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Statistical Advance: Analyzing the Bojangles’ Southern 500

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Darlington
Denny Hamlin……………………… 109.0
Kyle Larson………………………… 108.1
Erik Jones………………………….. 105.7
Kyle Busch…………………………. 104.5
Kevin Harvick……………………… 100.9
Martin Truex Jr……………………. 100.1
Brad Keselowski……………………. 98.1
Jimmie Johnson…………………….. 97.6
Ryan Newman………………………. 92.0
Joey Logano…………………………. 89.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2018 races (14 total) among active drivers at Darlington Raceway.

At Darlington Raceway:

History

  • Darlington Raceway was built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-1950.
  • Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950 – 75 cars competed in the event – Curtis Turner won the pole at 82.034 mph, and the race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph, 6:38:40).
  • The track was re-measured to 1.375 miles in 1953.
  • The track was re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race in 1970.
  • The track was repaved in 1995.
  • The 2005 race was the first Saturday night race at Darlington.
  • The track was repaved again prior to the 2008 season.
  • There have been 115 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races held at Darlington Raceway.

Starts

  • A total of 728 different drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway; 446 have competed in more than one.
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Darlington with 65.
  • Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch lead all active drivers in starts at Darlington with 22 each.
  • A total of 124 different drivers have made their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career debut at Darlington Raceway; the most recent was T.J. Bell (May 7, 2011). 
  • Fred Lorenzen (16 starts) leads the series in average starting position at Darlington with a 3.688. 
  • Erik Jones leads all active drivers in the series in average starting position at Darlington with an 8.5.

Poles

  • A total of 50 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at least one Busch Pole Award at Darlington Raceway; six are active this weekend.
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in Busch poles at Darlington with 12 – (1967, ’70, ’72, ’73 sweep, ’75 sweep, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’78 and ’82) – which is tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough (12 poles at Daytona) for the second-most poles all-time at a single track in the Monster Energy Series. Pearson also holds the series record with 14 poles at Charlotte.
  • Kurt Busch (2001, 2013) and Kevin Harvick (2014, 2017) lead all active drivers in Busch poles at Darlington with two each. 
  • Curtis Turner won the inaugural Busch Pole Award at Darlington in 1950 in an Oldsmobile with a speed of 82.034 mph.  
  • Nine drivers have won consecutive Busch poles at Darlington, but none are active this weekend.
  • David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Darlington with five (1975 – 1977).
  • Youngest Darlington pole winner: Kurt Busch (09/02/2001 – 23 years, 0 months, 29 days).
  • Oldest Darlington pole winner: David Pearson (09/06/1982 – 47 years, 8 months, 15 days).
  • Eight drivers have posted their first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole at Darlington Raceway.
  • A total of 12 different manufacturers have won at least one Busch pole in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
  • Ford leads the series in poles at Darlington with 43 poles; followed by Chevrolet (21), Mercury (13), Pontiac (10), Dodge (8), Buick (3), Oldsmobile (3), Plymouth (3), Toyota (2), Chrysler (1), Hudson (1) and Studebaker (1).

Wins

  • A total of 50 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Darlington Raceway, six are active this weekend.
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in victories at Darlington with 10 wins (1968, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’79, 80).
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with three wins (2004 sweep, 2012).  
  • Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950 – 75 cars competed in the event – race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph) and the event took 6 hours, 38 minutes and 40 seconds to complete.
  • Youngest Darlington winner: Kyle Busch (05/10/2008 – 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
  • Oldest Darlington winner: Harry Gant (09/01/1991 – 51 years, 7 months, 22 days).
  • Jimmie Johnson (three) and Denny Hamlin (two) are the only active multiple race winners at Darlington.  
  • Six drivers have posted their first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway: Johnny Mantz (1950), Nelson Stacy (1961), Larry Frank (1962), Terry Labonte (1980), Lake Speed (1988) and Regan Smith (2011).
  • Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins by an organization at Darlington in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 14 victories – Tim Richmond (1986), Ricky Rudd (1991), Jeff Gordon (1995, ’96 sweep, ’97, ’98, ’02, ’07), Terry Labonte (2003), Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep and 2012) and Mark Martin (2009).
  • A total of 11 different manufacturers have won in the series at Darlington; led by Chevrolet with 41 victories; followed by Ford (29), Mercury (10), Oldsmobile (six), Toyota (six), Dodge (five), Pontiac (five), Buick (four), Plymouth (four), Hudson (three) and American Motor Company (two).
  • 20 of the 115 (17.39%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway have been won from the Busch pole; the most recent was Kevin Harvick in 2014.
  • A total of 11 different drivers have won from the pole at Darlington; led by NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson with four wins (1971, 1972, 1976 sweep). Kevin Harvick is the only active driver to win from the pole (2014) at Darlington.  
  • The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Darlington. The outside front row (second-place) has produced the second-most wins (17).   
  • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Darlington is 43rd by Johnny Mantz in 1950 – the inaugural MENCS event.
  • 13 drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Darlington; Dale Earnhardt (1989-1990) and Jeff Gordon (1995-1996) are tied for the series-most in consecutive wins at Darlington with three each. 
  • Kurt Busch leads the series among active drivers with the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington without visiting Victory Lane at 22; followed by Ryan Newman with 20.

Additional Finishing Position Stats

  • A total of 59 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished runner-up at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty with eight second-place finishes each.
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in second-place finishes at Darlington with three; followed by Kevin Harvick with two.
  • A total of 139 different drivers have finished in the top-five at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty with 25 top-five finishes.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in top fives with nine; followed by Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman with seven each.  
  • A total of 224 different series drivers have posted top-10 finishes at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott with 35.
  • Ryan Newman leads all active series drivers with 13 top 10s; followed by Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson with 12 each.
  • Bob Burdick leads the Monster Energy Series in average finishing position at Darlington Raceway with a 3.0 in two starts.
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy Series in average finishing position at Darlington with a 6.154 in 13 starts.

Track/Event Specific Stats

  • Since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993, the closest margin of victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway is the March 16, 2003 race won by Ricky Craven with a margin of victory of 0.002 second over Kurt Busch.
  • Darlington’s 0.002 sec. margin of victory is tied with the 2011 Spring Talladega race as the closest finishes in the series using electronic scoring.
  • There have been four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with a NASCAR Overtime finish at Darlington Raceway.
  • Eight of the 115 races at Darlington Raceway have been shortened from their scheduled number of laps; the most recent was the fall race of 2000.
  • Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway six times: 1952, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2016.  

Lap Leader Stats

  • In total 161 different drivers in the Monster Energy Series have led at least one lap at Darlington Raceway.
  • Dale Earnhardt leads the Monster Energy Series in laps led at Darlington Raceway with 2,648 laps led in 44 series starts. Kyle Busch leads all active drivers with 598 laps led in 14 starts.

Female Competitor Stats

  • Three female drivers have competed at Darlington Raceway in the Monster Energy Series:

NASCAR in South Carolina

  • South Carolina has hosted a total of 304 NASCAR national series races among 10 different tracks.
  • The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race held in the state of South Carolina was at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 4, 1950 – the event was won by Johnny Mantz in a Plymouth.  

South Carolina In NASCAR

  • 138 different drivers have made at least one NASCAR national series start with their home state recorded as South Carolina.
  • 11 drivers from South Carolina have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; seven have won in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

 — NASCAR —