Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Best Bet for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway on Sunday for the first of two visits in 2024. Darlington is an egg shaped intermediated track that features extreme tire wear. The wider turns (turns 1 and 2) are banked at 24 degrees. The narrower turns (turns 3 and 4) are slightly shallower at 21 degrees. This means that it’s hard to setup a car to have optimal performance at both ends of the track.

Historically the most comparable track to Darlington has been Homestead. Although, in the Gen 7 car as Las Vegas and Kansas have become higher tire wear tracks they have shown significant correlation with Darlington. So this week as I’m handicapping Darlington those are tracks I’m focused on. When looking at performance at these four venues one driver sticks out to me as being mispriced.

Noah Gragson

Darlington is a Noah Gragson track. In seven starts here in the Xfinity series he never finished worse than eighth. He also scored a pair of wins and another three Top 5 finishes. He led over a quarter of the race five times as well. In his one Cup start he only managed to come in 26th, but it must be remembered that that was in a Legacy Motorsports car that was getting effectively no support from Chevy as Legacy was in the process of moving to Toyota.

Top 10 +230 | Hard Rock Sportsbook and Fanatics Sportsbook

Looking at the two comparable tracks in 2024 Gragson has a pair of Top 10 finishes. He came in sixth at Las Vegas and ninth last week at Kansas. At Las Vegas he finished better than he ran, as he only had 40 laps (15%) inside the Top 10. Last week however Noah ran 198 lap (73.8%) inside the Top 10. At Kansas he also had an average running position of 9.75. 

The Speed Geeks Sim Center at Win The Race has Noah’s fair odds for a Top 10 right at this price. But I think that it’s possible the Sim Center is under valuing Noah as it has to take into account his lackluster 2023 performance. In 2023 before his suspension Noah ran 22 races and didn’t have a single Top 10 finish. His best finish in 2023 was a 12th at Atlanta and his best non-drafting finish was a 20th at Circuit of the Americas. In 2024 Noah already has five Top 10 finishes in just 12 starts, including three straight Top 10 finishes going into this weekend. Simply put Noah is running strong right now and he is likely to finish inside the Top 10 finish at a track he dominated in the Xfinity series more than the 30.03% of the time implied by +230. I have a full unit on this bet.

Top Ford +900 | Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings

Ford has had a rough start to 2024. The manufacturer doesn’t have a single win in the 40 NASCAR national series races. In fairness in the Cup Series Ford has been on the wrong side of two of the closest finishes in NASCAR Cup Series history. The close finishes suggest Ford could win, but it doesn’t change the fact that the new Mustang Dark Horse hasn’t performed the way Ford was hoping. 

Ford only has one driver, Ryan Blaney, inside the Top 10 in the points standings. Although Blaney is clearly the best Ford week in and week out right now, Darlington is not a Ryan Blaney track. In 14 Cup Series starts he has just three Top 10 finishes. 

Over the past few weeks Gragson has arguably been the most consistent Ford. On his Actions Detrimental podcast this week Denny Hamlin commented on how strong Noah has been running. Although he will face some stiff competition this week from the RFK Fords, particularly Brad Keselowski, who has a very strong history here, being the fifth Ford is a misprice by the books. The Sim Center has the fair price on Noah to finish as Top Ford at +816 and again, I think the Sim Center is undervaluing Noah given the data it has to rely on.

Since I already took Noah for a full unit to finish Top 10 I’m ongoing putting half a unit on this.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

For the parlay...