important thing to remember is that these guys have not driven these race cars on this track so far this season. Fortunately this is only the first race we have it Darlington this week. While I don’t think anyone will be a lock in this race, I do think there are drivers that we can still target.
Since we only had a couple of races to start the season I don’t have much for data on how the drivers are running currently, especially with the long layoff. Without practice or qualifying, it’s hard to know which guys are driving faster. What we do have is a lot of track history and I’ll be combining that with how the drivers have been racing this season so far. I’ll also look at how they drove down the stretch last season. Essentially what this means for us is that we will have a difficult time with a core. Our “core” will have to be a little more spread out and you may wanna have bits and pieces of almost the whole field depending on how many lineups you play.
These are your higher price drivers. Depending on the race, and where they are starting they are more than likely chalk.
For The Real Heroes 400 the top 10 drivers will be starting the top 10 positions. Brad Keselowski will be on the pole and I think that either he or Alex Bowman (2nd – and I’ll talk more about him later) have the best shot at leading a bunch of laps to start this race. You really have to like Joey Logano in this race is well considering he’s won 2 of the 4 races so far this season.
Kevin Harvick is the only driver to finish every race in the top 10 this season. He also has 8 top 10 finishes in his last 10 races here and being in the first put stall is gonna benefit him later in this race. Denny Hamlin also has a good track history here with 2 wins, 6 top fives and 8 top tens in his last 10 races.
I can’t really say anything bad about Kyle Busch either. He doesn’t have a win here in his last 10 races but he does have 8 top tens. He’s also the reigning champion for the Monster Energy series.
8-12k drivers on FD / 7-10k drivers on DK. These drivers have top 5 potential, and will often see some decent ownership.
So are already mentioned him earlier, but Alex Bowman starting second is in a good spot to lead some early laps. He’s had a couple of issues in races this season, but I think he still has a good chance at leading some laps. Another driver that I love in this price range is Chase Elliott. Elliot will be starting just outside the top 10 at the 11 spot. He’s easily had one of the best cars this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he made his way up to the front early in this race as well and let some laps.
Kurt Busch, with his poor draw of a 22nd start position, is one of the few drivers that I like who may be able to give us some position differential in this race. Erik Jones is another driver who gives us some good position differential in this race will be starting in the 20th position. Jones won this race last year and has 3 top 10 finishes in 3 races at Darlington. Could he pull off a win at The Real Heroes 400?
I definitely have some drivers that I’ll play a little light on. Matt DiBenedetto and Aric Almirola are starting a little bit high for my liking. Both of them have had really good races so far this season. I just don’t know what to expect from them with no practice this week. Their starting position makes them almost unplayable.
Your low – mid tier priced players on both sites. These guys more than likely won’t win the race, but here we will target drivers who will get us points through Position Differential.
Let’s take care of the elephant in the room first. This is Ryan Newman‘s first race back since that horrific crash in Daytona. He’ll be starting this race in 21st and I would not surprise me at all the see him finish top 10. Newman finish really strong last year it was racing great in Daytona. I can understand people being gun shy about playing him (shell shock) but you’ll also have people playing him for the comeback narrative. It won’t surprise me if he has some of the highest ownership in this price range.
Chris Buescher is a driver I used to use a lot last season, especially when he started further back. He’s going to be starting 24th which is far back enough for me. Check out how he’s driven in the first 4 races. He hasn’t finished lower than 17th. Another driver who has been racing pretty well in this price range is Tyler Reddick. Reddick has 2 top 20 finishes and could have had a top 10 at Phoenix. Not a bad start for the rookie!
I think the price of Ty Dillon makes him very playable in this race. That along with his 33rd start position makes him easily a driver to give us some position deferential. A driver they’ll consider only on DraftKings in this price range is Daniel Suarez. He has shown flashes of speed here in the past and I think he’s a good very low price driver starting 37th.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see decent ownership of Matt Kenseth. One thing I know about NASCAR fans is that they are quite nostalgic. Kansas hasn’t raised since halfway through the 2018 season. I know he can still drive but his starting position (12th) having never driven with this package is really throwing me off of him. I’ll have a share or two.
The Yellow Flags
These are your deep punts – use with caution! They will help you fit the high priced drivers, but may not do much more. Minimize their use in your lineups.
I have one name here, and it’s for DraftKings only. Michael McDowell. McDowell races well at steep tracks and he’s driving a lot better than some of the other guys at his price range. He could be a great value play for The Real Heroes 400.
Good luck this week and have fun, but remember that NASCAR is an extremely volatile sport. Never go a full 100% on any driver.