The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hit the pavement at the infamous Lady in Black, Darlington Raceway, for the Bojangles Southern 500 on Saturday night. This track is famous for the characteristic Darlington stripe a car will have by the end of the race from running so tight to the wall all night. While this week’s Fantasy NASCAR picks aren’t as wild as last week’s there is certainly some variability here.
There are a lot of solid guys you can bet on this week to take your team higher including Jimmie Johnson, who won the last race here and is dominant at this South Carolina track. Another solid pick is veteran Jeff Gordon, who has seven wins at this track but hasn’t been spectacular here in recent years.
There are many gamble picks this week that could turn into a big payoff if they pan out. This week, Denny Hamlin sits in the driver’s seat full time in the No.11 FedEx Toyota. Hamlin is a dominant force at this track and picking him may seem an easy choice; yet, he is just coming back to racing full time after a back injury kept him out of the hot seat for five weeks.
I have no doubt that Hamlin can drive to victory lane, but you can never tell how a driver will do coming back off an injury.
Another gamble pick would be Tony Stewart, a driver that people have hopefully avoided like the plague so far this season. However, this week marks the start of the summer stretch of races where Stewart usually starts to heat up.
A couple of nice value picks for this weekend are Aric Almirola, who will be looking for another top-10 to stretch his streak and rise farther in the standings, and Regan Smith, who won here two years ago.