Saturday evening at Darlington has to do with two points: worn tires and horse power. The old track in South Carolina– at the same time nicknamed The Woman In Black and The Track Too Challenging To Subjugate– is weather-beaten as well as knotted, and also as such, its surface area grinds up tires like nobody’s service. Take one lap around Darlington and also you’ve already destroyed the tires you’re on, as well as if any person late in a race only takes two, you can be sure he’s headed straight to the back. The location is a high-banked 1.33-miler (25 and 23 degrees of banking), meaning torque is essential, and also in spite of breakthroughs made by the Roush/Yates engine program, I still believe Dodge makes the cruelest engines.
Obviously, Darlington is additionally concerning a vehicle driver’s ability to drive quickly on used tires. Anybody who can keep his automobile way up in the track’s fastest groove– just millimeters from the wall surface– while gliding around on chewed-up Goodyears will certainly be extremely fast Saturday evening. It takes a stable hand to move the car’s rear end like that as well as remain fast, which is why former dirt-trackers like Ryan Newman as well as Jeff Gordon are lol track dodgers always an aspect below. And in 2014’s Darlington champion, Greg Biffle, most likely likes to glide his vehicle out of a turn more than any vehicle driver on the Smokeless Establish.
Darlington is, certainly, a one-event track now, which is type of unfortunate, due to the fact that it’s an actually fun racing location. Automobiles can pass, it’s possible to come from behind (Sterling Marlin won from the 43rd starting spot back in 2002), and autos that are simply average for the race’s initial fifty percent can unexpectedly stumble upon the right arrangement and make mixing costs as well as intimidate for the win. This Mother’s Day occasion is a substitute for the typical Labor Day weekend Southern 500, once one of the glamour races in the sporting activity. Make no mistake: this is an area where guys want to win.
Over the previous four years, champions at Darlington have actually included Marlin, Gordon, Ricky Craven in an impossibly exciting gain Kurt Busch, Terry Labonte, Jimmie Johnson two times and Biffle. The men with the best typical coating here over that time period are Kasey Kahne (7th-place finishing average, though he’s just run here three times), Johnson (7.71 ), Carl Edwards (8th, though he’s only run below twice), Jamie McMurray (11.4 ), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11.4) and also Biffle (11.8 ). Let’s take a look at the individuals who I believe represent the best bets Saturday night under the lights.
Take Jimmie Johnson (11-2), 1/3rd system. Johnson is very, very good at Darlington. He swept this joint in 2004, and came seventh right here last springtime. In fact, in the last four years at Darlington, Johnson has actually stopped working to complete in the top-10 exactly once. Don’t stress over technique rates, don’t fret about qualifying. When the time comes for him to make a move, watch out. Plus, it deserves keeping in mind that Hendrick vehicles have won 4 of the last six
occasions at Darlington. That should make you curious about Jeff Gordon (8-1) (that’s won at this track six times), Kyle Busch (13-1) and also perhaps even Brian Vickers (35-1). Well, all right, no. Probably not Vickers.
Take Greg Biffle (6-1), 1/3rd unit. I liked what I saw out of Biffle at Richmond last weekend break, when he finished fourth after not having a great auto in the race’s second half. Like he’s done a number of times this year, the Biff appeared of eviction with guns blazing, and led a lots of laps early, however like in other races this year, he fell off a high cliff, and also looked like he would certainly have a hard time merely to stay in the top-10. Lo as well as see, though, Biffle was able to locate some digestive tracts and dig in, registering his initial top-five of a season in which he was thought to be a major risk to win the factors title. He’s obtained a lengthy means to visit make the Chase, however I assume Darlington’s moving style matches him maybe better than anyone on the circuit.
Take Kasey Kahne (9-1), 1/3rd system. I really was attracted to take Ryan Newman (20-1) either in this place or in Biffle’s. Newman most likely would’ve won the Darlington race in 2005, but for some awful pit technique in which he avoided while everyone else changed tires. He’s never ever won right here, yet he’s got 4 top-fives in the last 6 Darlington events. The problem with Newman is he does not appear to be able to get comfy with the Dodge Charger, with Kurt Busch (13-1) as his teammate, or with qualifying, which he utilized to dominate. So instead, I’m going to opt for Kahne, who in his 3 Darlington occasions has logged a 3rd, a 5th as well as a 13th. I like the Dodge horse power, I believe Kahne is a genuine risk to make the Chase as well as endanger for the title, as well as I’m remembering his efficiencies at the high-banked tracks at Atlanta and Texas. Currently, those are mile-and-a-half cookie cutters, as well as Darlington is anything however a cookie cutter (if you’ve ever played PlayStation NASCAR as well as driven Darlington, you recognize that Turn 2 comes with you like Oprah Winfrey on a steamroller), and undoubtedly the track surface areas are wildly various, yet the banking is similar. Possibly Kahne obtains it together and also uploads his 3rd win of the year.