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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Insider: Darlington Too Tough To Tame… Unless You’re Jeff Gordon

NASCAR returns to its roots this weekend for one if its most prestigious events, the Showtime Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. One active driver has dominated at the Lady in Black like no other, and that’s Jeff Gordon, a must for any fantasy roster. There’s also a top-tier driver that doesn’t perform up to their normal standards, and that’s Kurt Busch. Make sure you sit one and start the other right now.

As for everyone else, it gets a little tricky. So there’s a mix that I’ve sifted through to help give you the edge in your fantasy league this week. Without further ado, here’s the fantasy forecast for this Saturday night under the lights in Darlington…

Studs

This week, you definitely want to have Gordon and Greg Biffle on your race teams. In six of the last seven races at the Lady In Black, Biffle has finished in the top 15 and won twice. His only finish outside the top 15 was when his engine let go in a race in which he sat on the pole. Roush Fenway Racing has three drivers in the top 11 in points but has no wins and just one second place, that being Matt Kenseth at Atlanta. Look for Biffle to bring the cat in the hat his first checkered flag of 2010.

But as good as Biffle is here, Gordon owns the place. Gordon has seven career wins here and has 17 career top fives at the track, with six of those 17 having come in the last seven races. Gordon snapped a personal skid last week with a second at Richmond and looks poised for at least a top three this weekend.

Who Will Carry You

Three mid-level drivers you are gonna want to look at this weekend are AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr. The ‘Dinger’s three career runs at Darlington have gone 36th, 27th, 17th, meaning he’s figuring the place out. Add to that he has four straight top-20 finishes, and you have the makings of a top-15 run.

Admittedly things aren’t going well for Menard. After starting out with six consecutive top-20 runs he has not finished higher than 25th in the last four. His career history in Darlington isn’t great, but he did finish 15th last year, and I don’t believe his carriage has turned back into a pumpkin yet. I think he gets it back on track with a top 20.

Truex doesn’t have a lot of history here but what he has is very good. He’s never finished worse than 14th and has finished 12th or better in six of his last seven races. Don’t be surprised to see him post a top-10 run with the momentum the team has built combined with his good track record at Darlington.

Who Will Bury You

Kurt Busch just can’t seem to figure this place out. He hasn’t finished higher then 12th since 2004 and his average finish at the track Too Tough to Tame is 18th. Kurt is also in a bit of a mini slump, as over the last five events in 2010 his average finish is, you guessed it, 18th. While an 18th-place run isn’t terrible, the guy is sitting eighth in points making him awful expensive to be running outside the top 15. Avoid him this weekend.

So there you have it, your fantasy forecast for this Saturday night’s Southern 500. You can now go set your line-ups knowing you’ve got a winning team for this weekend. And Don’t forget to check out Frontstretch’s Fantasy Racing Game of Tomorrow. The results from last week have been calculated, and as soon as a glitch on the site is corrected the results will be posted. Check back next Thursday as we forecast the Autism Speaks 400 from Dover International Speedway.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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