We had a week off to charge the batteries, and we’re now entering the home stretch with just two races before the playoffs. We make our first and only trip to South Carolina for the Bojangles' Southern 500. This event debuted in 1950 and has been one of the longer races of the season, often finishing well over three and sometimes four hours. So, make sure to get comfortable when betting this beast.
Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card. (Odds weren’t released when this article was posted)
Denny Hamlin - We’ve had Denny Hamlin on the card a few times this year and it has yet to payoff, as he’s one of many drivers yet to win a race. The good news is Hamlin has been consistent, finishing no worse than 14th in eight of his last 10 races. A breakthrough should come sooner or later. Hamlin won this event last year and is a two-time winner here overall. Hamlin has finished fourth or better i five of his last six appearances at the Darlington Raceway, and he’s also won here many times in the Xfinity Series. Hamlin downright loves this track. He’s a must-bet this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. - For once, Martin Truex Jr. has looked human in his last couple of races, but we’re still talking about somebody who has finished fourth or better in 10 of his last 14 races. Truex won this event back in 2016 and has an average finish of sixth in his last three appearances at the Darlington Raceway. Truex hasn’t made a habit of going five or six events without a victory, so he’s due. It’s time to jump back on the Truex bandwagon.
Kevin Harvick - Kevin Harvick has finished in the top-10 in 17 of his last 19 races and has been on the winning side in two of his last five events. It hasn’t gotten much better than what Harvick has done this season, and while his prices aren’t going to be great, he’s still been a moneymaker with his consistency. Harvick won this event in 2014 and was runner-up in 2016. Overall, Harvick has finished ninth or better in six of his last eight appearances at the Darlington Raceway. Harvick will be in the running for another victory in 2018. Shocker, shocker.
Kyle Larson - Kyle Larson hasn’t had a victory this season, but he’s coming close, finishing ninth or better in four of his last eight races, which includes a runner-up spot in Bristol. Larson has three top-10 finishes in four appearances at the Darlington Raceway and has an average finish of 8.7 here overall. You have to be impressed with Larson’s form, and he has consistent success here despite the small sample size. Larson is probably a sneaky dark horse you can get who actually has a chance to sniff victory lane.
Ryan Newman - If you want a real shot in the dark and are tired of backing the same guys every week, Ryan Newman could be your guy. Newman has quietly finished 15th or better in six of his last eight races, which includes three top-10 finishes. Newman has also finished 10th or better in 11 of his last 14 appearances at the Darlington Raceway. His last two appearances at this track, Newman has an average finish of 7.5, making this one of his more successful tracks of his career that he’s never won. Newman is for you bettors who want a change of pace and don’t mind taking a shot on big value.