Tag Archives: Darlington

Final Rankings: Darlington, 2012

Here are my final driver rankings for tonight’s race at Darlington. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Darlington on Friday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Greg Biffle
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Martin Truex, Jr.
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Carl Edwards
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Kasey Kahne
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Ryan Newman Continue reading

Early Rankings: Darlington 2012

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Darlington;
  • the loop data for the past seven races at the other tracks in the Steeps track group (i.e., Bristol, Dover, Homestead, Las Vegas);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Darlington; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past seven races at the aforementioned Steeps.

The results:

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Greg Biffle
  5. Martin Truex, Jr.
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Kasey Kahne
  8. Tony Stewart
  9. Carl Edwards
  10. Matt Kenseth Continue reading

Mid-Week Rankings: Darlington 2011

Here are my mid-week driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington, S.C. I compiled them by crunching the loop, practice and qualifying data for the fall 2010 race at Dover, the March 2011 race at Bristol and the May 2011 race at Darlington:

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Jeff Burton
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Jamie McMurray
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Juan Pablo Montoya
  9. Mark Martin
  10. Jimmie Johnson Continue reading

Race Recap: Darlington

The Southern 500 gets underway Saturday night.

My top five ran just about as well as I figured they would Saturday night at Darlington, with only a few surprises:

1. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had the co-top car, and he brought it home for the win.

2. Jeff Gordon: Gordon drove the other top car, and he likely would’ve had an exciting duel with Hamlin for the win at the finish if not for some pit-road tomfoolery with 25-ish laps to go.

3. Kurt Busch: The Blue Duece was a top 5–10 car all night, and it rolled home third. Continue reading

Race Preview Update: Darlington

Jamie McMurray took the pole in Friday's qualifying. (Photo Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams completed two eventful practice sessions and qualifying in some serious spring heat yesterday afternoon at Darlington. A lot of cars bounced off the wall, my rankings underwent a significant reshuffling, and us NASCAR fantasy players and handicappers gained a lot of clarity, but before we get to all that, let’s quickly update some of the predictive factors.

The Weather
As of this morning, Weather.com says Darlington might get some afternoon thunderstorms, but the skies should definitely clear by late afternoon. There’s a chance rain will de-rubber the track, then, and the track temperature will definitely be lower when the green flag waves tonight than it was during Friday’s preliminaries. That gives the preliminaries less value as a predictive factor than they’d have if the track condition was the same tonight as it was yesterday. On the bright side, it looks like there’s no chance of a rain stoppage tonight.

Tires
The Goodyear Tire Notes on Jayski’s “Darlington Race Info” page (scroll to the bottom) indicate the teams are running a different tire package at Darlington this year than they did last  year. That decreases race predictability at bit. Continue reading

Race Preview: Darlington

Mark Martin battles Joey Logano during last year's Darlington race. Martin went on to win. (Photo John Harrelson/Getty Images)

The Sprint Cup series heads to Darlington, S.C., this week for another Saturday night race. Darlington Raceway, affectionately known as the Lady in Black, is an egg-shaped, 1.33-mile track with lots of banking in the turns (25- and 23-degrees, respectively). It also offers an abrasive surface that chews up tires, and narrow, difficult turn exits. Many cars end up sporting the so-called “Darlington stripe” by the end of the night courtesy of the wall at the turn exits.

Our historical data for Darlington is very limited for two reasons. First, the track resists categorization with other tracks. Its steep banks recall Bristol and Dover, but it’s bigger than those two tracks, and its funky egg-shape sets it apart as well. It’s almost as big as the banked cookie-cutter tracks (i.e., Texas, Las Vegas, Homestead, Charlotte, and Atlanta) and features similar banking, but you certainly can’t label this unique track a cookie-cutter.

Second, the series ran at Darlington only once last year, and that was also a Saturday night race with two practices followed by qualifying on Friday. Just like last week at Richmond, that schedule deprives us fantasy players and handicappers a third practice, and more importantly, it makes it difficult to ascertain which cars were fast in race trim because the speed charts reflect those fast in qualifying trim. Continue reading