2007 NASCAR Fantasy Preview: Darlington Raceway

Dodge Avenger 500

Will Hendrick Dominance End At Darlington?

This weekend we head to Darlington and another Saturday night race with the COT. So far this year Hendrick Motorsports has won all 4 COT races and Chevy has led an astounding 96.6% of the laps run in these races.

Will another owner break this streak this weekend? I’m betting not because 2 of the most consistent drivers at Darlington are Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

My Pick to Win Darlington

Out of these 2 drivers I am going to go with Jeff Gordon for the win again because he has had the best finishing average in the COT races. He has finished in the top 5 in all 4 of these races so far this year. Jimmie Johnson won both of the races at Darlington in 2004 and has finished out of the top 10 only once in his career there.

Darlington Frontrunners

Greg Biffle has won the last 2 Darlington races and has had a pretty decent Cot this season. However, it still looks like the Hendrick cars are a step ahead of everyone else. I still look for Greg to have another top 10 car here and maybe he can pull out the victory.

Denny Hamlin finished 10th in his only Cup race at the track and has had a great COT this season. He has the 4th most points in the COT races this year which is tops among non-Hendrick drivers. Tony Stewart has also had a good COT this season and would love to visit victory lane in one of them and break the Hendrick streak.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has also been close with the COT and has run well at Darlington lately. DEI like most teams need just a little more time with the COT before they can keep up with the changes they need to make to the car during the race and stay on top of their game.

Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards are in the top 10 in points in the COT races also and have been good at Darlington, just not as good as their teammate, Greg Biffle. Carl qualified 2nd at Richmond but then his car slid back after a couple of laps and he never did get the handle right on it so that he could move back towards the leaders.

Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer have had great handling COT’s this year. Kevin has come from the back of the pack to the front in a hurry in several of these Cot races just to have something break or trouble in the pits. Jeff Burton lost an engine early last week at Richmond and Clint has been steady in these cars. I believe that one of the RCR cars will break the Hendrick streak in the COT races eventually this season.

Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman have made big strides for Penske racing since the COT debuted at Bristol this spring. Kurt is a little ahead of Ryan right now but Ryan showed that he isn’t afraid to mix it up with the likes of Tony Stewart last weekend at Richmond and has a car capable of competing.

Mark Martin has struggled a bit with the COT this year but still sits 14th in the standings, only 80 points out of the 12th spot in the Chase. This after missing 3 races already this year. Mark has run well at Darlington lately but needs to get his car a lot better before he can compete for a win in a COT.

This Saturday night we will see who the track labeled Too Tough To Tame will end up visiting victory lane. The weather forecast as of this Monday morning calls for a 30% chance of rain next weekend in Darlington. I hope that the rain holds off and they can race Saturday night so everyone can spend Mother’s day with the moms in their lives.

Yahoo! Fantasy Picks

Group A

  • Jeff Gordon (starter)
  • Jimmie Johnson

Group B

  • Kurt Busch (starter)
  • Ryan Newman (starter)
  • Scott Riggs
  • Denny Hamlin

Group C

  • Jeff Green (starter)
  • Tony Raines

Dark Horse

  • Martin Truex Jr

Stay Away From

  • Elliott Sadler