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NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Darlington Raceway | May 6-7, 2022

NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Darlington Raceway | May 6-7, 2022

By: Dustin Maybin (@CUPharmDFS)

It’s been a little while, but all three series are back this week, racing at my favorite track on the schedule, Darlington Raceway! Not only is the racing exciting, but The Mother’s Day weekend has been dubbed “Throwback Weekend” as many teams will be running paint schemes from the past. 

Darlington Raceway, also known as “The Lady in Black”, is a 1.33-mile oval with steep bankings favoring drivers who prefer to run the high groove next to the wall. It also has a unique egg-like shape with turns 1 and 2 having a wider radius than turns 3 and 4. Why is this important? The tiniest lapse of focus could cause a driver to confuse the turns and end up with a famous “Darlington stripe” or worse, out of the race. 

Another key aspect of racing at Darlington is managing tire degradation. Its abrasive surface wears tires easily, forcing drivers to try to manage them so that they can still be fast throughout a full run. Comparable tracks include Homestead-Miami, Dover, and Gateway.

Both races this week are set for 200 miles (147 laps), meaning there are a total of 100 dominator points up for grabs. Let’s take a look at some trends that may be useful in building successful DFS lineups this week!

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NASCAR DraftKings Preview

Stage 1: Dead On Tools 200 (Truck Series)

This will be just the 4th time in the past 10 years that the Truck Series has raced at Darlington. In fact, none of the previous three races have had practice or qualifying, so the lineups were set by a mathematical formula and drivers with little experience struggled.

76.7% of top 10 DraftKings scores over past 3 races at Darlington came from drivers starting 20th or better.

Furthermore, 47% of top 10 scores came from drivers starting 10th or better. Each optimal lineup featured at least 2 drivers starting in the top 10 and 3 to 4 starting in the top 20.

Drivers starting worse than 25th need to be able to gain at least 15 positions to be optimal.

Those starting worse than 30th rarely pay off for a variety of reasons, Some of the lesser-funded teams do not have the access to as many tires as the top tier teams. At a track where tire degradation is a huge issue, these teams struggle to gain significant place differential. However, surprisingly, each optimal lineup has rostered at least 1 driver from this range.

Polesitter has led at least 63 laps and had a top 2 DraftKings score in all 3 races.

Despite the lack of qualifying and a known measure of speed, polesitters have been successful at Darlington. This year, we can feel confident that the polesitter will have speed thanks to practice and qualifying. 

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Stage 2: Mahindra ROXOR 200 (Xfinity Series)

While we do have more data at Darlington for the Xfinity Series, there is quite a bit more variance observed than in the Truck Series. Similarly, there has been no practice or qualifying for the past 4 races here, which could contribute to some wrecks. Other reasons for possible carnage include inexperience and the low downforce package raced in the Xfinity Series, making the cars harder to handle.

77% of top 10 DraftKings scores from the past 10 races at Darlington have come from drivers starting 20th or better.

Furthermore, 51% of top 10 scores have come from drivers starting in the top 10. Surprisingly, however, only 36.7% of optimal lineup appearances came from this range over the past 5 races. Given the lack of practice in recent races, I believe optimal lineup appearances from the top 20 will positively regress this weekend.

Drivers starting on the front row have led at least 24 laps in each of the past 10 races

Similarly to the Truck Series, drivers starting 1st or 2nd are in prime position to lead laps and pick up dominator points. Each race has had 3 drivers leading 24 or more laps on average. 

Each of the five optimal lineups at Darlington have followed a similar construction.

Roster 1 to 2 drivers from the top 10, at least 2 drivers starting 21st to 30th, and 1 or more drivers starting worse than 30th. This allows for a better chance of nailing at least one main dominator and a strong place differential play.

Final Lap

High wear tracks can cause wrecks as less experienced drivers are unable to control their cars on worn tires. However, they can be quite predictable otherwise. Follow the trends above and prepare to tame “The Lady in Black”!

Best of luck! Don’t forget to check out the core plays, race notes, and study hub to complete your lineup preparation. If you have any questions, feel free to follow me on Twitter or hit me up in the Team Rise or Fall Discord!