Saturday night at Darlington is about 2 points: used tires and also horsepower. The old track in South Carolina– alternately nicknamed The Woman In Black as well as The Track Too Difficult To Tame– is weather-beaten as well as gnarled, and also because of this, its surface area grinds up tires like nobody’s service. Take one lap around Darlington and you have actually already spoiled the tires you get on, and also if any person late in a race only takes two, you can be certain he’s headed directly to the back. The location is a high-banked 1.33-miler (25 as well as 23 levels of financial), suggesting torque is important, and also regardless of advances made by the Roush/Yates engine program, I still assume Dodge makes the cruelest engines.
Certainly, Darlington is likewise about a motorist’s ability to drive fast on worn tires. Any individual who can keep his auto method up in the track’s fastest groove– just millimeters from the wall– while gliding about on chewed-up Goodyears will be really quick Saturday night. It takes a consistent hand to move the automobile’s back side like that and also remain quick, which is why previous dirt-trackers like Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon are always an aspect below. And last year’s Darlington champion, Greg Biffle, most likely suches as to glide his cars and truck out of a turn greater than any chauffeur on the Electric Establish.
Darlington is, certainly, a one-event track now, which is type of unfortunate, because it’s a really enjoyable auto racing venue. Cars can pass, it’s feasible to come from behind (Sterling Marlin won from the 43rd beginning place back in 2002), as well as autos that are just moderate for the race’s first half can instantly stumble upon the best configuration and make stirring costs and also threaten for the win. This Mom’s Day event is a substitute for the traditional Labor Day weekend break Southern 500, as soon as one of the glamour races in the sporting activity. Make no mistake: this is a location where people intend to win.
Over the previous 4 years, winners at Darlington have included Marlin, Gordon, Ricky Craven in an impossibly exciting sway Kurt Busch, Terry Labonte, Jimmie Johnson twice as well as Biffle. The men with the most effective typical coating below over that time duration are Kasey Kahne (7th-place finishing average, though he’s just run right here 3 times), Johnson (7.71 ), Carl Edwards (8th, though he’s only run here two times), Jamie McMurray (11.4 ), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11.4) as well as Biffle (11.8 ). Let’s take a look at the men who I think represent the best bets Saturday night under the lights.
Take Jimmie Johnson (11-2), 1/3rd unit. Johnson is extremely, great at Darlington. He swept this joint in 2004, and came seventh here last spring. Actually, in the last 4 years at Darlington, Johnson has actually stopped working to complete in the top-10 specifically when. Don’t worry about practice speeds, don’t worry about qualifying. When the moment comes for him to make a step, watch out. And also, it’s worth keeping in mind that Hendrick cars and trucks have actually won four of the last six
occasions at Darlington. That ought to make you thinking about Jeff Gordon (8-1) (that’s won at this track 6 times), Kyle Busch (13-1) and perhaps even Brian Vickers (35-1). Well, okay, no. Most likely not Vickers.
Take Greg Biffle (6-1), 1/3rd system. I liked what I saw out of Biffle at Richmond last weekend break, when he completed fourth after not having a very good automobile in the race’s 2nd fifty percent. Like he’s done a number of times this year, the Biff appeared of eviction with guns blazing, and also led a lots of laps early, however like in various other races this year, he fell off a high cliff, and looked like he ‘d battle merely to stay in the top-10. Lo as well as see, though, Biffle had the ability to discover some guts and also dig in, registering his very first top-five of a season in which he was thought to be a severe risk to win the factors title. He’s obtained a lengthy method to visit make the Chase, however I believe Darlington’s sliding design suits him possibly much better than anyone on the circuit.
Take Kasey Kahne (9-1), 1/3rd unit. I in fact was tempted dodge tracker to take Ryan Newman (20-1) either in this area or in Biffle’s. Newman possibly would’ve won the Darlington race in 2005, but also for some horrible pit technique in which he stayed out while everybody else changed tires. He’s never ever won here, but he’s obtained 4 top-fives in the last 6 Darlington events. The trouble with Newman is he does not seem to be able to obtain comfy with the Dodge Charger, with Kurt Busch (13-1) as his teammate, or with certifying, which he used to dominate. So instead, I’m mosting likely to select Kahne, who in his three Darlington occasions has actually logged a 3rd, a fifth and also a 13th. I such as the Dodge horsepower, I think Kahne is a genuine hazard to make the Chase as well as intimidate for the title, and also I’m remembering his efficiencies at the high-banked tracks at Atlanta and also Texas. Currently, those are mile-and-a-half cookie cutters, as well as Darlington is anything however a cookie cutter (if you’ve ever played PlayStation NASCAR and driven Darlington, you understand that Turn 2 comes with you like Oprah Winfrey on a steamroller), and also undoubtedly the track surface areas are extremely various, but the financial is comparable. Maybe Kahne obtains it together as well as uploads his 3rd win of the year.