Darlington Raceway with its unusual egg shape is a track like no other, as drivers drive within a foot of the wall to get the maximum speed to conquer “The Lady In Black.”
There are two grooves on this track, but it’s mostly when drivers are on fresh tires and when the tires go, the drivers sometimes have no choice but to graffiti the walls with as many skid marks as last week’s burnout.
This race back in the day was a crown jewel known as the “Southern 500″ held on Memorial Day, and it was prestigious to win at Darlington.
It’s now reduced to a regular race on the schedule, but all the drivers will tell you, to win at Darlington is a badge of honor, as all the greats like Earnhardt, Petty, Jeff Gordon and “The Silver Fox” have won multiple times during their careers.
In the past four years, no one has dominated the pole at Darlington. Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray each have one pole.
This brings us to the best average start under 10.0 the past five years:
Kasey Kahne 4.5
Brian Vickers 5.5
Denny Hamlin 6.3
Jeff Gordon 6.8
Ryan Newman 8.3
Last year’s winner was Matt Kenseth, but he hasn’t set the world on fire like he did last year so stick with the percentages to get you through an eventful night.
Here are my ten best over the last five years at Darlington.
10 Jeff Gordon- 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, average finish 13.5
9 Kasey Kahne- 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, average finish 12.3
8 Tony Stewart- 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, average finish 12.0
7 Ryan Newman- 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s, average finish 11.8
6 Martin Truex Jr- 1 top 5, and 2 top 10s, average finish 11.5
5 Matt Kenseth- 1 win, 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, avg finish 11.3
4 Kevin Harvick- 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, avg finish 11.0
3 Carl Edwards- 1 top 5 and 3 top 10s, avg finish 7.8
2 Kyle Busch- 1 top 5 and 3 top 5s, avg finish 7.0
1 Denny Hamlin- 1 win, 3 top 5s and 4 top 10s, avg finish 2.0