Race #: 11 of 36
Track Size: 1.366 miles
Race Length: 501.322 miles
Banking Turns 1 & 2: 25 degrees
Banking Turns 3 & 4: 23 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 6 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 6 degrees
Frontstretch: 1,229 feet
Backstretch: 1,229 feet
Bojangles’ Southern 500
Airs: NSCS – Saturday night, (FOX, live 7 p.m. ET)
2011 pole winner: Kasey Kahne (181.254 mph, 27.131 seconds, 05-06-11)
2011 race winner: Regan Smith (129.678 mph, 05-07-11)
Track qualifying record: Kasey Kahne (181.254 mph, 27.131 seconds, 05-06-11)
Track race record: Kyle Busch (140.350 mph, 05-10-08)
Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina going into the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on May 12.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M / OH / ES Ford)
· Two wins, two top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.2
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Wrigley Toyota)
· One win, one top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 17.1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 15.2
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)
· Three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 13.9
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Seven wins, 18 top fives, 21 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.1
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota)
· One win, two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 6.5
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s / KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)
· Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 9.8
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, three top 10s; four poles
· Average finish of 14.6
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
· One top five, two top 10s
· Average finish of 7.3
Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, five top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.5
Ryan Newman (No. 39 WIX Chevrolet)
· Seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.6
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot / Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.3
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
· Two top 10s
· Average finish of 12.3
Gas, leaded of course, cost 18 cents a gallon, the average price of a new automobile was $1,510 and the average wages were $3,210.
· Built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-50, Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950.
· The track was re-measured to 1.375 miles in 1953.
· The track was re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race in 1970.
· The track was repaved in 1995.
· The 2005 race was the first Saturday night race at Darlington.
· The track was repaved again prior to the 2008 season.
· There have been 108 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway since the track opened in 1950.
· There was one race per year in 1950, 1951, from 1953-1959, and again every year since 2005. Darlington held two races a season in all other years.
· Curtis Turner won the first pole, in 1950.
· Johnny Mantz won the first race, in 1950.
· 47 drivers have posted poles at Darlington.
· David Pearson leads all drivers with 12 poles at Darlington.
· 45 drivers have won races at Darlington; 25 drivers have won more than once there.
· David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine.
· Jeff Gordon is third overall and leads all active drivers with seven victories.
· Hendrick Motorsports has won 13 races at Darlington, more than any other organization.
· 19 races at Darlington have been won from the pole, the most productive starting position. Dale Jarrett was the last driver to win from the pole in 1997.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 43rd, in the track’s inaugural race in 1950 by Johnny Mantz. That race had a 75-car field.
· Darlington is the site of one of the closest race finishes in NASCAR history. Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch by 0.002 seconds on March 16, 2003 – which is tied with Talladega (April 17, 2011) as the two smallest margins of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.
· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (05/10/2008 – 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
· Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Harry Gant (05/06/1991 – 51 years, 7 months, 22 days)
Regan Smith was the surprise winner of last year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 – the second of three, first time winners of NASCAR’s biggest events.
Darlington dates to 1950 and as the series’ first asphalt oval over a ½-mile in length ushered in the sport’s future.
As an annual tradition the Darlington race will fall on Mother’s Day weekend. The track will recognize the driver’s mothers during the pre-race ceremonies. All of the moms in attendance will receive a bouquet of flowers and will give the command for “start your engines”.
David Reutimann will return behind the wheel of the No. 93 BK Racing Toyota this week at Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. Reutimann raced the season-opening Daytona 500 with BK Racing, but has driven the balance of 2012 events with Tommy Baldwin Racing. Travis Kvapil will return to drive the No. 93 Burger King/Dr Pepper car next week at Charlotte.
JR. MUST NOT REPEAT LAST YEAR’S DARLINGTON RACE
Dale Earnhardt Jr. must reverse his recent Darlington trend – two finishes outside the top 15 in his past three starts – and have a top-10 finish to set a career record for consecutive top 10 finishes.
To prepare for Darlington Raceway, Travis Pastrana sought out a Darlington 101 lesson from NASCAR legend and Hall of Fame member David Pearson at Greenville-Pickens Speedway last March. Pearson, who owns 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and 12 pole positions at Darlington Raceway, educated the 28-year-old rookie on how to master driving the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame.”
Danica Patrick faces her greatest challenge since coming to NASCAR as she competes in her second Sprint Cup race on Saturday. Her No. 10 Chevrolet, prepared by Stewart-Haas Racing, has a guaranteed starting position by virtue of owner Tommy Baldwin’s 33rd ranking in Owners Championship standings. Patrick finished 38th in her series debut at Daytona in February. She will do double duty also competing in Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
LAST CHANCE FOR ALL-STAR RACE
Saturday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 is a last-chance race for automatic admission to the May 19 Sprint All-Star Race. Drivers yet to qualify include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte. Absent a Darlington win, a driver still can qualify via fan vote or transfer from the Sprint Showdown race. Fans can still vote up ’till May 19th for their favorite driver to make it into the show.
NNS Airs: Friday night, live ESPN2 (7:15 p.m. EDT )
NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES
Tayler Malsam, driver of the No. 19 G-Oil Toyota for TriStar Motorsports, remains one of the surprises of the NASCAR Nationwide Series for 2012. In his first full season in the series, Malsam is currently eighth in the standings and has been ranked in the top 10 following each race this year.
NNS DRIVER ERIC McCLURE RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
Eric McClure, driver of the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Toyota, was released Monday evening from the UAB Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was airlifted Saturday afternoon following a racing incident at Talladega Superspeedway.
McClure suffered a concussion and mild internal bruising and is expected to make a full recovery. This week he will follow up with specialists regarding his injuries.
McClure has said he will make himself available to the media in the Jim Hunter Media Center at Darlington Raceway on Friday, May 11. Stay tuned for updates.