Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Darlington NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2017 Bojangles Southern 500

Martin Truex Jr won last year at Darlington.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Bojangles’ Southern 500
The Place: Darlington Raceway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 3
The Time: 6 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 501.3 miles (367 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 100),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 200), Final Stage (Ends on lap 367)

Next Race: Sport Clips Help a Hero 200
The Place: Darlington Raceway
The Date: Saturday, Sept. 2
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.8 miles (147 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 147)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 
Next Race: Chevrolet Silverado 250
The Place: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 3
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 157.37 miles (64 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on lap 64)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

2 To Go: Pressure Mounting For Winless Drivers To Make Playoffs
Only two races remain for winless drivers to clinch berths in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

The penultimate opportunity for drivers to earn an automatic postseason bid is Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Of the winless drivers, only Matt Kenseth (2013) has won at Darlington. Kenseth (2015), Dale Eanhardt Jr. (2000, 2004, 2006) and Clint Bowyer (2008, 2012) have all visited Victory Lane at Richmond – the host of the final regular season race. Joey Logano, who is currently out of the playoffs because his April Richmond win was encumbered, also took the checkered flag there in 2014.

Here’s how the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff grid shakes out now: Martin Truex Jr. (four wins, 35 playoff points), Kyle Busch (2, 20), Kyle Larson (3, 18), Jimmie Johnson (3, 16), Brad Keselowski (2, 14), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2, 10), Kevin Harvick (1, 8), Ryan Blaney (1, 8), Denny Hamlin (1, 7), Kurt Busch (1, 5), Ryan Newman (1, 5), Kasey Kahne (1, 5), Austin Dillon (1, 5), Chase Elliott (69 points ahead of Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line, 2 playoff points), Matt Kenseth (+61, 3), Jamie McMurray (+58, 0).

Truex Attempts To Defend Darlington Win As He Closes In On Regular Season Title
Martin Truex Jr. already has a whopping 35 playoff points – 15 more than the next-best driver, Kyle Busch, who has 20.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver can grab another 15 playoff points next weekend at Darlington Raceway by clinching the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season title.

All Truex must do is hold a 61-point lead over second-place in the standings at the conclusion of the race. He currently leads second-place Kyle Busch by 101 points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.

The task shouldn’t be a problem for the New Jersey native. He’s the defending Darlington winner and has an 11.6 average finish at the egg-shaped oval.

Truex has been as close to dominant as a driver can be this season. He boasts a series-leading four wins along with 15 stage wins, ranks tied for second with 10 top fives and paces the circuit with 16 top 10s.

Truex also leads the series in an assortment of loop data categories: average running position (8.2), driver rating (113.5), fastest laps run (846, 15.7%) and laps led (1,372, 20.7%).

Will Darlington See Its 12th Straight Different Winner?
Over the last decade, Darlington Raceway has lived up to its moniker “Too Tough Too Tame.”

The 1.366-mile track has seen 11 different drivers visit Victory Lane in its last 11 races: Greg Biffle (2006), Jeff Gordon (2007), Kyle Busch (2008), Mark Martin (2009), Denny Hamlin (2010), Regan Smith (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2012), Matt Kenseth (2013), Kevin Harvick (2014), Carl Edwards (2015), Martin Truex Jr. (2016).

Johnson, who has three victories at Darlington, is the only active driver with multiple wins there.

Young Guns Elliott, Jones and Suarez Try To Grab First Win At Darlington
Chase Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, won five times in his career at historic Darlington Raceway. Chase would like to add to the family’s history at the South Carolina track by winning Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 for his first career victory. Elliott is a comfortable 69 points above Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, but can ensure himself a berth with a win. In two career starts at Darlington, Elliott finished 41st (2015) and 10th (2016).

Also hoping to visit Victory Lane for the first time are Toyota drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. Both virtually need a victory to make the playoffs.

Jones finished a career-best second in the last race at Bristol and placed third the week prior at Michigan. He leads Suarez by four points in a tight Sunoco Rookie of the Year race. The No. 77 Furniture Row Racing driver enters Sunday’s contest riding a streak of 10 consecutive top 10s.

Suarez has never raced at Darlington in the Monster Energy Series, but finished third in both of his XFINITY Series starts there. He claims one top five and eight top 10s this season.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series etc.
Darlington Raceway To Hold “Free Can Friday” With Monster Energy: Darlington Raceway and Monster Energy are partnering to offer fans the opportunity to enjoy on-track activities on Friday, Sept. 1, for free by recycling any size Monster Energy can. The Friday on-track action includes four practice sessions for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Fans may bring an empty Monster Energy can and recycle it at the frontstretch ticket office behind the main grandstands to receive free admission to practice day. Gates will open at Noon.

Monster Energy and NASCAR experienced tremendous success when it held the program at Pocono Raceway in June. Under the NASCAR Green umbrella, a comprehensive recycling effort has accounted for millions of bottles and cans being recycled annually thanks to designated bins in the grandstands, concourse, suites, garage, and campgrounds at almost every track NASCAR visits. For more information visit

Snapchat To Launch Premium ‘Our Story’ At Darlington’s Throwback Weekend: NASCAR fans attending the Bojangles’ Southern 500 can share their race-day experiences from Darlington Raceway with millions of Snapchatters through a premium ‘Our Story’ on Snapchat covering The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR. Fans, teams and drivers at and near the racetrack will be able to share photo and video Snaps to a special “Our Story” that shows off the best visual experiences that Throwback Weekend has to offer.The Snapchat team will then curate and package Snaps of the various perspectives and experiences into a Story, which will air in Snapchat’s Discover platform for 24 hours.

Pre-Race Festivities Are Ode To The 80s: In addition to drivers running throwback paint schemes, the festivities include:
·         Richard Petty and Bill Elliott serving as the official pace car drivers for the Bojangles’ Southern 500
·         A commemorative ticket that links 1987 Southern 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., who ranks second all-time with nine NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway, and 2016 Bojangles’ Southern 500 winner Martin Truex Jr.
·         Bret Michaels performing a pre-race concert before the Bojangles’ Southern 500
·         The legendary Oak Ridge Boys performing Sunday’s national anthem
·         Appearances by the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class
·         Riki Rachtman, longtime host of MTV’s hit show “Headbangers Ball,” will serve as honorary emcee for Throwback Weekend.

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