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Fantasy NASCAR Victory Lane Review: Goodyear 400 at Darlington

Every week following the most recent NASCAR Cup Series race, we will review the previous event for top takeaways, featuring the projections and predictions of the RotoBaller staff. Anchored by the 2023 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Racing Writer of the Year and well-regarded NASCAR DFS wizard Jordan McAbee, the RotoBaller NASCAR Season Pass includes everything you need to climb the tournament ladders, prevail in cash games, and cash out in wagers every week.

I will look back at Jordan’s pre-race forecasts and also loop in the analysis of our other top NASCAR experts in a post-race breakdown of what was learned and can be utilized successfully going forward on DraftKings and FanDuel. Recent trends will be identified and we will highlight where Jordan and the NASCAR team succeeded in their predictive endeavors.

For access to the full suite of content from Jordan and the crew and our deluxe garage of tools that can help you win big in both DFS and NASCAR betting, strap in with the RotoBaller NASCAR Season Pass. Included in the setup are our lineup optimizer, research station, cheat sheets, VIP chats, and much more. Enter promo code KING at checkout for an additional discount.

Featured Promo: Get any DFS Premium Bundle for for 30% off using code SUMMER! Win more with expert advice from proven winners and exclusive DFS tools. Get instant access to RotoBaller's Lineup Optimizers, Research Stations, daily picks and VIP chat rooms across 10 sports! Go Premium, Win More!

Algorithm Rhythms

Jordan McAbee’s established and successful algorithm for projected finishes is a central feature of RotoBaller’s NASCAR coverage for DFS participants. A recipe of key statistics are cooked in the algorithm formula, including the most recent results and overall trends, specific track data points, similar track performances, forecasted strength of the cars, practice performances, starting positions, and other notable factors.

The algorithm generates a "Power Index" number for every driver to envision which cars will have the top speeds during a race. All drivers are ranked by their Power Index indicator to produce a predicted finishing order.

The algorithm has been on a strong three-week run. At Dover, the formula correctly pinpointed eight drivers to place in the top 10, including two exact finishes and three within three spots of their actual finishes. At Kansas, the algorithm nailed six of the top eight finishers and projected Kyle Larson to place second. He won in the closest finish in Cup Series history. Four of the top five finishers placed within one to two spots of their forecasted final positions.

At Darlington Raceway, the prognostications veered very close to the final results again.

  • Denny Hamlin – predicted to finish fourth and finished fourth.
  • Tyler Reddick – predicted to finish second, led the most laps (174), and won the second stage.
  • William Byron – Predicted to finish third, finished sixth.
  • Bubba Wallace – Predicted to finish seventh and finished seventh.  
  • Chase Elliott – Predicted ninth, finished 12th.
  • Ross Chastain – Predicted 10th, finished 11th.

Overall, four of the drivers who finished in the top eight were projected to do so by the algorithm and the total would have been five if not for Reddick’s late collision with Chris Buescher.


Keselowski Finally Comes Through

Entering last Sunday’s race at Darlington, Brad Keselowski was looking like NASCAR’s version of the Denver Broncos, who were champions not too long ago but have fallen on harder times in recent seasons. The former Cup champion was on a 110-race winless streak before the Goodyear 400.

Keselowski revisited Victory Lane after the long layoff due to the Buescher/Reddick mishap. It was his first win as the principal owner of RFK Racing, as he was able to take over the lead on the 285th lap of the event.

RotoBaller’s Justin Carter, who covers every NASCAR series in his weekly race previews, tabbed Keselowski as one of his prime picks for the Goodyear 400. He was right on point, actually suggesting Reddick might eventually give way to the driver of the No. 6 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.

“While Reddick is the more likely driver to dominate early, I wouldn't count Brad Keselowski out. He has run well at Darlington in this new NASCAR generation, going 3-for-4 in terms of getting top 10s. He was also strong at Darlington before 2022, including earning a victory at the site in 2018 for Roger Penske's team.”

“Sunday might be the best chance in a while for Keselowski to break his long losing streak. His last Cup Series win came in 2021.”

Keselowski had the highest Driver Rating at Darlington (127.5). He was first in Average Position (2.6) and led the second-most laps (37). The 40-year-old also ended a 33-race winless streak for the Ford manufacturer across all three NASCAR series.


Social Media Spotlight

It is indeed impressive how Jordan McAbee can come so close on many of his predictions and projections. But sometimes, the results can inflict a bit of pain.

From betting perspectives, Jordan also knows when and how to pick his spots to go in on the field aggressively or not. Even after a week with less than optimal results, the overall results are still solid.


Berry Nice

Carter also recommended Josh Berry as a very good Place Differential target. He started from the 33rdspot on the grid.

“Berry has yet to record a top 10 this season, but he's on a three-race span of top 20s, including two consecutive finishes in the top 15. It might not sound impressive, but with Berry starting in 33rd, a finish of 15th would be great for fantasy because of Place Differential.”

The rookie delivered an even better finish than projected, placing third and scoring 73.25 points on DraftKings.


Forecast of the Week

Justin Haley at $5,300 on DraftKings: “We're going to need to dip down into the low-dollar barrel this weekend since Noah Gragson is so chalky (and because the high-priced drivers are the most likely to dominate). Justin Haley may end up being the highest-owned of the low-dollar DraftKings drivers this weekend, but he's the best option, in my opinion.”

“This Rick Ware Racing team is grinding out good finishes on intermediate tracks this year (18th at Kansas, 23rd at Dover, and 24th at Texas) and Haley has actually been solid at Darlington in the Next Gen car, with an average result of 13.5 over the four races.” – McAbee recommended Haley as one of his top DFS Tournament plays last Sunday. The No. 51 driver started 28th and finished ninth.


Around the Track

-Is Wallace ready to surge? McAbee’s post-race driver news update on him seems to indicate good times might be ahead: “Heading into the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway this past weekend, Bubba Wallace was in need of a good run. The previous three races of the season all ended with the No. 23 Toyota outside of the top 15, and the 23XI Racing driver had just two top-10 results in the previous ten races.”

“A seventh-place run at Darlington is exactly what the doctor ordered for Bubba Wallace. Wallace was eighth-best in Average Running Position. Still, Bubba now sits six points below the cutline for this year's playoffs. When asked about that following the Darlington race, he replied, ‘This is where we lit the wick last year, at this point in the season, so it's time to do it again.’”  

-Driver news writer Sean Engel, a 13-time DFS tournament winner, eyed Chase Briscoe as one of his preferred plays, and those who followed the advice were rewarded with a fifth-place finish. – Chase Briscoe will start 13th. This will be the third time Briscoe will start in the Top 15 at Darlington, and the fifth time this season he will start outside of the Top 10. In six starts at DR, Briscoe has five top-20 finishes, gained positive Place Differential three times, and recorded a best finish of 11th.”

“Through 12 races completed this season, Briscoe has seven top-15 finishes, including three of the last five Cup events. In practice, Briscoe displayed plenty of speed in the long run. He can quietly compete for a top-10 finish based on practice speeds. The driver of the No. 14 Ford best suited as a tournament play that could pay off, especially with Darlington being a track where passing is difficult.”

NASCAR DFS News and Driver Outlooks

More Fantasy NASCAR Analysis

The Keys to Weekly NASCAR DFS Success

NASCAR is back, and it's time for you to win more with RotoBaller!
Our DFS NASCAR Premium Package features several heavy hitters and proven winners.

Jordan McAbee anchors the team with his exclusive NASCAR picks, DFS projections and algorithm-predicted finishing order! In 2022 DFS contests, Jordan had a +33.92% profit margin good for +$10,467.06 profit and qualified for the Fantasy Racing World Championship.

Four-time NASCAR Racing Writer of the Year finalist and fantasy industry legend Scott "The King" Engel is also in the crew, bringing you his weekly strategies and lineup picks. Set your winning DFS lineups with our award-winning team.


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