THE RACE: Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

Nextel Cup Race #5 of 36 for the 2004 Nextel Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race

  • Race: Sunday, March 21, 2004 in Darlington, SC

  • TV: FOX - 1:00pm/et

  • Race Re-Air: on Speed Channel
    Wednesday, March 24th [Fast Forward] at 4:00pm/et;
    Thursday, March 25th [Full race] at 3:00pm/et;
    Friday, March 26th [Fast Forward] at 12:00am/et

  • Announcers: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds

  • Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes, Jeanne Zelasko

  • Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond

  • NASCAR on TV and Fox Sports

  • Purse/Race Awards: $4,551,592 (was $3,922,407 in 2003)


  • 2003 Race Winner: Ricky Craven, 126.214mph, started 31st

  • Track Race Record: Dale Earnhardt, Mar 1993, 139.958mph

  • Event Race Record: Jeff Gordon, Sept 1998, 139.031mph

  • Slowest Race Record: Fonty Flock, Sept 1952, 74.512mph

  • Most Wins - Active Driver: Jeff Gordon, 6

  • Most Wins - All Time: David Pearson, 10

  • Most Poles - Active Driver: Bill Elliott, 5

  • Most Poles - All Time: David Pearson, 12

  • Most Wins - Owner: Junior Johnson, 10; Rick Hendrick, 9

  • Most Top 5s: 25 - Richard Petty

  • Most Top 10s: 35 - Bill Elliott

  • Oldest Winner: Harry Gant, 51 years, 7 months, 22 days, Sept 1991

  • Youngest Winner: Terry Labonte, 23 years, 9 months, 16 days, Sept 1980

  • Most Laps Led [500 miles]: Johnny Mantz, Sept 1950, 351 laps [of 367]

  • Most Laps Led [400 miles]: Richard Petty, April 1966, 281 laps [of 293]

  • Most Cautions: 15, March 1995

  • Most Caution Laps: 101, Sept 1974

  • Fewest Cautions: 0, Sept 1963

  • Fewest Caution Laps: 0, Sept 1963

  • Most Finishers on the Lead Lap: 23, Sept 2002

  • Race Won from the Pole: 19 of 99 [19%]

  • Race Won from the Top 10: 87 of 99 [88%]

  • Race Won from the Top 15: 94 of 99 [95%]

  • Race Won from outside the Top 10: 12 of 99 [12%]

  • Other Winning Starting Spots [5]: 23rd - 1; 31st -1; 37th - 2; 43rd - 1

  • Worst Starting Spot to Win: Johnny Mantz, Sept 1950, started 43rd [75 started, 3 abreast]

  • Most Wins by a Manufacturer: 34, Chevrolet

  • Forty-two drivers have posted Bud Poles at Darlington

  • A total of 40 drivers have won NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Darlington

    Practice Dates/Times/TV

  • Practice: Friday, March 19th, 11:20am - 1:20pm/et; Saturday, March 20th, 9:30 - 10:15am/et.

  • Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, March 20th, 11:10 - 11:55am/et on TV-FX tape delay at 3:00pm/et.

    Qualifying Info

  • Qualifying Draw: Friday, March 19th, 10:20am/et

  • Qualfying Order: - Subway 400 qualifying order or Subway 400 qualifying order -

  • Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-38, Friday, March 19th at 3:00pm/et, TV-Speed Channel and live via MRN Radio, XM Satellite Radio and via's Racecast (paid). Re-aired on Speed Channel at 10:00pm.

  • NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Winston Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).

  • Race/Event Qualifying Record: Kenny Irwin Jr, September 1999, 170.970mph

  • Track Qualifying Record: Ward Burton, Mar 1996, 173.797mph

  • 2003's Pole Sitter: Elliott Sadler, 170.147, finished 7th.

  • Track Specs:
    Track/Race Length: 1.366 egg-shaped oval, 367 laps, 501.3 miles
    Banking: Turns 1/2 - 25 degrees, width 79 ft; Turns 3/4 - 23 degrees, width 62 ft; Front - 3 degrees, Back - 2 degrees.
    Frontstretch 1,229 ft long, 90 ft wide;
    Backstretch - 1,229 ft long, 90 ft wide
    Pit Road: Length: 2,025 feet, Width: 46 feet
    Speed Limits: Pace Car - 50 mph, Pit Road - 45 mph
    Track Repaved in late 1995
    Grandstand Seating: 65,000

  • Track Homepage: Darlington Raceway

  • Last Year: see my 2003 Darlington - Race 1 Info Page.


    Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

    Number of Tires Required:
    Nextel Cup: Left - 2,500, Right - 2,500;
    Busch Series: Left - 600, Right - 600

    Tire Codes: Left - D-6822; Right - D-6824

    Tire Circumference: Left - 87.3 in.; Right - 88.6 in.

    Technical Inspection Inflation:
    Left Front - 26 psi; Left Rear - 26 psi;
    Right Front - 40 psi; Right Rear - 38 psi

    Minimum Recommended Inflation:
    Left Front - 20 psi; Left Rear - 20 psi;
    Right Front - 36 psi; Right Rear - 33 psi

    Estimated Pit Window: Every 62-66 laps, based on fuel mileage.

    Notes: This is the first time this specific combination of left- and right-side tires will be used in at Darlington . . . the previous tire recommendation had been run at the track since March 2001 . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will compete on the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the second time this season Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams have run on this combination, the first being at Rockingham several weeks ago . . . as on all NASCAR ovals longer than one mile, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Darlington . . . inner liner inflation should be 12-25 psi higher than that of the outer tire.

    Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development: "Darlington provides the first opportunity for teams to run a tire set-up they have already competed on this year. This is the same combination we brought to Rockingham a few weeks back, so teams should have a pretty good idea what to expect. As far as tires are concerned - as always at a Darlington or a Rockingham - the roughness of the track surface will wear the tires very quickly. Again, since the surface is the same as in the past, and the tire is the same as we ran last month at Rockingham, there should be no surprises this weekend."


  • The NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus is $20,000 at Darlington Raceway for leading the points and winning the race (Matt Kenseth last won the award, $30,000 at Las Vegas on March 7, 2004). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(3-16-2004)



none listed

news and links

  • Darlington Race Notes:
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at the Darlington Raceway, scoring his seventh career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 80th career start. His last victory came at New Hampshire in September 2003, 14 races ago. This was his third top-five finish in five races in 2004
    * Johnson became the 41st different race winner at Darlington.
    * Johnson became the eighth different winner in the last eight races at Darlington.
    * This is Johnson's. first victory in five races at Darlington Raceway.
    * Johnson scored his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Darlington.
    * Johnson is the third different race winner in 2004.
    * Matt Kenseth (31st) remained the point leader by 21 over now second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr..
    * Johnson led 69 laps in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, second only to Kurt Busch, who led 76 the most of the day.
    * This race was the third victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has two victories this season and Dodge still is seeking it's first of the season.
    * Bobby Labonte (second) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. It marked his 10th top-10 finish in 23 races at Darlington. It was his best finish since he finished first at Homestead last November. This was the first time in 2004 that Labonte led a race. He led 18 laps.
    * Ryan Newman (third) scored his third top-10 finish in 2004. It marked his third top-five finish in five races at Darlington. It was his best finish since he finished third at Phoenix last November.
    * Robby Gordon (fourth) scored his first top-10 finish in 2004. It was his first finish better than 17th in nine races at Darlington. It was his best finish since he finished first at Watkins Glen last August.
    * Elliott Sadler (fifth) scored his third top-10 finish in 2004. It was his fourth top-10 finish in his last five races at Darlington.
    * Kurt Busch (sixth) scored his third top-10 finish in 2004. This was third top-10 finish in his last four races at Darlington.
    * Mark Martin (seventh) scored his second top-10 finish in 2004. Martin has climbed from 43rd to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2004. Only Kenseth and Earnhardt Jr. have each scored four top-10 finishes in the first five races in 2003 This was his third top-10 finish in nine races at Darlington.
    * Rookie Kasey Kahne (13th) was the highest finishing rookie for the fourth time in five races in 2004.
    * Michael Waltrip has finished 38th, 33rd, 37th, 23rd and 35th in the first five races of 2004. Waltrip ranks 37th in the current point standings, his worst start to a season in his 18-year career.
    * Terry Labonte (19th) has been running at the finish in the last 47 straight races, a streak that began at Charlotte in October 2002.
    * The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader bonus will be worth $30,000 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-22-2004)

  • Johnson wins at Darlington: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway fior his first win of 2004 and his first win at Darlington. #18-Bobby Labonte finished 2nd. The rest of the top five were #12-Newman, #31-Gordon and #38-Sadler. Pole sitterm #9-Kasey Kahne spun twice but ended up 13th. Points Leader #17-Matt Kenseth had some troubles and aa penalty and ended up 31st, four laps down, but maintains a slim points lead of 21 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 10th.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on Speed Channel
    Wednesday, March 24th [Fast Forward] at 4:00pm/et;
    Thursday, March 25th [Full race] at 3:00pm/et;
    Friday, March 26th [Fast Forward] at 12:00am/et.
    For race results, see:
    Jayski's Darlington Race Results Page

    Motorsports One or

  • So What Happened to Kenseth? Series points leader #17-Matt Kenseth was involved in an accident on Lap 161 that collected six cars in Turn 1, but Kenseth's problems grew worse when he was assessed a one-lap penalty for passing cars under caution. Kenseth had to pit while pit road was closed immediately following his incident, and was sent to the end of the longest line. While the rest of the lead-lap cars went to pit road, it appeared Kenseth would take over the lead if he stayed out. But while he passed the cars that had pitted, NASCAR assessed the penalty. Kenseth's crew chief, Robbie Reiser, became involved in a heated confrontation with several NASCAR officials after the incident. "It seems these days you need a rule book for every race track we go to, but I don't know what the rule was and I don't really know what happened," Reiser said. "The penalty for pulling up to pit - we didn't pit. So, whatever you want to tell us, I'm sure I'll understand it after they get done with me." NASCAR's Jim Hunter said since Kenseth was assessed a penalty, he was never the race leader during the caution. "The fact is he passed some cars, and you cannot pass people under caution," Hunter said. Kenseth's damage ended up being more extensive and he required several pit stops later in the race and finished 31st.( and more at Speed Channel)(3-22-2004)

  • The Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway:
    The UNOFFICIAL Top Ten (start pos in parens), lap leaders, cars out, cautions and some notes
    after 293 of 293 laps:
    car#, driver, starting spot
    #48-Johnson (11)(69 laps led)
    #18-Labonte (12)(18 laps led)
    #12-Newman (6)(39 laps led)
    #31-Gordon (29)
    #38-Sadler (10)

    #97-Busch (4)(76 laps led)
    #6-Martin (20)
    #29-Harvick (23)
    #19-Mayfield (18)
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. (2)(18 laps led)

    Points leader: #17-Kenseth finished 31st, 4 laps down

    Cars on the lead lap: 19 (of 43 starters)
    Off track/out of race (10):
    #09-Ruttman (vibration-out);
    #80-Hillenburg (accident-out)
    #24-Gordon (accident-out)
    #98-Bodine (rear end-out);
    #72-Shelmerdine (too slow-out)
    #89-Shepherd (brakes-out)
    #02-Belmont (brakes-out)
    #32-Craven (accident-out);
    #15-Waltrip (accident-out);
    #45-Petty (engine-out);

    Laps Leaders Unofficial (12 with 22 lead changes):
    #9-Kahne (24 lap led);
    #16-Biffle (3);
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. (18);
    #98-Bodine (2);
    #12-Newman (39);
    #97-Busch (76 most led);
    #89-Shepherd (2);
    #42-McMurray (40);
    #48-Johnson (69);
    #40-Marlin (1);
    #18-Labonte (18);
    #20-Stewart (1);
    Breaks the record for most leaders in the spring event.

    Cautions: 9 for 58 laps

    Caution 9 - Laps 284 - 289: #9-Kahne and #20-Stewart got together in turn 3 after the 8th caution green flag.
    Caution 8 - Laps 276 - 282: #45-Petty lost an engine.
    Caution 7 - Laps 232 - 238: Debris on the track from #21-Rudd who cut down a tire.
    Caution 6 - Laps 185 - 190: Debris on the track.
    Caution 5 - Laps 162 - 169: #17-Kenseth may have had a tire go down, slowed down, got tagged by #21-Rudd. #32-Craven, #10-Riggs, #41-Mears and #25-Vickers got involved and all got varying degrees of damage to their cars. Craven's car is badly damaged.
    Caution 4 - Laps 146 - 151: #9-Kahne lost a right rear tire and spun around.
    Caution 3 - Laps 54 - 59: Trash bag blowing out on the track.
    Caution 2 - Laps 29 - 35: #80-Hillenburg got loose after #20-Stewart got into him, spun and hit the wall, #24-Gordon t-boned Hillenburg as he had no place to go, Gordon was on the brakes. Gordon's car is heavily damaged. Both drivers walked away ok.
    Caution 1 - Laps 10 - 14: #15-Waltrip got loose, smacked the wall, #89-Shepherd hit Waltrip, both drove off, but a lot of damage to the #15.

    Who got a lap back on each caution at Darlington - The Lucky Dog Pack?: (and their finish)
    Caution 9: #5-Labonte, 19th
    Caution 8: #41-Mears, 15th
    Caution 7: #0-Burton, 18th
    Caution 6: #29-Harvick, 8th
    Caution 5: #12-Newman, 3rd
    Caution 4: #8-Earnhardt Jr., 10th
    Caution 3: none, no one a lap down that are running
    Caution 2: #02-Belmont, 37th
    Caution 1: none, no one a lap down.(3-21-2004)

    RACE NOTES: (as noted heard on TV or Radio)
    ---- a few leaders who are towards the rear of the lead lap cars, came in to pit during the 9th caution, #0-Burton,#20-Stewart, #41-Mears, #9-Kahne, #5-Labonte.
    ---- on lap 252, #42-McMurray had to come in as he had a bad vibration, had a loose wheel.
    ---- #17-Kenseth had to pit on lap 203 as he had a loose or broken wheel, lost two more laps.
    ---- #2-Wallace and #0-Burton got together in turn two right after caution 5, both drove on with Wallace lost a bunch of spots.
    ---- #17-Kenseth took the lead during the 5th caution but NASCAR ruled he pitted before pit road was open and he passed illegally on the track, so they penalized Kenseth 1 lap.
    ---- #12-Newman came in hot and almost lost it entering pit road and slid a bit hitting a cone, #9-Kahne was behind Newman, saw what happened and drove on instead of pitting. Newman was penalized a pass-thru penalty.
    ---- green flag pit stops occurred around laps 108-125 range.
    ---- #15-Waltrip and #45-Petty brought their cars back out during the 3rd caution around lap 59.
    ---- on the re-start after the 2nd caution, #8-Earnhardt Jr got a tad into #9-Kahne who went up the track and lost many positions, Dale Jr. was told by NASCAR to calm down.
    ---- all the leaders came into pit during the first caution, #16-Biffle didn't put and took the lead.
    ---- to the back: none

  • Where did the top 10 starters finish at Darlington?
    #9-Kahne, 13th
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 10th
    #16-Biffle, 12th
    #97-Busch, 6th
    #50-Cope, 25th
    #12-Newman, 3rd
    #2-Wallace, 29th
    #20-Stewart, 17th
    #24-Gordon, 41st accident
    #38-Sadler, 5th

  • TOP FIVE [unofficial] DRIVERS POINTS after 293 of 293 laps at Darlington:
    #17-Kenseth, 743
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 722, -21
    #20-Stewart, 708, -35
    #97-Busch, 687, -56
    #9-Kahne, 679, -64
    See full standings at:
    Jayski's Driver/Owners Points Standings after Darlington page

  • For qualifying results/starting lineup, see Jayski's Darlington Qualifying Page - click here or goto , MotorsportsOne or

  • What is a "Darlington stripe" Slang term for the black marks resulting from scrapes with the wall at the 1.366-mile track where the high lane is the fastest. Might be called the "SAFER stripe" this weekend after the addition of the energy-absorbing barriers.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-17-2004)

  • Happy Hour Practice at Darlington Raceway is over, the fastest were:
    #6-Martin, 166.298
    #22-Wimmer, 165.950
    #2-Wallace, 165.487
    #12-Newman, 165.103
    #16-Biffle, 165.059
    Slowest were #02-Belmont at 151.181 and #31-Gordon at 157.625. No speeds listed for #80-Hillenburg, #72-Shelmerdine and #89-Shepherd.
    Most laps run were by #6-Martin with 65 and #22-Wimmer at 63.
    See speeds at or

  • First Saturday Practice is over for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. The fastest were:
    #12-Newman, 166.523
    #42-McMurray, 166.326
    #9-Kahen, 166.073
    #41-Mears, 166.068
    #6-Martin, 165.760
    Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 150.110 and #80-Hillenberg at 151.423. #98-Bodine and #02-Belmont didn't practice.
    Speeds can be seen at or

  • First Saturday Practice is over for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. The fastest were:
    #12-Newman, 166.523
    #42-McMurray, 166.326
    #9-Kahen, 166.073
    #41-Mears, 166.068
    #6-Martin, 165.760
    Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 150.110 and #80-Hillenberg at 151.423. #98-Bodine and #02-Belmont didn't practice.(3-20-2004)

  • Darlington Qualifying Notes: #9-Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, lapping Darlington Raceway in 28.638 seconds at 171.716 mph. Ward Burton holds the track-qualifying record of 28.295 seconds, 173.797 mph - set March 22, 1996.

    * This is Kahne's second career Bud Pole in five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His other Bud Pole came at Las Vegas, two races ago.

    * It is Kahne's career-first start at Darlington.

    * Kahne became the eighth different Bud Pole winner in the last eight qualifying sessions at Darlington. Qualifying was rained out for the spring of 2001 and the fall of 2002.

    * Dale Earnhardt Jr., had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.732 seconds at 171.154 mph and will join Kahne on the front row. It is his fourth top-10 start in 2004 and his second in nine races at Darlington.

    * This is fourth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Ford has one Bud Pole while Chevrolet and Pontiac still seeks their first of the season.

    * Greg Biffle (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 2004 and his second in three races at Darlington.

    * Kurt Busch (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third in seven races at Darlington.

    * Derrike Cope (fifth) posted his first top-10 start since he started sixth at Atlanta on Nov. 8, 1998. It is his best start since he scored his only career Bud Pole at Atlanta on Oct. 4, 1998. It is his third top-10 start in 24 races at Darlington.

    * Michael Waltrip, Johnny Benson, Kirk Shelmerdine and Andy Belmont used provisionals to make the field while Andy Hillenburg relied on attempts to complete the 43-car field. One driver failed to qualify for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400: Stanton Barrett.

    * This was the first qualifying session in which provisionals were based on 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner points.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-20-2004)

  • Kahne wins pole at Darlington: #9-Kasey Kahne won the pole for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway with a speed of 171.716mph. It is Kahne's 2nd pole of 2004 and 2nd in 3 races. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [I hear he is popular] will start 2nd, his best start at Darlington, with a speed of 171.716mph. The rest of the top five are: #16-Biffle, #97-Busch and SURPRISE, #50-Derrike Cope, who was on the pole for a bit, Jayski advertsior,, is supposedly still trying to sponsor Cope. Missing the race was one drive, #94-Stanton Barrett. Provisionals go to #15-Waltrip [didn't make a lap], #09-Ruttman, #72-Shelmerdine, #02-Belmont and #80-Hillenburg gets in by attempts as he had no provisionals avaialble until he attempts his 4th race.
    For qualifying results, see Jayski's Darlington Qualifying Page - click here or goto , MotorsportsOne or

  • Friday Practice for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway is over. The fastest were:
    #12-Newman, 168.766
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 159.672
    #9-Kahne, 169.561
    #18-Labonte, 169.543
    #16-Biffle, 169.141
    slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 145.763 and #80-Hillenburg at 149.535. Larry Gunselman is listed in the #98.
    See speeds at or

  • Qualifying Order links are up. 44 drivers are listed, with #38-Sadler scheduled out first and #19-Jeremy Mayfield scheduled out last. See above for the links.(3-19-2004)

  • 44 Cars Entered at Darlington Raceway for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, including: #02-Andy Belmont, #09-Joe Ruttman, #72-Kirk Shelmerdine, #80-Andy Hillenburg, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #94-Stanton Barrett [in the Bojango's Chevy] and #98-Larry Gunselman.(3-16-2004)
    AND The tentative entry list for this weekend's Darlington Raceway event is out and shows that 44 cars will attempt to make the Cup race. Stanton Barrett and Larry Gunselman are names that stand out among the entries. It should be noted that this event marks the first where 2004 owner points will be used to determine various NASCAR programs, including provisional starting spots and team hauler parking spots. Until this event these items were based on 2003 points.(Ford Racing)(3-19-2004)

  • Entry List Links at:

  • Some Darlington Notes:

    * Darlington is the site of the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (Grand National) race to be held on a paved raceway and the first 500-mile race on September 4, 1950. The track then measured 1.25 miles.

    * The spring race at Darlington became a 400-mile event in 1994.

    * The track configuration was reversed prior to the second race in 1997

    * There have been seven different race winners in the last seven races at Darlington

    * There have been seven different Bud Pole winners in the nine races at Darlington since September 1999. Qualifying was rained out in the spring of 2001 and fall of 2002.

    * 2002 Rookie-of-the-Year contenders Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in their career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington's the 2002 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Only four other active drivers posted top-10 finishes in their Darlington debut: Bill Elliott (10th - September 1977), Terry Labonte (fourth - September 1978), Tony Stewart (sixth - March 1999) and Mark Martin (seventh - April 1982)

    * Ricky Rudd has 54 starts at Darlington Raceway, leading all other active drivers

    * Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader lead all full-time, active drivers, each with three Bud Poles at Darlington

    * Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers each with six victories at Darlington Raceway

    * Mark Martin has posted 14 top-five finishes at Darlington, more than any other full-time, active driver

    * Ricky Rudd has posted 25 top-10 finishes at Darlington, more than any other full-time, active driver

    * Jeff Gordon has a 6.3 average start in 22 starts at Darlington, the best of all full-time, active drivers with more than 10 starts there

    * Ryan Newman has a 4.50 average start in four starts at Darlington, the best of all active drivers

    * Jeff Burton has an average finish of 11.20 in 20 races at Darlington, the best of all active drivers with more than five starts there

    * Ryan Newman has a 11.0 average finish in four starts at Darlington, the best of all active drivers

    * Jeff Gordon has a led 1,378 laps at Darlington, the most of all active drivers and almost 500 more than his closest active competitor, Jeff Burton (786)

    * Elliott Sadler (10) is the only active driver that has competed in more than five Darlington races without posting a DNF there

    * Only 12 races at Darlington have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. Three of the past seven Darlington races have been won from outside the top 30 starting positions, including the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, which Ricky Craven won from the 31st starting position

    * Matt Kenseth moved into the point lead at Las Vegas. He has been ranked in the top 10 in points for 39 consecutive races - since Rockingham (February 2003), the longest active streak in the top 10

    * In spite of having four to the five fastest qualifying runs for the Daytona 500, a Ford led only two laps in the season-opening Daytona 500 (both by Matt Kenseth)

    * Dodge posted five of the top-10 finishes at Rockingham, yet trailed both Chevrolet and Ford by a point in the manufacturers' championship race

    * Las Vegas was the first race this season that had all three manufacturers' finish in the top- three

    * Ford has led 391 laps in 2004 - 384 by Matt Kenseth and all by Jack Roush Racing. Kyle Busch (four), Greg Biffle (two) and Jeff Burton (one) are the other Ford drivers to lead this season

    * Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart have all led a lap in three of the first four races this season.(3-16-2004)

  • No Racing to the Caution Rule and Q&A

  • Jayski's - 2004 Winston Cup Race Results Page

  • How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph

  • How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers).

  • Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these sites:


  • NASCAR to 'give' tires: NASCAR will give teams an extra set of tires for Friday's practice at Darlington this week, because no one has been able to test there while the new soft walls have been installed.(Winston Salem Journal), rumor had that the teams would be allowed to come Thursday and practice if they wished, guess that will not happen.(3-15-2004)

  • Drivers concerned about SAFER at Darlington, could test a day earlier: Drivers have expressed concern that the newly installed SAFER barriers at Darlington, a 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, will eliminate the existing groove. The barrier juts out 30 inches into the track. Jeff Gordon is in favor of the SAFER barriers, but he says moving the walls before installing the barriers would have been a better option. "But I'd rather have it than not have it, so we'll just deal with it," Gordon says. "We do brush the wall there, which I don't think is a real issue. I wouldn't mind it being a little bit softer when I rub up against it." The narrower groove will make racing tighter and passing more difficult. Because the racing conditions are expected to change so dramatically, NASCAR president Mike Helton says the organization is considering allowing teams to come in a day early to test.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-8-2004)

  • No Testing at Darlington: Teams won't be able to test at Darlington because the track is installing SAFER barriers in time for the spring race weekend, March 19-21. Indianapolis was the first track to install the barriers. Daytona and Talladega plan to install them before their next races.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News), gonna be a lot of Darlington 'stripes' in March.(3-1-2004)

  • Darlington to install SAFER: Darlington Raceway officials announced today that installation of SAFER barriers at the historic track is under way. A recent announcement by NASCAR stated that all facilities hosting NEXTEL Cup Series events would be equipped with the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system by January 2005. "Our goal is to have the SAFER barrier up at every track where it's recommended by the experts by 2005,'' said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development. Darlington joins Richmond, Phoenix, Homestead-Miami, New Hampshire and Indianapolis on the list of tracks with the SAFER system. Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway have announced plans to have the barriers in place in time for their upcoming events in April and July. The SAFER barriers' installation at Darlington will be completed in time for the spring event, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 weekend, coming up March 19-21. Dean Sicking headed the University of Nebraska team that developed the SAFER barrier, which absorbs some of the energy in a crash, lessening the impact for a driver. The barrier is made up of steel tubes and pads of hard foam and is affixed to the concrete wall. In 2003, Dr. Sicking and the University of Nebraska were honored as the recipients of NASCAR's Award of Excellence for their work. "Safety is of paramount importance in our sport, and we are pleased to be installing the SAFER barrier at Darlington Raceway," said Andrew Gurtis, president of Darlington Raceway.(Darlington Raceway PR)(2-24-2004)

  • Latest Darlington rumor: When the lights go up, the Labor Day date comes back and everyone wins. California can have Darlington's new November date -- making the big L.A. market part of the 10-race title chase -- and the Southern 500 returns to its traditional weekend. Why would they be putting up lights at Darlington for either of its two cool-weather events? It's such a perfect solution, you kinda figure it's not true.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-21-2004)

  • SAFER hard to install at Darlington: Darlington Raceway was built in 1949 and is considered the most peculiar track on the NASCAR circuit, an oval with one end wider than the other, a slight kink in one of the corners, and a racing groove that sometimes runs just inches from the wall. Those idiosyncrasies have endeared themselves to fans and drivers who love great racing. But they present headaches for engineers at the University of Nebraska's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, developers of the crash-softening SAFER wall barriers NASCAR is trying to add to every track. The Steel and Foam Energy-Reduction barrier, a combination of steel tubes and polystyrene foam designed to absorb impact energy during an accident, is used at six facilities that host Nextel Cup events. Daytona International Speedway, which hosts Sunday's Daytona 500, plans to have the barrier in place before its July event. NASCAR officials want the "soft wall" system up at every track where it's practical by January of 2005. Dr. Dean Sicking, director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, will admit that Darlington is problematic. But he doesn't think the implementation of the SAFER barrier at the 1.3-mile Pee Dee facility is impossible. "We're in the process of looking at all of the high-speed ovals, and that would include Darlington," Sicking said Monday from his office in Lincoln, Neb. "Darlington is quirky. It has some problems. It may not be first up. But I think it's certainly on the radar screen." Asked if Darlington had been ruled out for SAFER use, Sicking said, "Absolutely not." While Sicking wouldn't go into specific detail about the problems Darlington presents, he said the 54-year-old facility has some hurdles in common with other NASCAR venues. At some tracks, the concrete walls to be covered by the SAFER barrier are too short. At others, the part of the wall to be covered by the SAFER barrier, or the transition areas where the barrier begins and ends, may interfere with the racing line. The latter problem is particularly evident at Darlington, where cars run right up against the wall. There's also a slight kink in the wall exiting Turn 2, which cars often make contact with while coming out of the corner, lasting evidence of Brasington's primitive method of engineering. "At some tracks -- and I think Darlington would fall into this category -- the barrier is going to severely affect the racing lines, and we've got to be very careful about where we put it, and how the transitions work," Sicking said. "Because the closer you are to the racing line, the more important the transitions are. Some of the walls, the radius changes a lot, so there's not a constant radius. These are just all complications that have to be overcome, but it just makes the installation more complicated and a little more time-consuming."
    While NASCAR wants its tracks to use the system, the implementation is being left up to the individual track owners. Darlington is owned by International Speedway Corp., a track conglomerate run by the same France family that runs NASCAR. Of the six tracks that currently employ the SAFER barrier, four -- Richmond, Phoenix, Talladega and Homestead-Miami -- are owned by ISC.(Charleston Post and Courier)(2-10-2004)

  • Dodge Six-Pack is Back: The Dodge Six-Pack, one of the most popular ticket packages ever created for race fans, returns to Darlington Raceway in 2004 by popular demand. The promotion will officially kick off during the Saturday, February 7 MRN broadcast of the Budweiser Shootout, and will be available until the checkered flag falls at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 15, or while they last. The Dodge Six-Pack is a unique opportunity designed to offer fans an affordably-priced opportunity to attend Darlington Raceway's spring fling event, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on Sunday, March 21. The package includes six reserved grandstand seats for the race. Total cost for the Six-Pack is $150. The Dodge Six-Pack will get an added push from John Boy and Billy. The popular syndicated radio talk show personalities are among NASCAR's biggest supporters. Darlington Raceway president Andrew Gurtis will talk about the track "Too Tough To Tame" during a call-in interview with John Boy and Billy on February 12, and the track will sponsor on-air promotions all week long. The Dodge Six-Pack will be available February 7 through February 15 only, or while they last. Quantities are extremely limited. The package, which costs $150, includes six seats for the home of the closest finish in NASCAR history, the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, on Sunday, March 21 at Darlington Raceway.
    The Dodge Six-Pack is only available by calling the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 1.866.459.RACE (7223). This offer is not available online. For more information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, call 843.395.8499, or log onto PR)(2-6-2004)

  • Newman on Darlington pole ticket: Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 ALLTEL Dodge for Penske Racing is featured on the collectible pole day ticket for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 weekend, coming up March 19-21 at Darlington Raceway. Newman led all drivers by earning 11 pole positions during the 2003 racing season. In March of 2003, Newman earned the second-place starting position at Darlington behind polesitter Elliott Sadler, then returned in August to win the top starting spot for the final Labor Day running of the legendary Mountain Dew Southern 500, his first Darlington pole position in NASCAR's premier Series. For more information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, including Bud Pole qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series on Friday, March 19; the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 20; and the 48th running of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on Sunday, March 21, contact the Raceway ticket hotline at 843.395.8499, or log onto Raceway PR)(2-3-2004)

  • Darlington Tix on sale: Tickets for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, March 21, 2004 at Darlington Raceway, will go on sale to the general public on Friday, December 5 - just in time for the holidays. Darlington Raceway's spring event, the first of the legendary track's two annual NASCAR Nextel Cup Series weekends, is widely considered to the be the more "rough and tumble" of the two races. Friday, March 19, 2004 will feature Bud Pole Qualifying for both the NASCAR Busch and Nextel Cup Series, followed by the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 20. On Sunday, March 21, the stars of NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series will tackle the track "Too Tough To Tame" for the 102nd time in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. For tickets or more information on upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, call the Raceway ticket hotline at 843.395.8499, or log onto the Darlington Raceway site)(12-5-2003)

  • Darlington loses cover, gaining lights: The most tangible sign of lights coming to Darlington Raceway is the removal of the roof of the Brasington Grandstand, the second-oldest covered grandstand in Winston Cup racing behind one at Indianapolis. The roof was removed last week, and a crane has been brought in to take down the roof support. Musco Lighting, the Iowa company doing the work, had to remove the roof to ensure even lighting of the track. "The roof is so close to the racetrack that Musco cannot get light on the track from the outside," said track superintendent Sammie Yarborough, cousin to three-time Winston Cup champion Cale. "You've got to have light balanced from both sides. They tried everything they could figure and couldn't do it, so we didn't have any choice." The track will eventually be ringed by 74 light poles, including 47 exterior poles ranging from 90 to 120 feet high, and 27 more that will rise 30 to 40 feet above the grandstands. Running along the inside of the track will be 212 reflectors that will direct light onto the racing surface. It's the same setup Musco has used to light a number of other Winston Cup venues, including those in Daytona Beach and Charlotte. On Oct. 27, 22 tractor-trailers will deliver the light poles, which will assembled on the ground. Cranes will then lift them into the foundations, where the tapered poles will lock into place. Although the sponsorship agreements announced Tuesday extend into 2006 and 2008, there's no guarantee Darlington will have a spring race beyond next season. Gurtis said the realignment issue did come up during negotiations.(Charleston Post and Courier)(10-15-2003)

  • Darlington Sponsors Re-up: On Tuesday, Raceway and Carolina Dodge Dealers Association officials announced that the spring 2004 Nextel (Winston) Cup Series race will continue as the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. The new contract runs for five years, through March 2008. The March 2004 race weekend carries a double sponsorship package. Track officials also announced today that Darlington-based company Diamond Hill Plywood will assume title sponsorship of the NASCAR Busch Series race. The Diamond Hill Plywood Co. 200 will be run on Saturday, March 20. The contract runs three years, through March 2006. Diamond Hill Plywood has sponsored Darlington's spring Busch Series event before, from 1997 to 1999. This time around, the company also plans to sponsor a golf tournament in conjunction with the race weekend. That event will be called the Diamond Hill Plywood Golf Classic. Darlington's spring race weekend kicks off on Friday, March 19, 2004 with Bud Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Saturday, March 20 will feature the Diamond Hill Plywood Co. 200 NASCAR Busch Series race, and Sunday, March 21 will feature the 48th running of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race. For tickets or more information on these or other upcoming events at Darlington Raceway, contact the ticket hotline at 843.395.8499, or log onto Raceway PR)(10-15-2003)

  • just curious so. . .weather info for Darlington, SC in Aug/Sept compared to Nov (1972-2000):
    August: Ave High Temp = 88.9F; Low = 69.8F; Precip = 5.35"
    September: Ave High Temp = 84.4F; Low = 64.3F; Precip = 4.11"
    November: Ave High Temp = 67.4F; Low = 43.7F; Precip = 2.91"
    So the weather in November sure looks a lot better for the Southern 500 then in late Aug/early Sept.

  • Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Darlington Raceway


  • See the 2004 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.



  • 46 and counting: after finishing the Cup race at Las Vegas, #5-Terry Labonte is now carrying a string of 46 consecutive races without a DNF (did not finish), the longest current streak in NEXTEL Cup. The modern-era record is 56 straight, set by Jeff Gordon in 2001-02. Labonte was one of only two drivers who completed all 36 races last season, the other being Kevin Harvick.(HMS PR)(3-16-2004)



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