The Setup – Toyota 500
By Tyler Miller

The NASCAR Cup series will race at Darlington Raceway for the second time in under a week as the Toyota 500 is scheduled for Wednesday night at 6pm eastern. The top 20 finishers from Sunday will be inverted to start on Wednesday night (20th on Sunday starts 1st Wednesday night, 1st on Sunday starts 20th and so on). Positions 21-39 will start from their finishing positions on Sunday. Weather may be a factor in this race, but remember that whenever the race is run, lineup lock will remain at 6pm eastern on Wednesday.

Since there is no practice or qualifying for this race, this article will serve as a combination of “The Setup” and “Victory Lane.”

Race Distance: 228 laps (311.4 miles/500 kilometers). Modified Competition Caution will likely take place on lap 30, but I have not seen that confirmed. Stage 1 ends on lap 60, Stage 2 ends on lap 125.
Lineup Lock 6:00 pm eastern Wednesday

Sunday’s Winner Kevin Harvick (Started 6th)
Sunday’s Pole Sitter Brad Keselowski (Finished 13th)
2019 Winner Erik Jones (Started 15th)
2019 Pole Sitter William Byron (Finished 21st)

Past Winners: (Starting Position)
2018: Brad Keselowski (13th)
2017: Denny Hamlin (9th)
2016: Martin Truex Jr. (8th)
2015: Carl Edwards (13th)

Sunday Recap
What went right?

The race on Sunday went well, particularly on Fan Duel where we didn’t miss out on a huge day from Kevin Harvick like we did on DK (due to scoring differences for laps led and fastest laps run). My core lineup of Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. performed well (scoring 8th, 9th, and 7th on Fan Duel respectively). I rounded out my lineup with Ty Dillon and Kurt Busch, scoring 340 points on Fan Duel and cashing in every contest I entered. I was happy with my predictions for how people would run, who was risky, and who was safe.

What went wrong?
I used Kurt Busch on Sunday but I did not write him up. I realized Kurt was a good play based upon a discussion in discord when a subscriber was high on using him. I should have been high on Kurt from the beginning, he ended up scoring the second most points on Fan Duel behind Kevin Harvick. I missed out on Harvick’s dominating day which killed me on Draft Kings because the spread from Harvick to everybody else was so large (159 laps led, 77 fastest laps). My Draft Kings lineup overall produced mixed results. I played Hamlin, Jones, Truex, Newman, Ty Dillon, and Daniel Suarez which scored 258.5.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via Penn National Gaming)
Kevin Harvick surpassed Kyle Busch as the favorite for Wednesday. Big drops from Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney (Blaney is off the sheet at 25-1). Nice jump by Alex Bowman to 9-1 from 12-1 on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick 7-2
Kyle Busch 7-1
Brad Keselowski 15-2
Denny Hamlin 8-1
Martin Truex Jr. 17-2
Joey Logano 9-1
Chase Elliott 9-1
Alex Bowman 9-1
Kurt Busch 14-1
William Byron 20-1
Erik Jones 20-1

Driver Ratings Darlington:
1. Erik Jones 107.4
2. Denny Hamlin 106.6
3. Kyle Busch 103.7
4. Kevin Harvick 103.6
5. Brad Keselowski 100.4
6. Martin Truex Jr. 98.5
7. Jimmie Johnson 96.4
8. Tyler Reddick 94.7
9. Matt Kenseth 90.5
10. Kurt Busch 89.7
11. Ryan Newman 89.1
12. Joey Logano 88.7
13. Chase Elliott 86.6
14. Austin Dillon 77.0
15. William Byron 76.9

Average Running Position:
1. Denny Hamlin 8.063
2. Erik Jones 8.141
3. Kyle Busch 9.115
4. Brad Keselowski 10.540
5. Kevin Harvick 11.072
6. Martin Truex Jr. 11.432
7. Kurt Busch 12.823
8. Joey Logano 12.964
9. Ryan Newman 12.989
10. Tyler Reddick 13.171
11. Chase Elliott 13.281
12. Jimmie Johnson 13.479
13. Matt Kenseth 14.414
14. William Byron 15.596
15. Austin Dillon 16.657

Laps Led
1. Kevin Harvick 726 (12.5% of laps run)
2. Kyle Busch 716 (12.3)
3. Denny Hamlin 562 (10.3)
4. Brad Keselowski 373 (8.6)
5. Jimmie Johnson 336 (5.8)
6. Martin Truex Jr. 232 (4.3)
7. Kurt Busch 178 (3.1)

Sunday’s Top 10
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Alex Bowman
3. Kurt Busch
4. Chase Elliott
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Tyler Reddick
8. Erik Jones
9. John Hunter Nemechek
10. Matt Kenseth

2019 Top 10
1. Erik Jones
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Kurt Busch
8. Matt DiBenedetto
9. Paul Menard
10. Austin Dillon

2018 Top 10
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Joey Logano
3. Kyle Larson
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Chase Elliott
6. Kurt Busch
7. Kyle Busch
8. Erik Jones
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Denny Hamlin

2017 Top 10
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kurt Busch
4. Austin Dillon
5. Erik Jones
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Ryan Newman
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Jamie McMurray

Top End
Kyle Busch ($13,000/12,000) Kyle Busch had an issue late in the race which required an unscheduled pit stop and resulted in a 26th place finish. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up. Kyle could easially lead laps and win the race. I’m realistically expecting a finish somewhere in the 4th-8th range. He’s priced down from his usual 14k+ on Fan Duel. I think he’s a lock button for Wednesday.

Kevin Harvick ($13,200/11,600) I think it might be a bit naïve to think that Kevin Harvick will have another dominating performance at Darlington. This is a difficult track and winning one race is hard enough, expecting him to go back-to-back might not be realistic, but considering his 20th place starting position and the fact that he is bringing back the same racecar on Wednesday. I think Harvick is a solid play and should contend for a top 5 finish.

Chase Elliott ($11,700/10,300) I think Chase Elliott is going to be overlooked, particularly in single entry tournaments and cash games. Elliott had a strong run on Sunday with a 4th place finish, he will start 17th on Wednesday. In my opinion, people are going to play Kyle, Harvick, and Bowman and overlook Elliott as a solid play at a similar price point.

Overall with the top end drivers you can’t really go wrong with using Kyle Busch, Harvick, Elliott, Hamlin, Truex, or Bowman. Obviously you can’t play everybody, so the above list is my top three in order, but any of those drivers are good plays on Wednesday.

Mid-Tier
Jimmie Johnson ($10,000/9,l00)
I think Jimmie Johnson is a must play on Wednesday. He crashed from the lead at the end of stage 1 on Sunday and is starting in the 37th position. Even if he doesn’t march straight to the front and finishes 12th-15th this is a good play at his price point. I would lock in Jimmie in single entries and not think twice about it.

William Byron ($9,000/8,900) William Byron is in a similar position to Jimmie Johnson where he can easily go +20 on differential. I think you have to play him on Draft Kings, and he should seriously be considered on Fan Duel from his 34th place starting position.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,400/7,900) Stenhouse made a really bad move on the first lap on Sunday and crashed out of the race. I don’t have a lot of faith in Stenhouse, but starting 39th, you can’t fade him. I think he’ll get a top 20 finish, and his salary will let you fit in whoever you want in the mid-tier/lower top end.

There is a big difference in lineup build between Fan Duel and Draft Kings for this race. On Fan Duel I like using Kyle Busch, Stenhouse, and Jimmie Johnson. That leaves $20,600 for your final two drivers. I think Bowman and Kurt Busch make a lot of sense, as do Truex and Byron. I think Truex and Byron have a higher ceiling, but Bowman and Kurt may have a higher floor.

On Draft Kings it is much more complicated. I think you build around Johnson, Byron, and Stenhouse Jr. because of the scoring differences on DK. I’m only looking for guys on DK that are going to move forward, this is a shorter race, so I’m less worried about one driver dominating, plus the driver who dominated on Sunday is starting 20th.

Good luck to all our subscribers!

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