Kyle Larson is still looking for his first Cup Series win at Darlington yet enters Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET, Fox) as the favorite.
Larson is +500 to win at the unique 1.366-mile oval for good reason. He’s the weekly BetMGM favorite at this point, and he’s been really, really good at Darlington even though he hasn’t gotten a win yet.
Larson’s average finish of 9.2 ranks second only to Denny Hamlin. He’s also led 686 laps at the track and ranks fifth in that category among active drivers. But all the drivers ahead of him have raced at least 21 times at Darlington. Larson has just 10 Darlington starts and has just 213 fewer laps led than Kyle Busch in 12 fewer races.
Darlington is a track that suits Larson’s driving style. Drivers have to be willing to run as close to the wall as possible in the corners to find speed and Larson is one of the best in the Cup Series at running near the wall. Outside of an engine failure that relegated him to a 36th-place finish in this race a year ago, Larson has never finished outside the top 14 at Darlington.
He has five second-place finishes and two third-place finishes as well. He’s the driver to beat Sunday, and we’d have a hard time backing anyone else to get to victory lane.
Here’s a look at what else you need to know to bet Sunday’s race.
Kyle Larson (+500)
Denny Hamlin (+600)
Martin Truex Jr. (+700)
Tyler Reddick (+900)
William Byron (+1000)
Kyle Busch (+1000)
Hamlin’s average finish is 7.5 and he has 16 top 10s in 21 starts. He leads all active drivers with four Darlington wins. Truex has won twice at Darlington and has led laps in each of his last six starts. Reddick has three top-10 finishes in just seven starts. Byron has been one of the fastest drivers through the first third of the season even if his Darlington stats aren’t exceptional. Busch is also great at Darlington but hasn’t finished any higher than 30th in his last three starts, thanks to two crashes and an engine failure.
Good mid-tier value
Chase Elliott (+1400)
Kevin Harvick (+1400)
Elliott’s average finish at Darlington is 19th because of four crashes that have ended his races. But he’s finished in the top 10 on five different occasions. Before his car randomly caught on fire and he finished 33rd in the fall, Harvick hadn’t finished outside the top 10 at Darlington since a 16th-place finish in 2012.
Don’t bet this driver
Erik Jones (+4000)
Jones is really, really good at Darlington. But his win in the fall race last year was probably an anomaly. He failed to finish two of his first three races with Legacy Motor Club at the track and his best non-Atlanta intermediate track finish this season is 19th.
Looking for a long shot?
Josh Berry (+6600)
Darlington would seem to fit Berry’s driving style well, especially since he’ll be in top-tier equipment once again while subbing for Alex Bowman.