Get your engines started for the Steakhouse Elite 200 DFS slate! Sean Engel provides top NASCAR Daily Fantasy Picks for Xfinity Series DraftKings lineups!
This Week’s Race Details
Time & Date of Race: Sunday, May 8th, 2021 at 1:00 PM EST
Track: Darlington Raceway
Track Details: 1.366 Mile Asphalt Oval
Banking of Turns 1 & 2: 25°
Banking of Turns 3 & 4: 23°
Banking of Front straightaway: 3°
Banking of Back straightaway: 2°
Race Length: 147 Laps/200 Miles
Last Race Details at Darlington
Date: September 5th, 2020
Race Winner: Brandon Jones
Lap Leaders (6 Total Drivers): Chase Briscoe (55), Ross Chastain (43), Denny Hamlin (31), Ryan Sieg (9), Justin Haley (7), Brandon Jones (2)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Drivers will accumulate points as follows below:
- Place Differential (How many positions a driver finishes above or below their starting position): +/- 1 Pt each
- Fastest Laps (Awarded for the driver that sets the fastest lap time on each lap): + 0.45 Pts.
- Laps Led (Awarded for each lap a driver leads the race): + 0.25 Pts.
- Finishing Position (Awarded for where a driver finishes at the end of the race):
- 1st: +45 Pts.
- 2nd: +42 Pts.
- 3rd: +41 Pts.
- 4th: +40 Pts.
- 5th: +39 Pts.
- And the amount of points earned continues decreasing until the last finishing position in the field.
DK Scoring Notes to Keep in Mind:
- A driver’s starting position is based on his qualifying position. If a driver’s qualifying position is disallowed, his starting position will be his new spot at the back of the race. If a driver’s starting position changes between qualifying and the start of the race for any other reason (Example: going to a backup car) the original qualifying position will be used to calculate place differential.
- Finishing Position is defined as the driver’s standing order at the end of the race. Disqualifications related to same-day post-race inspection will not change a driver’s Finishing Position, Laps Led, or Fastest Laps stats.
If you’re new to Elite Sports’ DFS Picks articles, here is the rundown. Every weekend for each Xfinity race if there is a full slate of NASCAR races, this article will be published including driver outlooks based on a combination of track results, loop data, and performance from this season. If there are any pre-race events including qualifying and practices, this article will be updated based on their results upon completion. If a racer performs well or poorly throughout pre-race events, this will affect their outlook and be noted as such. Otherwise, all picks listed are final.
This article will feature three groups of driver recommendations: Top-priced picks, Mid-Tier picks, and Value Sleepers. Between each of these groups, there will be 12 total drivers with their outlooks evaluated for this week’s race. These outlooks are here to help you make tough lineup calls that detail which drivers to start or park every week.
In case you want additional information to follow up on this article, I encourage you to check out the Cheat Sheet for this race and the Projections Tab. Without further delay, I present to you the picks for this week’s race, the Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Normally, Cup Series regulars are participating in the Xfinity Series most weeks, but that is different this weekend as it is the third of four Dash 4 Cash races. Therefore, most Xfinity regulars that were strong throughout 2021 will remain heavy favorites to win this week. Darlington is a track where DFS players must utilize lineup strategy similarly to 1.5-Mile Intermediate tracks, but with a different layout that is tougher for inexperienced drivers.
Saturday’s race is only 147 laps and 200 miles, so while DFS players may choose drivers with leading laps in mind, Place Differential and finishing position are more important for lineup success. A few racers in Saturday’s Xfinity race provide great PD upside due to their starting positions deep in the field. Ideally, DFS players should have a combination of favorites expected to dominate and win as well as picks with PD upside that will finish decently.
As always, the more lineups DFS players create for any NASCAR race, the greater the probability that the winning lineup will be created. Creating multiple lineups with different driver combinations is a great idea for Darlington as drivers commonly hit the wall and crash out due to the tricky track layout. Keep all of these points in mind when making lineups this week while also making note of my recommendations for this week’s Steakhouse Elite 200.
LOOP DATA AND DRIVER STATS
Here are the Top 10 drivers in the field this Saturday at Darlington in Driver Rating since 2019:
- Noah Gragson – 104.4
- Justin Allgaier – 104.2
- Austin Cindric – 99.6
- Brandon Jones – 97.6
- Harrison Burton – 94.8
- Ryan Sieg – 91.5
- Michael Annett – 86.4
- Justin Haley – 86.3
- Brett Moffitt – 82.2
- Riley Herbst – 81.1
Here are the Top 10 drivers in the field this Sunday at Kansas in Average Running Position since 2019:
- Austin Cindric – 7.3
- Noah Gragson – 7.7
- Harrison Burton – 8.7
- Justin Allgaier – 9.9
- Michael Annett – 10.5
- Brandon Jones – 10.9
- Justin Haley – 11.0
- Ryan Sieg – 11.8
- Riley Herbst – 12.5
- Brett Moffitt – 15.4
Here are the Top 10 drivers in the field this Sunday in Average Finish at Darlington since 2018:
- Noah Gragson – 6.7
- Harrison Burton – 7.5
- Brandon Jones – 10.0
- Ryan Sieg – 10.3
- Riley Herbst – 11.0
- Justin Haley – 11.3
- Justin Allgaier – 12.5
- Michael Annett – 14.0
- Gray Gaulding – 15.0
- Austin Cindric – 16.5
Here are the Top 8 drivers in the field this Sunday in Laps Led at Darlington since 2018:
- Noah Gragson – 46
- Justin Allgaier – 9
- Ryan Sieg – 9
- Justin Haley – 7
- J.J. Yeley – 3
- Brandon Jones. – 2
- Brandon Brown – 1
- Tommy Joe Martins – 1
Here are the winners of the last 10 Darlington races:
September 2020 – Brandon Jones
May 2020 – Chase Briscoe
August 2019 – Cole Custer
September 2018 – Brad Keselowski
September 2017 – Denny Hamlin
September 2016 – Elliott Sadler
September 2015 – Denny Hamlin
April 2014 – Chase Elliott.
May 2013 – Kyle Busch
May 2012 – Joey Logano
STEAKHOUSE ELITE 200 DFS NASCAR PICKS FOR DRAFTKINGS
Justin Allgaier #7 (DraftKings: $10,700) – Starting: 16th – JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier is one of the better top-priced options for Darlington. In 11 Xfinity starts at the site, Allgaier has seven top-10 finishes including four of the last five races there. Since 2019 at DR, Allgaier ranks second of active drivers in Driver Rating (104.2) and first in Fastest Laps (35). The driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet also has been showing momentum in recent Xfinity races with three top-10 finishes in the last four races this season. Allgaier is one of the more experienced drivers in the field at Darlington and has solid PD upside this week. The equipment of JR Motorsports and his overall history point Allgaier to a top-5 finish with a chance at the win this Saturday.
Brandon Jones #19 (DraftKings: $10,400) – Starting: 22nd – One of the more consistent drivers in recent Xfinity Darlington races is Brandon Jones. Jones is the most recent winner at Darlington and placed 12th or better in three of his last four starts at the site. The driver of the No. 19 Toyota also is one of only three drivers in the field to place in the Top 20 of the last four DR races. This season, Jones has four top-5 finishes and provides great PD upside for this Saturday’s race at Darlington. Look for Jones to place in the Top 10 based on equipment and recent history while competing for a top-5 finish.
Michael Annett #1 (DraftKings: $9,300) – Starting: 20th – A top-priced pick that will pay off for DFS players this Saturday is Michael Annett. In nine starts at Darlington, Annett has five top-15 finishes including two top-10 finishes in his last four races at the track. In the last five races this season, the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet has three top-10 finishes and scored positive place differential five times in 2021. Annett has decent PD upside, quality equipment from JR Motorsports, and is highly likely to place in the Top 10 based on recent momentum and recent experience at Darlington.
Josh Berry #8 (DraftKings: $9,100) – Starting: 24th – Although he does not have a lot of experience at Darlington, Josh Berry should be considered for lineups this week. In his only Xfinity start at the track, Berry placed 27th and scored positive PD. This season, the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet has three top-10 finishes in seven starts including a win at Martinsville. Despite the Darlington inexperience, Berry is in strong equipment with JR Motorsports and offers great PD upside from his starting position. Expect Berry to compete for a top-10 finish based on equipment and strong runs displayed in 2021.
Harrison Burton #20 (DraftKings: $8,500) – Starting 8th – Harrison Burton is one of the most favorable mid-tier options for Darlington. In two starts at the site in the Xfinity Series, Burton has two top-10 finishes while scoring positive PD once. Out of active drivers since 2019 at DR, the driver of the No. 20 Toyota ranks third in Average Running Position (8.7), second in percentage of Laps in the Top 15 (98.3%), and fifth in Driver Rating (94.8). Burton starts eighth this week and historically runs well at Darlington especially with his strong equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing. As a result, Burton will compete for a top-5 finish and should be considered for lineups.
Brandon Gdovic #26 (DraftKings: $8,000) – Starting: 27th – Brandon Gdovic is making his first Xfinity Series start at Darlington, but is one of the better picks for this Saturday. In two Xfinity Series starts this season, Gdovic has two top-20 finishes with positive PD including a top-10 at Daytona. The driver of the No. 26 has picked up positive PD in every start to date for his current team (Sam Hunt Racing) and provides great PD upside based on his starting position at Darlington this week.
Myatt Snider #2 (DraftKings: $7,500) – Starting: 10th – A mid-tier pick that will finish better than most around his price range this week is Myatt Snider. In his last start at Darlington, Snider scored a finish of 10th with RSS Racing. This season, Snider has better equipment with Richard Childress Racing and placed in the Top 15 in every race but one while gaining a win at Homestead. With better equipment that usually performs great at Darlington, Snider will compete for a top-5 finish, especially with strong results throughout 2021.
Alex Labbe #36 (DraftKings: $7,100) – Starting: 23rd – A racer that delivers favorable results consistently at Darlington is Alex Labbe. In four starts at the site, Labbe has four top-20 finishes while procuring positive PD twice. This season, the driver of the No. 36 Chevrolet has four finishes of 22nd or better while placing in the Top 20 twice at 1.5-Mile Intermediate tracks. Labbe has adequate PD upside based on his starting position this Saturday and has a high chance of placing in the Top 20 based on equipment and history at Darlington.
Ryan Vargas #6 (DraftKings: $6,400) – Starting: 34th – Ryan Vargas is a bargain value that DFS players should consider for Darlington. In his only start at Darlington in 2020, the driver of the No. 6 Chevrolet captured positive PD and finished 25th. In 2021, Vargas has three top-25 finishes while taking positive PD in five different Xfinity events. This week, Vargas has fantastic PD upside due to his starting position and is capable of a top-25 finish based on his equipment and performance in 2021.
Joe Graf Jr. #07 (DraftKings: $5,900) – Starting: 30th – DFS players must greatly consider Joe Graf Jr. as one of the ideal value sleepers of the week. In two starts at Darlington, Graf obtained positive PD and placed 23rd or better with his best finish being 19th in 2020. So far this season, Graf has four top-25 finishes while receiving positive PD three times in Xfinity events. The driver of the No. 07 Chevrolet has great PD upside for Darlington based on his start position and runs solidly at the site. Expect another strong run for Graf this Saturday.
Josh Williams #92 (DraftKings: $5,600) – Starting: 21st – A strong value pick for this week’s race at Darlington is Josh Williams. Williams has two finishes at the site of 16th or better and has positive PD in two of his last three races there. The driver of the No. 92 Chevrolet has four top-20 finishes this season while scoring positive PD three times in Xfinity events. The starting position of Williams this week offers adequate PD upside while his equipment and previous results indicate that he will compete for a top-15 finish. Consider Williams as one of the first drivers to choose around this price range in all DFS lineups.
Jesse Little #78 (DraftKings: $5,200) – Starting: 31st – DFS players looking for cap flexibility this week should consider Jesse Little this week at Darlington. Little’s best finish in two starts at the South Carolina track is 18th and he has three top-25 finishes so far this season. The driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet attained positive PD four times in 2021 and his starting position puts forward strong PD upside for Saturday’s race. Little’s equipment points to a finish in the Top 30 with a high chance of placing in the Top 25 at Darlington.
CORE 4 PICKS TO WIN
- Austin Cindric
- Noah Gragson
- Justin Allgaier
- A.J. Allmendinger
To keep up with my latest NASCAR content and other updates, follow me on Twitter, @SeanE247.