The 2021 Fall Darlington Driver Preview gives you a rundown on who’s run well and who needs concentrate on just finishing the race.
I included only active drivers with at least five races at Darlington.
There needs to be an asterisk next to Erik Jones given that he no longer has the advantage of JGR equipment and infrastructure. Larson, Hamlin and Kyle Busch (all drivers to watch during the playoffs) are all strong finishers at Darlington.
But finishing well won’t do it in the playoffs.
Here, I’m looking at drivers who have run at least five races and have an average finish at Darlington of less than 20. I plotted percentages so that we could compare drivers better. The number of actual races run is listed above each bar.
Although Larson has the best average finish, he doesn’t have any wins. I wouldn’t write him off, because a) he’s in better equipment this year and b) he’s having a great season.
Hamlin has won 16.6% of all races he’s run at Darlington and ended up in the top 10 77.7% of the time. But his year seemed to turn south mid-season. He’ll probably finish well, but I don’t ascribe a high percentage to his winning. Ditto for Harvick, who’s having his own problems this year.
Some comfort for Larson is that Chase Elliott also hasn’t won at Darlington before. But Chase has a bigger problem than not winning.
Although you can see the DNFs on the chart above, they become a lot clearer when they get their own graph. Again, I plotted this as a percentage of total races run.
Elliott has larger DNF % than most of the other contenders. That might be due to having a smaller number of races to study, but it’s something to consider when making your fantasy picks.
And that’s your 2021 Fall Darlington Race Driver Preview.