Race time is Sunday at 3:30 pm EDT.
NASCAR is back.
Ryan Newman is back.
And most importantly, well maybe not, The Eckel 3 is back.
As NASCAR becomes the first sport in the United States to return to action with Sunday’s Cup Series Race, The Real Heroes 400, in Darlington, Ryan Newman also returns to action. Newman was seriously injured in a crash opening week on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
None of the Eckel 3, which includes as always Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, picked Newman this Sunday at Darlington. And that’s about the only thing in which they agreed. In what can only be described as strange — although with what’s been going on since the last race can anything really be called strange — all three “experts’’ had different drivers in their top two selections. However, they all agreed that Matt DiBenedetto, at 40-1, was the best long shot on the board.
Sunday’s race, without any fans in the stands, is going to be different.
“It’s a group of cars, group of professionals, all barreling down into Turn 1 with months of built up anxiety and excitement,’’ veteran driver Kurt Busch told NASCAR.com “Everybody knows it. Everybody can feel it. And I hope everybody uses their best judgement because we all know there is going to be a competition caution for everybody to check their settings with the front splitter, cambers and the set-up balances. My approach is that we all need to drive down there at an 80-percent level and then ramp up our percentage of aggressiveness as the race moves forward.”
Here are Sunday’s selections for your winner and for any fantasy leagues you may play. Since there is no consensus at all here are all the picks.
All lines from Parx Online Casino.
Martin Truex Jr. (8-1): New Jersey needs a win and maybe the native son can bring it home. Truex had one of the worst stretches of his career before the stoppage. The time off could have helped. And he does have a 2016 win at Darlington.
Brad Keselowski (10-1): He’s on the pole, which is good. He also won here in 2018 and finished fifth last year, which is better.
Joey Logano (7-1): LT is going with the hottest driver before the break who is looking for his first Darlington win after three top five finishes.
Kyle Busch (5-1): When it doubt go with the best, right? Busch has been in the top three at Darlington each of the past three years.
Denny Hamlin (7-1): TR goes with his man Denny, who drove Victory Lane here in 2017.
Chase Elliott (10-1): Elliott has driven well this season. He’s never won in Darlington, but finished fifth in 2018.