Toyota 500 Race Details:
Track: Darlington Raceway
Type: 1.366 mile “oval”
Time: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – 6:00 pm EST
Twice in one week….I hope you all don’t get sick of me! 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 Toyota 500 (that’s kilometres….not miles). No practice or qualifying under these race conditions, so the start positions were determined by NASCAR with the top 20 from Sunday’s race starting in revers order, and the rest of the field starting how they finished.
“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.
Since we raced here on Sunday night, we now know how these drivers feel on this track, and what to look for. We know which teams have good setups for Darlington. This being a 500 km race does change things. We don’t have as many laps to count on for this race. that makes this more of a place differential race than a dominator race. We can still look for that dominator, but PD will be more important. I think there’s a good Cash Core this week too.
Keep an eye on the weather. If they race on Wednesday and it looks like they get over 125 laps in, they could call this an official race. They’ve already moved the race time up, so consider it, but don’t let impact your decisions too much.
These are your higher price drivers. Depending on the race, and where they are starting they are more than likely chalk. Cash picks will be underlined!
For the Toyota 500 with the starting spots set how they are, we really will have to take advantage of the top drivers in low starting spots. Kevin Harvick has had a ridiculously fast car so far this NASCAR season. He’ll be starting in 20th place and it would not surprise me to see him come from there and win this race just like he did on Sunday. He’s got a top 5 finish in him at a minimum. We should also look at Kyle Busch starting in 26th. He has a great chance to get us some huge place differential in this race. Denny Hamlin starting 16th is in a similar boat, but I like the other two a little more.
There’s the other side of the coin her with Joey Logano. He’s starting 3rd, and could very well jump past Preece and Ty Dillon early to take the lead and dominate some of the early laps. I think Brad Keselowski is also interesting for similar reasons, but if you’re playing only a couple of line ups, I’d avoid him.
8-12k drivers on FD / 7-10k drivers on DK. These drivers have top 5 potential, and will often see some decent ownership. Cash picks will be underlined!
I called out Alex Bowman here on Sunday’s race, and I’ll do it here again. Great starting position for us at 19th and he has been driving really fast. I like him a little better than Martin Truex Jr (15) and Chase Elliott (17) in this race, but I think any of those 3 drivers can do the same thing for us.
When you look a little lower in the range, you have to consider Jimmie Johnson. JJ was driving really fast to start the race, and looked like he was going to win the first stage before he wrecked. That puts him starting at 37th and makes him a huge opportunity for us to get the maximum amount of PD. in this same tier, we have William Byron starting 34th. Byron won that stage, meaning his car was quick as well. Kurt Busch has a really quick car setup and showed it on Sunday, finishing 3rd. He should be able to move up from 18th like the rest of the drivers in this starting range.
A big contrarian pick that I like here is Clint Bowyer. He’s a skilled driver who has a good car, and it won’t surprise me to see him follow Logano right to the front and could jockey for some dominator laps in the Toyota 500.
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. Cash picks will be underlined!
I love Tyler Reddick in this race. He was up front in the middle of the race on Sunday before he had a pit penalty. He then preceded to move his way back up and finished 7th. Since he’s starting 14th, and I think he has top 5 speed, I’m going to have a few shares.
I’m always a fan of Chris Buescher when he’s starting further back in the pack. He’s gonna be starting in the 32 spot in the Toyota 500 which is perfect to get some cheap PD out of him.
One of the big names this weekend is going to be Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He crashed at the beginning of the race last week, not even completing the first lap. That does put him in the very back of this pack. He’s going to be popular and I’m hearing his name a lot in cash, and I don’t disagree with it!
I was surprised at how well Matt Kenseth drove on Sunday considering he hadn’t even driven a car in this package before that race started. He’s not going to give us much for PD, but his price isn’t bad if you want to be contrarian.
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. Do not use in cash!
This race is a tough one for punts. I think I will recommend Corey Lajoie. He has a decent team, and was my go to punt quite often last season. He’s raced more times here than the other drivers in this price range. This is a DK only play. If you’re fishing down here on FD, reconsider your lineups for the Toyota 500
Good luck and have fun, but remember that NASCAR is an extremely volatile sport. Never go a full 100% on any driver.