Darlington Raceway is the host venue for the Goodyear 400 on Sunday. The first trip to this famed South Carolina NASCAR track of the 2023 NASCAR Season, it’s bound to come with some great racing. The Lady in Black or The Track Too Tough To Tame is setup for another huge race weekend that started with great races from Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar in the Truck race on Friday. What is the best NASCAR DFS strategy and DFS lineups for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 on Throwback Weekend? That’s what we’re going to break down in this week’s NASCAR DFS playbook and podcast!

Why Is Darlington Called The Lady In Black And Why Is It Egg Shaped?

Before we dig into the DFS strategies for this week, we need to talk a bit about why Darlington is called “The Lady In Black” and why it has an egg shape. It was given the moniker of “The Lady in Black” because of the way they used to treat the track surface. Each race, the night before the event, the track would be resealed in a fresh coat of black sealant to make the surface appear brand new. Thus the nickname. Why is it egg-shaped though? Darlington Raceway was originally built on a farm that had a pond at one end and thus a regular shaped track wouldn’t fit in the footprint allotted for the track site. That egg shape, now famous, has some real ramifications for the teams and drivers as they race there today.

How To Build NASCAR DFS Lineups For The Goodyear 400

I think most drivers nowadays would kindly refer to Darlington as its other famous nickname “The Track Too Tough To Tame.” Not just because of the alliteration involved, but because of how it races. It may not get that new coat of sealant each race but it does get seemingly tougher to race each year and that bears out in the results.

Over the last 10 races here, six of the 10 winners have started inside the top-10 starting spots while the other four have come from P13-16 in the starting grid. On top of that, we’ve only seen 42-percent of top-10 finishers starting outside the top-12 starting spots which is a fairly low percentage, especially for an intermediate track. Darlington is known as a track that is a challenge for crews and drivers alike because of its characteristics. Just what are those? Well, we’ve talked about the egg shape and how that makes one set of corners tighter, steeper, and narrower than the other set. But there’s also the high-tire-wear surface that wreaks havoc on the tires and makes long green-flag runs here a challenge to keep balance and control in the car. There’s also the strategy that tire wear and cautions combine to create.

All of that said, how are we approaching this race for DFS lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel? Typically for intermediate tracks in the NextGen cars we’ve been building with one main laps-led dominator and then targeting a second driver who can lead 50 or more laps as well. That’s how most of the last several races have gone down at Darlington including the two last year. Passing has been tough to come by here typically but the intermediate aero package on this current car has been pretty solid for passing, especially when tire wear has been a factor. Harken back to last week and Auto Club earlier in the year for races involving tire wear. As far as comparable tracks for Darlington, we’re talking Kansas, Auto Club, Dover, and Homestead with a little bit of Vegas mixed in.

So all told, we’re focusing around 1-2 dominators with the rest being PD plays and none of the PD plays coming from too far back given that passing here is tough in most years.
 

Goodyear 400 Practice Results

The following table shows where each driver ran for single-lap and multiple-lap averages in practice as well as where they qualified. The idea is to show who might move up and who may fall back during the race as well as where some possible values could be laying throughout the field for GPP differentiation.

DriverAvg. Prac to QualQual1-Lap5-Lap10-lap15-Lap20-Lap
Martin Truex Jr-14122221668
Bubba Wallace-1262322
Ricky Stenhouse Jr-43545914
William Byron1433134
Ross Chastain-1598443
Daniel Suarez-1863125242319
Kyle Larson-972519121211
Denny Hamlin-1182323211712
Tyler Reddick0945101513
Brad Keselowski-6101316171915
Ryan Blaney2111412656
Kyle Busch3121213875
Ty Gibbs-113201714119
Harrison Burton-7142621222116
Joey Logano-5151915202223
Christopher Bell016181813821
Aric Almirola-11173329252625
Austin Dillon-3181626232018
Michael McDowell3197101830 
Kevin Harvick4202420111310
Chase Elliott202111211
Justin Haley-8223034302927
Josh Berry-3232730272424
Todd Gilliland1024151191620
Austin Cindric1225171415107
Ryan Newman-8263433   
Chris Buescher1727117714 
Erik Jones15282631  
Noah Gragson-12932312827 
AJ Allmendinger1030832   
Chase Briscoe5312124292826
Ryan Preece6322927262522
Ty Dillon433282832  
Corey Lajoie1934109191817
BJ McLeod0353535   
Brennan Poole0363636