Following Chase Elliott‘s rain-delayed victory at Dover, NASCAR makes the quick jog to South Carolina for 367 laps around the “Lady in Black.” Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS players need to know, what to expect for this weekend’s running of the Goodyear 400 at Darlington and some early NASCAR fantasy picks.
NASCAR DFS Preview: 2022 Goodyear 400
Dover International Speedway Information
- Track: Darlington Raceway
- Location: Darlington, South Carolina
- Length: 1.33-mile steeply banked oval (concrete)
- Banking: 25 degrees in turns one and two, 23 degrees in turns three and four
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 91.75 – laps led, 165.15 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 36.7 – laps led
- Past winners: Denny Hamlin (Fall 2021), Martin Truex Jr. (Spring 2021)
- Betting favorite: Kyle Larson +500 (BetMGM)
- Entry List: All 36 Chartered Teams including J.J. Yeley (15), Daniel Hemric (16) and Landon Cassill (77)
- Weather: High of 73, partly cloudy
- Watch: FOX
- Listen: MRN (MRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Saturday, May 7
- 10:30 a.m.: practice
- 11:05 a.m.: qualifying
- Sunday, May 8
- 3:00 p.m.: green flag (367 laps)
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2022 Goodyear 400 NASCAR DFS Preview
Looking Back to Dover
In the past few seasons, Dover had lost its sheen. It had become a single-groove monster that generally saw the quality of its racing determined by a late-race restart (think back to Jimmie Johnson‘s victory in 2017) or lack thereof. Since then, Dover lost its second race to Nashville, which coincidentally turned into a snooze-fest of a race itself last year, and rumors have started to fly about how long before NASCAR completely abandons the mid-Atlantic region altogether.
This past Sunday/Monday’s race put those rumors to bed as the Generation Seven car provided plenty of intrigue. Whether it was the cautions or lead changes, the action up front and throughout the field was some of the best racing that Dover has hosted in years. According to Jeff Gluck’s “Was X a good race” poll, four out of five fans believed it was.
Was Dover a good race?
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) May 3, 2022
While there were plenty of stretches where a driver was able to take a hold of the lead and sit on it for a while, the lead changes made Dover feel like it was not inevitable that if a driver took the lead no one could pass them. This is all stated because Dover should be the plumbline for Darlington this Sunday.
As far as corollaries, while Dover and Darlington may not be sister tracks, they are practically kissing cousins due to their size and banking. The major differences from this past Sunday/Monday to this Sunday will be the extra third of a mile (resulting in 33 fewer laps) and the wear and tear that tires will experience on any sort of short or long run. Pictures from Dover showed the story of a track that is tough on tires but Sunday should be another story as the old scarred venue will punish any driver who does not properly manage their tires.
All Eyes on Saturday
A lot of ink can be spilled referencing drivers and their past history at Darlington. For those curious about such metrics, be sure to check out this week’s edition of the RaceSheets where DFS players can compare the past three years’ worth of track history at Darlington against Dover from this season and last. However, adhering purely to past data can cause NASCAR Fantasy players to trip over their own feet, as Dover just showed, wherein Ross Chastain and Kyle Busch both ran extremely well despite neither having any past Dover history to boast about.
Time and time again this season has shown, despite the amount of time that NASCAR devotes to it, that practice does matter. It should matter even more this week so as to give NASCAR DFS players, bettors and NASCAR fans alike a real idea of who is managing their tire fall off the best. This will be evident in the lap times and who is losing the least amount of time from lap to lap while showing and maintaining speed doing so. Be sure to revisit the RaceSheets to thoroughly dig into this Saturday’s practice numbers because that should be the skeleton key to unlocking everyone from dominators, place differential options and even punt plays.
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