Saturday night at Darlington is about 2 points: worn tires and horsepower. The old track in South Carolina– alternately nicknamed The Woman In Black and The Track Too Challenging To Subjugate– is weather-beaten and knotted, and also because of this, its surface area grinds up tires like nobody’s organization. Take one lap around Darlington and also you have actually already spoiled the tires you get on, and also if anybody late in a race only takes two, you can be certain he’s headed directly to the back. The area is a high-banked 1.33-miler (25 and 23 degrees of financial), indicating torque is crucial, and also despite developments made by the Roush/Yates engine program, I still think Dodge makes the cruelest engines.
Obviously, Darlington is additionally concerning a chauffeur’s capacity to drive fast on used tires. Anybody that can keep his cars and truck method up in the track’s fastest groove– just millimeters from the wall surface– while moving about on chewed-up Goodyears will certainly be extremely rapid Saturday night. It takes a steady hand to slide the vehicle’s back side like that as well as stay quickly, which is why former dirt-trackers like Ryan Newman and also Jeff Gordon are constantly an aspect below. And last year’s Darlington champion, Greg Biffle, most likely likes to move his car out of a turn greater than any kind of motorist on the Smokeless Establish.
Darlington is, naturally, a one-event track now, which is kind of sad, because it’s a really enjoyable auto racing place. Automobiles can pass, it’s possible to find from behind (Sterling Marlin won from the 43rd starting area back in 2002), and also cars that are just mediocre for the race’s first half can all of a sudden come across the right arrangement as well as make stirring charges and intimidate for the win. This Mother’s Day event is a replacement for the typical Labor Day weekend break Southern 500, as soon as among the prestige races in the sporting activity. Make indisputable: this is a location where men want to win.
Over the previous four years, winners at Darlington have actually included Marlin, Gordon, Ricky Craven in an impossibly interesting gain Kurt Busch, Terry Labonte, Jimmie Johnson two times as well as Biffle. The people with the most effective typical coating right here over that time duration are Kasey Kahne (7th-place finishing average, though he’s just run here 3 times), Johnson (7.71 ), Carl Edwards (8th, though he’s only run here twice), Jamie McMurray (11.4 ), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11.4) as well as Biffle (11.8 ). Allow’s take a look at the guys who I think stand for the very best wagers Saturday night under the lights.
Take Jimmie Johnson (11-2), 1/3rd unit. Johnson is really, great at Darlington. He swept this joint in 2004, and also came 7th here last spring. In fact, in the last 4 years at Darlington, Johnson has actually stopped working to complete in the top-10 exactly when. Don’t bother with technique rates, don’t stress over qualifying. When the time comes for him to make a step, look out. And also, it’s worth keeping in mind that Hendrick vehicles have won 4 of the last 6
events at Darlington. That should make you interested in Jeff Gordon (8-1) (that’s won at this track 6 times), Kyle Busch (13-1) and maybe even Brian Vickers (35-1). Well, okay, no. Possibly 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 completed fourth after not having a great cars and truck in the race’s second half. Like he’s done numerous times this year, the Biff appeared of the gate with guns blazing, and led a lol track dodgers lots of laps early, but like in various other races this year, he diminished a high cliff, and looked like he ‘d battle simply to remain in the top-10. Lo and also look at, though, Biffle had the ability to discover some digestive tracts and dig in, registering his first top-five of a period in which he was thought to be a severe threat to win the points title. He’s obtained a long means to go to make the Chase, yet I assume Darlington’s sliding style fits him perhaps much better than any person on the circuit.
Take Kasey Kahne (9-1), 1/3rd system. I really was tempted to take Ryan Newman (20-1) either in this spot or in Biffle’s. Newman probably would’ve won the Darlington race in 2005, but also for some dreadful pit technique in which he stayed out while everyone else altered tires. He’s never won right here, yet he’s got four top-fives in the last six Darlington events. The trouble with Newman is he doesn’t seem to be able to obtain comfortable with the Dodge Charger, with Kurt Busch (13-1) as his colleague, or with qualifying, which he made use of to control. So rather, I’m going to go with Kahne, that in his three Darlington events has actually logged a 3rd, a 5th and a 13th. I like the Dodge horsepower, I believe Kahne is a reputable threat to make the Chase as well as intimidate for the title, and I’m remembering his efficiencies at the high-banked tracks at Atlanta and also Texas. Currently, those are mile-and-a-half cookie cutters, and Darlington is anything however a cookie cutter (if you have actually ever before played PlayStation NASCAR as well as driven Darlington, you recognize that Turn 2 comes at you like Oprah Winfrey on a steamroller), and also clearly the track surfaces are hugely different, yet the financial is similar. Possibly Kahne gets it together as well as publishes his 3rd win of the year.