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Statistical Advance: Analyzing the Goodyear 400

Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina going into the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

Darlington Raceway Data

Season Race #: 12 of 36 (05-09-21)
Track Size: 1.366-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 25 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 23 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 6 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 6 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  1,229 feet
Backstretch Length:  1,229 feet
Race Length: 293 laps / 400 miles
Stage 1 Length: 90 laps
Stage 2 Length: 95 laps
Final Stage Length: 108 laps

Top 12 Driver Ratings at Darlington
Kyle Larson…………………………. 111.3
Denny Hamlin……………………… 106.8
Erik Jones…………………………… 105.7
Kevin Harvick………………………. 104.8
Kyle Busch…………………………. 102.8
Martin Truex Jr…………………….. 101.2
Brad Keselowski……………………. 98.4
Chase Elliott…………………………. 90.2
Joey Logano…………………………. 90.1
Kurt Busch……………………………. 88.9
Ryan Newman………………………. 87.6
William Byron………………………… 82.2
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2020 races (18 total) among active drivers at Darlington Raceway.

Darlington Raceway – Qualifying / Race Data

Track qualifying record:

Aric Almirola, Ford

184.145 mph, 26.705 secs. April 11, 2014

Track race record (500 miles):

Matt Kenseth, Toyota

141.383 mph, (03:32:45), May 11, 2013

2020 pole winner:

None – Qualifying By Random Draw

Brad Keselowski – Started 1st, May 17, 2020

2020 race winner:

Kevin Harvick, Ford

115.815 mph, (03:27:21), May 17, 2020

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). The race to 6 hours, 38 minutes, and 40 seconds to complete.
  • 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 has been a total of 119 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Darlington Raceway.

STARTS

  • A total of 741 different drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway; 461 drivers have competed in more than one race at Darlington.
  • 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 26 each.
  • A total of 124 different drivers have made their NASCAR Cup Series career debut at Darlington Raceway; the most recent was T.J. Bell (May 7, 2011). The best finish by a driver making their series debut at Darlington was fourth-place by NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte on September 4, 1979.
  • Fred Lorenzen (16 starts) leads the series in average starting position at Darlington with a 3.688.
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the series in average starting position at Darlington with an 8.8 in 17 starts.

Top 10 in Average Starting Position at Darlington Raceway (All-Time and Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Avg Start Races Rank Active Drivers Avg Start Races
1 Fred Lorenzen 3.688 16 1 Denny Hamlin 8.882 17
2 David Pearson 6.277 47 2 Brad Keselowski 9.571 14
3 Frank Mundy 6.667 3 3 Kyle Larson 9.667 6
4 Fonty Flock 7.000 8 4 Joey Logano 10.357 14
5 Jeff Gordon 7.000 36 5 Ryan Blaney 11.375 8
6 Scott Pruett 7.000 2 6 Ryan Newman 11.708 24
7 Dick Hutcherson 7.200 5 7 Kurt Busch 11.769 26
8 Fireball Roberts 7.200 20 8 Chase Elliott 12.625 8
9 Bob Burdick 7.500 2 9 William Byron 13.200 5
10 Pete Hamilton 7.600 5 10 Aric Almirola 13.818 11

POLES

  • A total of 51 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at least one pole at Darlington Raceway.
  • Six of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Darlington Raceway are active this weekend.
Rank Active Pole Winners (6) Poles
1 Kevin Harvick 2
2 Kurt Busch 2
3 Brad Keselowski 1
4 Denny Hamlin 1
5 Ryan Newman 1
6 William Byron 1
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in poles at Darlington with 12 – (1967, ’70, ’72, ’73 sweep, ’75 sweep, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’78 and ’82)
  • Pearson’s 12 Darlington poles are 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 NASCAR Cup 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 poles at Darlington with two each.
  • Curtis Turner won the inaugural Busch Pole Award at Darlington Raceway in 1950 in an Oldsmobile with a speed of 82.034 mph.
  • Nine drivers have won consecutive poles at Darlington, but none are active this weekend.
  • David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Darlington with five (1975 – 1977).
  • Eight drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Cup Series pole at Darlington Raceway.
First-Time Pole Winners Season Driver’s Age
Clint Bowyer 2007 27
Elliott Sadler 2003 27
Kurt Busch 2001 23
John Andretti 1995 32
Ken Schrader 1987 31
Bill Elliott 1981 25
Fred Lorenzen 1961 26
Cotton Owens 1957 33
  • Youngest Darlington pole winner: William Byron (Sept. 1, 2019 – 21 years, 9 months, 3 days).
  • Oldest Darlington pole winner: David Pearson (Sept. 6, 1982 – 47 years, 8 months, 15 days).
  • A total of 12 different manufacturers have won at least one pole in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
  • Ford leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Darlington Raceway with 43 poles; followed by Chevrolet (22), 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 51 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Darlington Raceway.
  • Six of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series race winners at Darlington Raceway are active this weekend.
Rank Active Race Winners Wins Seasons
1 Kevin Harvick 3 2020, 2020, 2014
2 Denny Hamlin 3 2020, 2017, 2010
3 Erik Jones 1 2019
4 Brad Keselowski 1 2018
5 Martin Truex Jr 1 2016
6 Kyle Busch 1 2008
  • 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); followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine and Jeff Gordon with seven.
  • Kevin Harvick (2020, 2020, 2014) and Denny Hamlin (2020, 2017, 2010) lead all active drivers in victories at Darlington with three wins each.
  • 13 drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Darlington; Dale Earnhardt (1989-1990) and Jeff Gordon (1995-1996) are tied for the series-most consecutive wins at Darlington with three each.
  • A total of 11 different drivers have won from the pole or first starting position 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.
  • 20 of the 119 (16.8%) NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway have been won from the pole; the most recent was Kevin Harvick in 2014.
  • 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).

NASCAR Cup Series Wins by Starting Positions at Darlington Raceway

Starting Position Wins Winning % Starting Position Wins Winning %
1 20 16.81% 11 3 2.52%
2 17 14.29% 12 1 0.84%
3 13 10.92% 13 3 2.52%
4 8 6.72% 14 2 1.68%
5 12 10.08% 15 3 2.52%
6 5 4.20% 16 1 0.84%
7 4 3.36% 23 2 1.68%
8 7 5.88% 31 1 0.84%
9 8 6.72% 37 2 1.68%
10 6 5.04% 43 1 0.84%
Additional Statistics Winning % Wins
Winning from the first Starting Position: 17.24% 20
Winning from the Front Row: 31.90% 37
Winning from a top-five Starting Position: 60.34% 70
Winning from a top-10 Starting Position: 84.62% 99
Winning after Starting Outside the top 20: 5.17% 6
  • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Darlington is 43rd by Johnny Mantz in 1950 – the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event held at the historic raceway.
  • Six drivers have posted their first career 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).
  • Youngest series Darlington winner: Kyle Busch (May 10, 2008 – 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
  • Oldest series Darlington winner: Harry Gant (Sept. 1, 1991 – 51 years, 7 months, 22 days).
  • Kurt Busch leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington without visiting Victory Lane at 24; followed by Ryan Newman with 22.
  • Eight active organizations have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
Rank Wins Active Organizations Seasons
1 14 Hendrick Motorsports 2012, ’09, ’07, ’04 sweep, ’03, ’02, 1998, ’97, ’96 sweep, ’95, ’91, ’86
2 8 Joe Gibbs Racing 2020, ’19, ’17, ’15, ’13, ’10, ’08, ’00
3 8 Wood Brothers Racing 1981, ’77, ’76 sweep, ’74, ’73, ’72, ’68
4 8 Richard Childress Racing 1994, ’93, ’90 sweep, ’89, ’87 sweep, ’86
5 5 Roush Fenway Racing 2006, ’05, 1999 sweep, ’93
6 3 Stewart-Haas Racing 2020, ’20, ’14
7 3 Team Penske 2018, 1975 sweep
8 1 Chip Ganassi Racing 2002
  • Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins by an organization at Darlington in the 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 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway.
  • Chevrolet leads the series in win at Darlington with 41 victories; followed by Ford (31), Mercury (10), Toyota (eight), Oldsmobile (six), Dodge (five), Pontiac (five), Buick (four), Plymouth (four), Hudson (three) and American Motor Company (two).

ADDITIONAL FINISHING POSITIONS

Runner-Up Finishes:

  • A total of 62 different NASCAR Cup 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 and Kyle Busch with two each.

Top Five In Runner-Up Finishes at Darlington Raceway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Runner-Ups Rank Active Drivers Runner-Ups
1 Darrell Waltrip 8 1 Denny Hamlin 3
Richard Petty 8 2 Kevin Harvick 2
3 David Pearson 7 Kyle Busch 2
4 Mark Martin 6 4 Alex Bowman 1
5 Fireball Roberts 4 Austin Dillon 1
Jeff Gordon 4 Brad Keselowski 1
Joey Logano 1
Kurt Busch 1
Kyle Larson 1
Ryan Newman 1

Top-Five Finishes:

  • A total of 141 different drivers have finished in the top-five at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty with 25 top-five finishes.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active series drivers in top-five finishes at Darlington with 11 top fives.

Top Five in Top-Five Finishes at Darlington Raceway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Top Fives Rank Active Drivers Top Fives
1 Richard Petty 25 1 Kevin Harvick 11
2 David Pearson 24 2 Denny Hamlin 9
3 Bill Elliott 22 3 Ryan Newman 7
4 Dale Earnhardt 19 4 Brad Keselowski 5
Jeff Gordon 19 Kyle Busch 5

Top-10 Finishes:

  • A total of 231 different series drivers have posted top-10 finishes at Darlington Raceway, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott with 35.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active series drivers in top-10 finishes at Darlington with 15 top 10s.

Top Five in Top-10 Finishes at Darlington Raceway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Top 10s Rank Active Drivers Top 10s
1 Bill Elliott 35 1 Kevin Harvick 15
2 Richard Petty 34 2 Denny Hamlin 13
3 David Pearson 30 3 Ryan Newman 13
4 Bobby Allison 26 4 Kyle Busch 12
Mark Martin 26 5 Kurt Busch 11

Average Finishing Position:

  • Bob Burdick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington Raceway with a 3.0 in two starts.
  • Erik Jones leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington with a 5.167 in six starts.

Top 10 in Average Finishing Position at Darlington Raceway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Avg Finish Races Rank Active Drivers Avg Finish Races
1 Bob Burdick 3.000 2 1 Erik Jones 5.167 6
2 Erik Jones 5.167 6 2 Kyle Larson 6.667 6
3 Kyle Larson 6.667 6 3 Denny Hamlin 7.529 17
4 Denny Hamlin 7.529 17 4 Brad Keselowski 10.429 14
5 Marty Robbins 8.000 2 5 Kyle Busch 11.167 18
6 Shorty Rollins 9.000 2 6 Martin Truex Jr 11.765 17
7 Bill Elliott 9.365 52 7 Austin Dillon 12.000 9
8 Brad Keselowski 10.429 14 8 Ryan Newman 12.833 24
9 Herb Thomas 10.429 7 9 Kevin Harvick 12.885 26
10 Nelson Stacy 10.500 6 10 Tyler Reddick 14.333 3

TRACK / EVENT STATS

  • Since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993, the closest margin of victory in the 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.

Top Five Closest Margins of Victory at Darlington Raceway

Margin Of Victory Date Race Winner Runner-Up
0.002 Sunday, March 16, 2003 Ricky Craven Kurt Busch
0.132 Sunday, March 21, 2004 Jimmie Johnson Bobby Labonte
0.144 Sunday, August 31, 1997 Jeff Gordon Jeff Burton
0.169 Sunday, March 23, 1997 Dale Jarrett Ted Musgrave
  • Four NASCAR Cup Series races have resulted in a NASCAR Overtime finishes at Darlington Raceway:
Scheduled Laps Actual Laps Overtime Laps Race Winner Date
367 374 7 Kevin Harvick Saturday, April 12, 2014
367 368 1 Jimmie Johnson Saturday, May 12, 2012
367 370 3 Regan Smith Saturday, May 7, 2011
367 370 3 Greg Biffle Saturday, May 7, 2005
  • 10 of the 119 races at Darlington Raceway have been shortened from their scheduled number of laps; the most recent was last season.
Date Scheduled Laps Actual Laps Fewer Laps Race Winner
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 228 208 20 Denny Hamlin
Sunday, September 3, 2000 367 328 39 Bobby Labonte
Sunday, September 5, 1999 367 270 97 Jeff Burton
Sunday, March 21, 1999 293 164 129 Jeff Burton
Sunday, September 5, 1993 367 351 16 Mark Martin
Sunday, September 6, 1992 367 298 69 Darrell Waltrip
Sunday, September 6, 1987 367 202 165 Dale Earnhardt
Sunday, April 13, 1980 367 189 178 David Pearson
Monday, September 1, 1969 367 230 137 LeeRoy Yarbrough
Monday, September 1, 1958 367 364 3 Fireball Roberts
  • Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway six times: 1952, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2016.
  • Last season, all three races at Darlington did not hold qualifying due to the COVID-19 pandemic/restrictions and instead, the first race determined by a random draw (May 17), the second race as by inverted field (May 20) and the Playoff race was by Metric Qualifying – the same format that will be used this weekend.
  • NASCAR Cup Series has held seven races on Mother’s Day producing six different winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon won the most recent Cup race on Mother’s Day in 2007 at Darlington Raceway. Buck Baker has won the most times on Mother’s Day – twice (1956, 1954).
Race Winner Date Track Holiday
1 Jeff Gordon Sunday, May 13, 2007 Darlington Raceway Mother’s Day
2 Cale Yarborough Sunday, May 14, 1978 Talladega Superspeedway Mother’s Day
3 Benny Parsons Sunday, May 9, 1971 South Boston Speedway Mother’s Day
4 Bob Welborn Sunday, May 11, 1958 Greensboro Fairgrounds Mother’s Day
5 Buck Baker Sunday, May 13, 1956 Orange Speedway Mother’s Day
6 Tim Flock Sunday, May 8, 1955 Arizona State Fairgrounds Mother’s Day
7 Buck Baker Sunday, May 9, 1954 Wilson Speedway Mother’s Day

LAP LEADERS

  • In total 169 different drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have led at least one lap at Darlington Raceway.
  • Dale Earnhardt leads the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Darlington Raceway with 2,648 laps led in 44 series starts.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers with 782 laps led in 26 starts.
  • The most laps led in a NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway by the race winner was 351 laps of the scheduled 400 laps (87%) by Johnny Mantz on September 4, 1950. He started the race from the 43rd position.
  • The most laps led in a NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway by a driver that did not win the race was 284 laps of the scheduled 367 laps (77%) by Kyle Larson on September 2, 2018. He started the race from the second position.
  • The fewest laps led in a NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway by the race winner was just the final lap by Ricky Craven on March 16, 2003. He started the race from the 31st position.

Top 10 Lap Leaders at Darlington Raceway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Led Completed % Led Races
1 Dale Earnhardt 2,648 14,011 19% 44
2 Richard Petty 2,391 17,120 14% 65
3 David Pearson 2,116 12,536 17% 47
4 Jeff Gordon 1,744 11,458 15% 36
5 Darrell Waltrip 1,723 16,395 11% 55
6 Cale Yarborough 1,647 12,959 13% 49
7 Bobby Allison 1,601 12,630 13% 45
8 Harry Gant 1,088 9,144 12% 31
9 Bill Elliott 980 17,477 6% 52
10 Fireball Roberts 916 4,572 20% 20
Rank Active Drivers Led Completed % Led Races
1 Kevin Harvick 782 8,710 9% 26
2 Kyle Busch 716 6,292 11% 18
3 Denny Hamlin 593 6,006 10% 17
4 Kyle Larson 500 2,208 23% 6
5 Martin Truex Jr 444 6,011 7% 17
6 Brad Keselowski 380 4,906 8% 14
7 Kurt Busch 365 8,838 4% 26
8 Ryan Newman 339 8,245 4% 24
9 Chase Elliott 151 2,552 6% 8
10 Joey Logano 122 4,841 3% 14

FEMALE COMPETITORS

  • Three female drivers have competed at Darlington Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series – Danica Patrick, Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson.
Drivers Starting Position Finishing Position Date
Danica Patrick 33 26 9/3/2017
Danica Patrick 25 24 9/4/2016
Danica Patrick 30 42 9/6/2015
Danica Patrick 33 22 4/12/2014
Danica Patrick 40 28 5/11/2013
Danica Patrick 38 31 5/12/2012
Averages 33.2 28.8
       
Janet Guthrie 26 16 9/5/1977
Shawna Robinson 42 42 3/17/2002

NASCAR IN SOUTH CAROLINA

  • South Carolina has hosted a total of 312 NASCAR national series races among 10 different tracks.
Track Name City Cup Xfinity Truck Totals First Year
Darlington Raceway Darlington 119 61 7 187 1950
Columbia Speedway Columbia 43 0 0 43 1951
Greenville-Pickens Speedway Greenville 29 2 0 31 1951
Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds Spartanburg 22 0 0 22 1953
Rambi Race Track Myrtle Beach 9 13 0 22 1958
Coastal Speedway Myrtle Beach 2 0 0 2 1956
Lancaster Speedway Lancaster 2 0 0 2 1957
Gamecock Speedway Sumter 1 0 0 1 1960
Hartsville Speedway Hartsville 1 0 0 1 1961
Newberry Speedway Newberry 1 0 0 1 1957
Totals 229 76 7 312
  • The first 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

  • A total of 140 different drivers have made at least one NASCAR national series start with their home state recorded as South Carolina.
  • James Hylton leads all NASCAR drivers from South Carolina with the most NASCAR national series starts with 607.
  • Three drivers from South Carolina have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame – David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, and Cotton Owens.
  • 11 drivers from South Carolina have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series totaling 239 victories; seven have won in the NASCAR Cup Series.
South Carolina Race Winners Cup Xfinity Truck Combined
David Pearson 105 1 0 106
Cale Yarborough 83 0 0 83
Cotton Owens 9 0 0 9
Tiny Lund 5 0 0 5
James Hylton 2 0 0 2
Johnny Allen 1 0 0 1
Joe Eubanks 1 0 0 1
Larry Pearson 0 15 0 15
Jason Keller 0 10 0 10
Butch Lindley 0 6 0 6
Jeremy Clements 0 1 0 1
Totals 206 33 0 239

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