Fantasy Update: Is Logano's pole win enough to place him in your lineup?

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·3 min read
Fantasy Update: Is Logano's pole win enough to place him in your lineup?
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There‘s nothing quite like Darlington Raceway on the Cup Series schedule, as the surface wears tires at an extreme rate. In the midst of Throwback Weekend, 2018 champion Joey Logano sat atop the qualifying leaderboard, winning his first pole since 2019. Between the two group practice sessions, two potential race winners will have to come from the rear after having incidents.

Dustin Albino‘s race-day lineup:
Starter 1: Kyle Larson
Starter 2: Denny Hamlin
Starter 3: Ross Chastain
Starter 4: Erik Jones
Starter 5: Tyler Reddick
Garage pick: Kevin Harvick

NEXT IN LINE:
Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr.

RELATED: Set your lineup | Starting lineup | Fantasy Fastlane

RISING: Joey Logano is coming off consecutive races where he finished 29th or worse. But on Saturday, it was the No. 22 Ford that led the way, winning his first pole at the “Track Too Tough To Tame.” In 16 starts at Darlington, Logano has a quartet of top-five results, and top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts.

When it comes to a track that has an abrasive racing surface, Tyler Reddick comes to the top of mind as drivers that could contend for the win. On Sunday, there‘s a good chance the No. 8 Chevrolet will be rim-riding the wall to chase additional grip. Not many drivers do it better than the two-time Xfinity Series champion. He will start from a respectable 10th on Sunday.

FALLING: Kevin Harvick enters Sunday‘s race with 12 straight top-10 finishes at Darlington. However, after blowing a left rear tire and going for a spin in practice on Saturday, the No. 4 car had to go to the garage to repair the diffuser. While Harvick will have to start in the rear, 400 miles around “The Lady in Black” is a long day; I‘m keeping him in my lineup.

In recent years, Chase Elliott has felt he‘s struggled to get around Darlington, thus why he entered the Xfinity Series race this weekend (he DNQ‘d with qualifying getting canceled due to rain). His struggles continued in Group B of practice, blowing a left-rear tire entering Turn 3 on his 15th lap. The No. 9 Chevrolet will also have to come from the rear in a backup car.

FEATURED MATCHUPS

Denny Hamlin vs. Martin Truex Jr.: Of the 36 drivers entered into Sunday‘s race, no driver is better at Darlington than Hamlin. Since 2020, the No. 11 Toyota has won two of the last four races at the 1.33-mile track, including last year‘s Southern 500. Truex isn‘t a snub at Darlington, either, as the No. 19 car dominated this race last season. This is a tossup, but the slight advantage goes to Hamlin, even though he had an issue in qualifying.

Truex Jr. vs. Hamlin: Who wins matchup at Darlington? - Powered By PickUp

Ross Chastain vs. Kyle Busch: These two drivers have had comparable seasons thus far, though Chastain has gotten to Victory Lane once more than the No. 18 car. Chastain is my pick to win the race, so he‘s got my vote here.

Chastain vs. Busch: Who wins head-to-head match? - Powered By PickUp

Chris Buescher vs. Ricky Stenhosue Jr.: Both Buescher and Stenhouse are coming off standout races for their respective teams in the 2022 season, with the No. 17 car winning the pole at Dover and the No. 47 Chevrolet finishing runner-up. Based on their success at Darlington, Buescher gets the nod, as he finished ninth in both races last season.

Stenhouse Jr. vs. Buescher: Who wins head-to-head match? - Powered By PickUp

Ryan Blaney vs. William Byron: Based on speed alone, the Nos. 12 and 24 have been near equal in 2022. But Byron has proven to get better as a race goes on this year, while Blaney has had a tough time putting complete races together. Slight advantage, No. 24 team.

Byron vs. Blaney: Who wins head-to-head match? - Powered By PickUp