It’s Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, and many of cars that will be on the track for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 are sporting paint schemes that pay tribute to drivers of the past.
The race itself, the 12th NASCAR Cup Series event of the season, will be contested over 293 laps (400.2 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 90 and 185 laps. Martin Truex Jr. is defending the title.
Odds Say the Eventual Winner Will Come from the Top 10 Starting Spots
Darlington is a track-position speedway. It is not easy to pass, especially with two fast cars.
That helps explain why 15 of the last 21 Darlington winners have come from the top 10 spots on the starting grid. During that span, only one time has the winner come from outside the top 20 (Regan Smith from 23rd in 2011). Speed in qualifying does not guarantee consistent performance over long green-flag runs, but it is nice to know that cars can run fast.
For the record, the top 10 qualifiers for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 are Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, William Byron and Tyler Reddick.
We like Chastain, the eighth-placer in this group. The driver of No. The driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet finished in the top 3 six times with two wins.
Chastain is nicely priced at +1200 to win via DraftKings Sportsbook, and we also think a top-three bet at +300 is viable, given his recent history.
Note: We recommend that you avoid Chase Elliott or Kevin Harvick based on these stats. Because of Saturday’s accidents, both are at the back of the field and will not be able to qualify for qualifying runs. Elliott will be driving in the backup car.
Joey Logano needs a major turnaround. Joey Logano, a Team Penske driver, hasn’t won any NASCAR Cup Series races in over a year. In his last two races, he crashed at Talladega and suffered through a miserable 29th-place run at the Monster Mile.
Understandably, Logano was justifiably elated when he ran the fastest lap and won the pole for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington. But will he be able to maintain his position at the front?
We fired up the truck pretty well, and it continued to run throughout the race, making this car “probably the best” so far in the year,” Logano stated.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good enough to win. Given Logano’s recent performance issues, we’d like to see longer odds than the +800 offered on DraftKings Sportsbook. He is a very risky choice at this number.
One further note: only once since 1997 has a Cup driver won at Darlington from the pole (Kevin Harvick in 2014).
Third-Place Starter Christopher Bell Offers an Attractive Alternative
You can’t ignore race favorite Kyle Larson (+500 via DraftKings), who starts from the front row next to pole winner Joey Logano.
But Christopher Bell, a dirt track ace is also viable. Bell will start in the third position and Bell’s clay track skills can be applied to Darlington asphalt.
After a horrendous first five races this season, the Baby-Faced Assassin has climbed from 29th to 10th in the Cup standings, thanks to four top 10s in the last six events.
Bell has been consistent in his speed throughout the year. However, his results have not always taken into account his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. His first two Cup poles were won this season. He has a 9.6 average start position.
Given his favorable +1600 price via DraftKings, we recommend betting on Bell across the board–to win, to run top-three (+450) and top-five (+250).
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How to Watch Goodyear 400
Goodyear 400 Information Race Goodyear 400 NASCAR Cup Series race Location Darlington Raceway Time Sunday, May 8, 3: 30 p.m. ET How to Watch FS1