Saturday evening at Darlington has to do with 2 points: worn tires and horsepower. The old track in South Carolina– at the same time nicknamed The Lady In Black and also The Track Too Difficult To Tame– is weather-beaten and gnarled, and also as such, its surface area grinds up tires like no one’s company. Take one lap around Darlington as well as you have actually already ruined the tires you get on, and if any person late in a race only takes 2, you can be sure he’s headed straight to the back. The place is a high-banked 1.33-miler (25 and 23 degrees of financial), implying torque is critical, and regardless of advancements made by the Roush/Yates engine program, I still assume Dodge makes the cruelest engines.
Naturally, Darlington is additionally regarding a chauffeur’s capacity to drive quickly on used tires. Anyone who can keep his vehicle way up in the track’s fastest groove– simply millimeters from the wall– while sliding about on chewed-up Goodyears will be extremely rapid Saturday night. It takes a steady hand to glide the vehicle’s back side like that and also remain quickly, which is why previous dirt-trackers like Ryan Newman as well as Jeff Gordon are always a factor right here. As well as in 2014’s Darlington winner, Greg Biffle, most likely likes to slide his vehicle out of a turn more than any kind of driver on the Smokeless Set.
Darlington is, certainly, a one-event track now, which is type of depressing, because it’s a truly fun auto racing venue. Cars and trucks can pass, it’s possible to come from behind (Sterling Marlin won from the 43rd beginning spot back in 2002), and cars and trucks that are just moderate for the race’s first fifty percent can instantly come across the best setup and also make mixing fees as well as endanger for the win. This Mommy’s Day occasion is a replacement for the typical Labor Day weekend Southern 500, when one of the beauty races in the sporting activity. Make no mistake: this is a location where individuals intend to win.
Over the past four years, victors at Darlington have included Marlin, Gordon, Ricky Craven in an impossibly exciting gain Kurt Busch, Terry Labonte, Jimmie Johnson twice as well as Biffle. The individuals with the most effective ordinary finish below over that time duration are Kasey Kahne (7th-place finishing average, though he’s only run right here three times), Johnson (7.71 ), Carl Edwards (8th, though he’s just run below two times), Jamie McMurray (11.4 ), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11.4) and 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 really, excellent at Darlington. He swept this joint in 2004, as well as came seventh right here last spring. In fact, in the last 4 years at Darlington, Johnson has actually stopped working to complete in the top-10 specifically as soon as. Do not stress over method rates, don’t stress over qualifying. When the time comes for him to make a move, look out. Plus, it’s worth noting that Hendrick autos have actually won 4 of the last 6
occasions at Darlington. That need to make you thinking about Jeff Gordon (8-1) (that’s won at this track 6 times), Kyle Busch (13-1) and also 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 finished fourth after not having an excellent vehicle in the race’s 2nd half. Like he’s done numerous times this year, the Biff came out of eviction with guns blazing, and led a lots of laps early, but like in other races this year, he diminished a high cliff, and appeared like he would certainly battle merely to lol track dodgers remain in the top-10. Lo and also see, though, Biffle had the ability to locate some intestines and also dig in, registering his very first top-five of a season in which he was believed to be a severe hazard to win the factors title. He’s obtained a long method to visit make the Chase, however I think Darlington’s moving style matches him maybe much better than any individual on the circuit.
Take Kasey Kahne (9-1), 1/3rd device. I in fact was tempted 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 method in which he stayed out while everybody else changed tires. He’s never ever won below, yet he’s got four top-fives in the last 6 Darlington events. The problem with Newman is he doesn’t seem to be able to obtain comfy with the Dodge Battery Charger, with Kurt Busch (13-1) as his teammate, or with certifying, which he made use of to control. So instead, I’m mosting likely to choose Kahne, that in his 3 Darlington events has actually logged a third, a fifth as well as a 13th. I like the Dodge horse power, I assume Kahne is a reputable risk to make the Chase and endanger for the title, and I’m remembering his efficiencies at the high-banked tracks at Atlanta and Texas. Now, 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 and driven Darlington, you understand that Turn 2 comes with you like Oprah Winfrey on a steamroller), as well as obviously the track surface areas are extremely different, yet the banking is similar. Possibly Kahne gets it together and uploads his 3rd win of the year.