Friday, August 31, 2018

Denny Hamlin dominates first Darlington practice session

Denny Hamlin has yet to win a race this season, but that may change this Sunday night based on what happened during Friday's first practice session at Darlington Raceway in preparation for Sunday's Bojangles Southern 500. He jumped out with the fastest lap at 172.287 mph on the second of his 18 laps turned.

But what really sets him apart as being one of the favorites to win Sunday was being fastest among the nine drivers that completed at least 10-consecutive laps, a measure that indicates a driver is likely to be fast on longer runs when while others slow.

Even though it's been a below-par season for Hamlin, seeing him produce the best speeds should come as no surprise since he's the best active driver in the series at Darlington with 5.8 average finish in 12 starts. He's won on the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval twice, including last season when he led four times for 124 laps.

“We feel very confident,” Hamlin told NASCAR.com before practice. “We’re going to make the playoffs. We know that. But we want to get a win. We haven‘t gone this deep into the season without winning in a long time. We have some work to do. We have to perform better on race day.”

Kyle Larson, who also led 124 laps at Darlington last season, finished with the second-fastest lap (172.034) following by Brad Keselowski (171.998), Alex Bowman (171.926) and Ryan Newman (171.926). 

The interesting thing about the top-five is seeing three Chevrolets stacking the field. Another thing to watch is Newman, who ran the most laps in practice (28), have to win to make the Playoffs with only two regular-season races remaining. Harvick is using his winning Atlanta chassis from February this weekend.

Following Hamlin in best 10-consecutive lap average was Paul Menard, 2014 Darlington winner Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and three-time Darlington winner Jimmie Johnson, who is also looking for his first win of the season. The seven-time Cup Champion has never gone this far into a season without winning a race.

There was some drama on the track as Jamie McMurray's Camaro began smoking about eight minutes into the session with an apparent engine failure. McMurray will start at the rear of the field if changing the engine on his car.

“Honestly, I didn’t even realize the engine was blowing up,” McMurray told NBCSN. “But then obviously as the oil started pouring out, I caught on.”

The practice session was extended five minutes to account for the lengthy track cleanup because of the oil.

Later, with about 11 minutes left in the practice session, Erik Jones spun as he attempted to get on pit road. The car did not make contact with anything and was not damaged.

The best thing of all about the practices were the paint schemes. Wow, do they take us all back a few years. It kind of feels good seeing them too. Nostalgic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jimmie Johnson a career-high 100-to-1 odds to win at Darlington this week

Jimmie Johnson won Hendrick Motorsports 200th win at Darlington.
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Darlington:
“Darlington is a very cool track that really commands a ton of respect. To win there you have to be smart – it’s a long, tough night. I was stoked to see Lowe’s bring back the rally stripes on the black Kobalt car again. I remember the night we won the 200th for Hendrick Motorsports – to see the look on (Hendrick Motorsports owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick’s face in Victory Lane was something I will never forget. Darlington is so fun to see how the garage embraces the throwback theme – it’s going to be good for the fans.”

THROWBACK WEEKEND: This weekend, to celebrate “Seven Decades of NASCAR” at Darlington Raceway, the No. 48 Lowe's/ Kobalt Camaro ZL1 will feature a paint scheme familiar to Jimmie Johnson fans. The familiar black-and-white Kobalt tools "rally stripe" paint scheme will make its return. Johnson scored the 200th win for Hendrick Motorsports at Darlington in the familiar scheme, and Lowe’s deemed it fitting to bring back the stripes in memory of the milestone win. See the paint scheme here.

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS' 200TH WIN: On May 12, 2012, Johnson secured the 200th NASCAR Cup Series win for Hendrick Motorsports. It was his 56th career win and first of 2012. Johnson led close to half the laps that night (134 of 368), as he started second and took the lead on lap 325. He paced the field for the final 44 laps for his third Southern 500 win at “The Lady in Black."

TOO TOUGH TO TAME: Johnson ranks highest among all active drivers in Darlington wins with three. As far as all-time wins, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon has six wins at Darlington, with Johnson in a six-way tie for fourth with Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Buck Baker and Herb Thomas.

AS HISTORY GOES: Historically, over the course of his 83 wins, Johnson usually accumulates more wins in the fall. He has won 10 times in September, 14 times in October and 10 times in November. Two times over the course of his career, he has won his first race of the season at Darlington – March 21, 2004, and May 12, 2012.

48TH WISH GRANTED: This weekend in Darlington, Johnson will grant a wish to a child in need for the 48th time. Johnson has worked with Make-A-Wish throughout his career, and this weekend he will meet the 48th child whose wish of a lifetime is to meet the seven-time champion.

CELEBRATE WITH SEVEN-TIME: Fans attending the race at Darlington Raceway will have an exclusive opportunity to hear from many of the stars and legends of NASCAR at Darlington’s “Saturday Night Celebration” event taking place at the track on Saturday, Sept. 1. Seven-time Cup Series champion Johnson will appear alongside NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. representing Dale Earnhardt. For more information, click here

NEXT UP, 84
: Johnson's next trip to Victory Lane will be his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win. He secured his 83rd in June 2017 to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. An 84th win would tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Johnson is currently 10 wins behind former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

RICHMOND TEST:
Johnson and the No. 48 team participated in a two-day test this week at Richmond Raceway in preparation for next month’s event at the Richmond, Virginia, track.

BICYCLING MAGAZINE
: Johnson, a cycling and fitness enthusiast, is featured in the September/October edition of Bicycling Magazine. The article, on newsstands now, discusses Johnson’s influence over the popularity of cycling in the NASCAR community and how cycling helps the seven-time champion on the track.

2018 Season

  • 14th in points
  • 24 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 8 top-10 finishes
  • 29 laps led

Career

  • 603 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 224 top-five finishes
  • 349 top-10 finishes
  • 18,692 laps led

Track Career 

  • 19 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 12 top-10 finishes
  • 551 laps led

Darlington Betting Preview: 2018 Bojangles Southern 500

Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Throw some meats on the grill, grab a cold one and let's watch the Bojangles' Southern 500 together. It's a family tradition for most of us and it's been a NASCAR tradition at Darlington Raceway since 1950. Just two races remain until the green flag of the Playoffs drops in Las Vegas so for every driver currently outside of the top-16 in points, they've got two whacks at getting in by winning one the two, Sunday's race and next week at the Brickyard.

I don't believe we'll see a new winner in either race, but I am intrigued by a possible new winner next week at the Brickyard. Joe Gibbs Racing's Daniel Suarez, who sits 19th in points, has run extremely well of late. He's the teammate of Kyle Busch and last month at Pocono Raceway he had his best career Cup race starting from the pole and finishing second. The reason that's notable is that Pocono is the best comparison to Indianapolis due to long straights and flat tight turns (Pocono turn 3). Lots of horsepower is needed and he had plenty of it and should again next week. The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has Suarez listed at 200/1 odds to win the championship, but there's probably better value by just betting Suarez to win at Indy at a 60/1 price.

As for this week at Darlington's 1.366-mile layout, I don't see any driver outside the top-16 winning, but I can easily see a winless driver on the season winning. There's a couple driver that have figured out this difficult track. All four turns around the track are different and the banking ranges from 23 to 25 degrees. They call it 'The Track Too Tough to Tame' and they also call it "The Lady in Black' who gives all drivers at some point in their career a Darlington Stripe which the rub on side of their car after smacking into the wall. No driver can avoid it. It happens to them all at some point no matter how hard they try.

“My first race and first stripe – that place chewed me up and spit me out," said Kurt Busch who won his first race of 2018 two weeks ago at Bristol. "I think I wrecked 20 times, kept bouncing off the wall. I wore out the tires but kept going. I probably finished 40th my first time there. It really was an eye-opener on how tough NASCAR was going to be.”

Busch had an amazing battle with Ricky Craven in 2003 at Darlington. They bumped and banged, slipping and sliding all over the place battling for the lead in the final 10 laps. Craven finally took the lead by a bumper on the finish to lead his only lap of the race. Busch was runner-up and in still remains his best finish after 21 career starts. It's tough. Suarez found out last season as a rookie when Turn 1 found him quickly to end his day in 38th.

Clint Bowyer barely turned a few laps last year at Darlington before his engine died and forced him to finish dead last. He doesn't have a single top-five in 12 starts on the track that really is too tough to tame for him.

“I like the uniqueness of the track," said Bowyer. "I’ve struggled to have good finishes there but we’ve always raced well. We just can’t seem to seal the deal at the end. Something always goes haywire in the end but, sooner or later, we are going to overcome that and have a good weekend.”

Expect to see all the drivers that have done well on the 1.5-mile tracks do well at Darlington, but the Lady in Black adds a bit of a wild card that should create more drama than we've seen on any other 1.5-mile track. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have each won three times on 1.5s and Martin Truex Jr. has one win.

They truly are "The Big-3."

Truex won at Darlington in 2016, Harvick won there in 2014 and Kyle Busch won there in 2008. Of the three, Truex has the best average finish at 11.3 over 12 starts.

“It’s getting close to show time and we’re going to scratch, claw and grind for every playoff point,” Truex said of the upcoming playoffs. “You can’t leave anything on the table.”

Expect Truex to be good again this week. And the same can be said for Harvick who will be using his winning Atlanta chassis that led 181 of 325 laps in February. Since moving to Stewart Haas Racing in 2014 he's been on the Darlington pole in three of four starts and averaged a 4.2 finish. His first career win there in 2014 came just before winning his first career Cup Championship.

Denny Hamlin doing double-duty at Darlington this weekend

Denny Hamlin is 6/1 to win at Darlington for third time.
Denny Hamlin
#11 FedEx Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Race Info:

Race: Bojangles’ Southern 500
Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 2/6 pm ET
Distance: 367 Laps/501.3 Miles
Track Length:1.36 miles
Track Shape: Egged-shaped oval
2017 Winner: Denny Hamlin

Express Notes:

Darlington “NASCAR Throwback” Weekend Preview: Hamlin returns to Darlington Raceway as the defending race winner after sweeping the 2017 weekend with victories in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series. In 12 career starts at Darlington, Hamlin has only finished outside of the top-10 twice and has visited Victory Lane at the track that’s “Too Tough to Tame” on two occasions.

Blame It All on His Racing Roots: Hamlin’s special #11 FedEx Toyota paint scheme for the Cup Series race at Darlington is a throwback to Hamlin’s first-ever race car, a Mini Stock that he drove in 1997 at Langley Speedway and Southside Speedway in Virginia. Hamlin won both track championships that year, and was named the NASCAR Mini Stock Rookie of the Year. For more on the family history behind Hamlin’s special throwback scheme, click here.

Double Duty: Hamlin will also make his 11th-career NASCAR XFINITY start at “The Lady in Black” this weekend, returning as the defending race winner. In his10 previous XFINITY starts at the track, Hamlin has earned five total wins (2006, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2017).

Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares: This season, FedEx is tying the performance of the #11 FedEx Toyota on the track to its efforts to improve road safety through a new program, Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares, by donating $111 for each lap Hamlin leads and $11,000 for each race victory to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit working to protect kids on the road, at home and at play. FedEx will also contribute $111,000 to Safe Kids if the #11 team wins the 2018 NASCAR championship. New for the 2018 season, the Denny Hamlin Foundation will also match the total donation to Safe Kids Worldwide.

After 24 regular season races, Hamlin has led 259 laps resulting in a $28,749 donation to Safe Kids Worldwide which will ultimately be matched by the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Fans can track the total amount donated to date from the Delivering Laps for FedEx Cares program on the homepage of.

Press Kit: Download the 2018 FedEx Racing press materials at www.fedexracing.com/presskit, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Mike Wheeler and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.

Hamlin Statistics:

Track: Darlington Raceway
Races: 12
Wins: 2
Poles: 0
Top-5: 7
Top-10: 10
Laps Led: 551
Avg. Start: 9.4 (Series Best)
Avg. Finish: 5.8 (Series Best)

Hamlin Conversation

Tell us more about your special throwback scheme for Sunday’s race.


“This year’s Darlington throwback scheme means a lot to me, and I can’t thank FedEx enough for surprising me with it. It’s a true part of my racing history and the design brings back so many great memories. Our team has shown great success at Darlington, so I look forward to competing for another win there this weekend, especially behind the wheel of this car.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Odds to win 2018 Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

Denny Hamlin won last season for the second time in 12 Darlington starts.
WESTGATE LAS VEGAS SUPERBOOK
ODDS TO WIN 2018 BOJANGLES SOUTHERN 500
DARLINGTON RACEWAY
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2018 - 6:20 PM ET

Kevin HARVICK 5/2
Kyle BUSCH 7/2
Martin TRUEX JR 7/2
Denny HAMLIN 6/1
Kyle LARSON 6/1
Erik JONES 18/1
Ryan BLANEY 18/1
Brad KESELOWSKI 18/1
Kurt BUSCH 18/1
Clint BOWYER 18/1
Chase ELLIOTT 25/1
Joey LOGANO 25/1
Aric ALMIROLA 50/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 100/1
Ryan NEWMAN 100/1
Daniel SUAREZ 100/1
Alex BOWMAN 100/1
Austin DILLON 200/1
Jamie McMURRAY 200/1
Paul MENARD 200/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 300/1
Matt KENSETH 300/1
William BYRON 300/1
Kasey KAHNE 1000/1
Chris BUESCHER 1000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 1000/1
AJ ALLMENDINGER 1000/1
TY DILLON 5000/1
Michael McDOWELL 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Chase Elliott on run of five straight top-10 finishes heading into Darlington Raceway

Sweet looking Darlington paint scheme for Chase Elliott.
Chase Elliott on the No. 9 throwback scheme:
“Darlington weekend is way cooler whenever you have a connection like this to the paint scheme. I’m excited about it. It’s a great scheme. It’s special to me, for sure, and really my entire family. The Elliott family, our racing history wasn’t just about dad and uncle Ernie and my grandfather and uncle Dan and myself now. That’s not the case. I think it’s fair to share that. People nowadays that don’t know about Casey, this was a great opportunity to do that.”

Elliott on Darlington's challenges:
“It’s just a tough place. There are a lot of things that make it tough. Running up by the wall is a difficult thing to do there. The racetrack is just so worn out, tough to run up there all night and not hit it. Nowadays if you hit the wall at all with these cars, it really can destroy your day – tough thing to do. Then obviously racing from the daylight to the dark and that it is a long race in general, too. A lot of challenges come with it, but we will just try to hit them head on.”

KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE: Chase Elliott has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last five races (New Hampshire, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol). His longest career top-10 streak came during his rookie season, spanning six races from Talladega (May) to Michigan (June). In addition to the top-10s, Elliott has garnered one win, three top-five finishes, three stage wins and 201 laps led over the past five races.

IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST: With one win and three top-10 finishes, Elliott was a top performer in the month of August (Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol). The Dawsonville, Georgia, native collected 26 stage points, six playoff points and a NASCAR Cup Series-leading 128 total points during that span.

DARLINGTON THROWBACK: In July, Elliott, along with his father, Bill, and uncle, Ernie, unveiled the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 throwback car that will be on track at Darlington Raceway. The ride is modeled after a paint scheme that Chase's late cousin Casey drove in 1993. As Casey’s racing career was in its early stages, a cancerous growth on his upper right thigh was discovered and the cancer had spread. At age 21, Casey’s 24-month fight came to an end on Jan. 14, 1996. Click here for more information or to view images of the car.

SEE ELLIOTT AT DARLINGTON: This weekend, Elliott will be a part of Darlington Raceway’s Saturday Night Celebration, celebrating “Seven Decades of NASCAR” on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 8 p.m. local time. The 22-year-old driver will participate in the opening segment “New Drivers Behind the Wheel of Iconic Rides.” Visit DarlingtonRaceway.com for more information. Also, on Sunday, Sept. 2, Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage at 2:40 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

BRISTOL REWIND: The driver of the No. 9 Chevy led a season-high 112 laps en route to a third-place finish in the 500-lap Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 18. The result gave Elliott his fifth top-three finish of the season and left him 11th in the driver standings and sixth in the playoff standings.

DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his full-time duty piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series, Elliott will once again compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race driving the No. 23 Chevrolet for GMS Racing on Saturday at Darlington Raceway and next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2018 Season

  • 11th in points
  • 24 starts
  • 1 win
  • 1 pole position
  • 7 top-five finishes
  • 13 top-10 finishes
  • 220 laps led

Career

  • 101 starts
  • 1 win
  • 4 pole positions
  • 29 top-five finishes
  • 51 top-10 finishes
  • 1,138 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 0 laps led

Clint Bowyer averages 21st-place finish in 12 Darlington starts

Clint Bowyer's best finish at Darlington is ninth-place.
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

What are your thoughts on Darlington? 
“I just love the old-school feel. The racetrack lends that feel. You know, you can’t get on that racetrack and not feel old school. They repaved it and it’s already worn out. You run right up against the wall, it’s unique, you’ve got to be able to attack the track, but be patient enough and respectful enough to not ruin your day and destroy your car. It’s just very, very old school as you go back through there.” 

Do you ever wish you could race back in the day? 
“I would have loved to compete in the 1970s and ’80s. You were able to go to the shop and work your ass off and reap the benefits after you dusted the competition that weekend by having something that they didn’t, or because you outfoxed them.” 

Why is this time of year important in NASCAR? 
“First, everyone who has ever raced in NASCAR has wanted to win in Darlington. Taking that trophy home will be one of the best feelings in the world. Second, in the big picture, it’s close to money time. This is when the pay window opens and we put everything we’ve learned in 2018 on the line. All the hours put in by the folks at the race shop, at the track and all of our supporters, this is what our whole year has focused on. And then, in just a couple of weeks, 16 teams will have 10 races to win a championship.” 

What are your thoughts on Darlington? 
“I like the uniqueness of the track. I’ve struggled to have good finishes there but we’ve always raced well. We just can’t seem to seal the deal at the end. Something always goes haywire in the end but, sooner or later, we are going to overcome that and have a good weekend.”
 
Do you remember your first Darlington experience? 
“My first Cup race at Darlington was 2007 and I won the pole. Truth be told, it scared the daylights out of me.”

Kurt Busch still looking for first career Darlington win

Darlington Notes of Interest: 

 The Bojangles’ Southern 500 will mark Kurt Busch’s 637 th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 22nd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Busch has three poles, three top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. Additionally, Busch has led 266 laps, has an average starting position of 11.3 and an average finish of 17.4. 

 Busch has career totals of 30 wins, 25 poles, 135 top-fives, 273 top-10s and 9,335 laps led in 636 career starts. 

 His most recent Cup Series win came two weeks ago in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (Aug. 18, 2018).  His last Cup Series pole came five races ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (July 20, 2018). 

 Busch’s best finish at Darlington is second in March 2003. In one of the most memorable finishes in NASCAR history, Busch came up .002 of a second shy of victory at the track “Too Tough to Tame” when he was nosed out by Ricky Craven in one of the closest finishes in Cup Series competition since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993. 

Kurt Busch finally grabbed a win in 2018 at Bristol two weeks ago.
 The Las Vegas native has three poles to his credit at Darlington. His first came in September 2001. He won his second in November 2004. His most recent Sprint Cup pole at Darlington was in May 2013. Busch has 25 career Sprint Cup poles.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

What would a win at Darlington mean? 
“I’ve been close and it would mean the world to me because, when I first went there, I had no idea how difficult that track was going to be. And how narrow it is and how different both ends of the track are. Over the years, I quickly gained an appreciation for the nostalgia and the setting of Darlington, South Carolina and what it means for our sport. With all that mixed in together, I’d love to win that race. It’s a tough track because it changes dramatically with rubber and you have to have tire management there. You have to balance a lot of things over 500 miles.” 

Are these 500 miles at Darlington the most difficult in all of NASCAR? 
“Yeah, it’s flat out the most difficult. I think 500 miles at Darlington is tougher than 600 miles at Charlotte because you are up on the wheel all race long and you’re right on the edge and, when you slip over that edge, you get that Darlington stripe and usually you get a fender rub and then you’re working out of a hole. Attrition usually wipes out a few guys and you don’t want to be one of those, and so you’re just right on that edge all night long.”

What makes Darlington unique? 
“Darlington demands so much attention and respect. It’s similar to a Bristol like that. It’s hard to get the setup perfect because both ends of the racetrack are so different.” 

What do you think of the retro feel of Darlington? 
“It’s really a fun weekend. It feels like a field trip experience when you’re a kid. It’s like when you go out with your friends and you all get dressed up together. The first year, it was about the cars. The second year, it seemed like the crew guys took over and they had all their outfits. There are diecasts that are made just for that race. Chip Wile (former president of Darlington) hit a grand slam with throwback weekend and I think all of us look forward to that. And I think the fans do, as well. It definitely helps bridge the past to the present and overall just creates a fun weekend.” 

Do you remember your first race at Darlington? Your first stripe? 
“My first race and first stripe – that place chewed me up and spit me out. I think I wrecked 20 times, kept bouncing off wall. I wore out the tires but kept going. I probably finished 40th my first time there. It really was an eye-opener on how tough NASCAR was going to be.” 

Other than the finish with Ricky Craven at Darlington, do you have any other memorable moments that stand out? 
“The biggest moment at Darlington I ever had was finishing second to Ricky Craven in 2003 – everyone knows that race. It’s one of the best finishes in NASCAR history. But, probably the next-biggest moment would be during my championship run in 2004. I had an ill-handling car and still managed to finish sixth with it due to good pit stops. That was a perfect moment because it was our championship to lose, with where we finished that day in 2004. That was back when Darlington used to be in the playoffs.”

Kevin Harvick using winning Atlanta chassis at Darlington

Kevin Harvick dominated at Atlanta in February.
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 1038 in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Built new in 2017, Chassis No. 4-1038 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. He went on to lead 77 laps and secure a fourth-place finish. In its next start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June, Harvick started 18th and finished ninth. At Darlington, Harvick won the pole with a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph. He went on to lead 22 laps and scored a ninth-place result, finishing the race one lap down. At the fall Dover race, Harvick started ninth and finished 17th. In its final start of 2017, Harvick started third, led 38 laps en route to his first-ever Cup Series win at Texas, where he beat 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. by 1.580 seconds. In its first start of 2018, Harvick dominated at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he started third and led 181 of the 325 lap event and crossed the finish line 2.690 seconds ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski. In its most recent start, Harvick started 39th and raced up to 11th before cutting a tire and finishing 40th .

Darlington Notes of Interest: 

 Dynamic Duo – While this is Harvick’s 18th year in the NASCAR Cup Series, it’s only his fifth with crew chief Rodney Childers. Since joining forces at SHR in 2014, Harvick and Childers have combined to produce 21 points-paying victories, the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, 17 poles, 85 top-five finishes and 118 top-10s while leading 7,863 laps. They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway three of the last four seasons. 

 Harvick has career totals of 44 wins, 23 poles, 185 top-fives, 327 top-10s and 12,289 laps led in 634 starts. 

 His most recent Cup Series win came at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (Aug. 12, 2018). 

 His last Busch Pole came at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (May 11, 2018). 

 On Point – Harvick arrives at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway second in the championship with 960 points. Harvick trails series leader Kyle Busch by 43 points. 

 Darlington Numerology – Harvick has one win, three poles, six top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and has led a total of 581 laps in his 21 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington. His average start is 14.2, his average finish is 15.3 and he has a lap-completion rate of 95.7 percent, completing 7,108 of the 7,425 laps available. 

 Harvick at Darlington since 2014 – The combination of Harvick competing at Darlington in SHR equipment is impressive. In his last four NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington – all of which have come with SHR – Harvick ranks first in total points with 172. He has finished inside of the top-10 in each of the four events – three of which were top-five results. He has an average start of 1.5 and an average finish of 4.2. And of the 581 laps Harvick has led at Bristol dating back to his rookie year in 2001, a total of 518 (more than 89 percent) have come with SHR despite only four (19 percent) of his 21 Darlington starts being with SHR.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion: 

Your thoughts about heading back to Darlington for this special race weekend? 
“Darlington has kind of found its niche with all the throwback schemes and all the things that they do with the snack bars, tickets and all the cars. It’s great to see all the teams participate – and for me it’s something that bring backs a lot of memories as to when Fred Wagenhals was around selling diecasts and creating programs and things like we used to do in the past. It’s great when you see a program come together like that.” 

What’s it like to have so many drivers from the past at the track for throwback weekend at Darlington? 
“We had a car inspired by Cale Yarborough’s a couple of years ago. We had him at the racetrack, driving around in the pace car and seeing some of the old-school guys who work on my racecar be as excited as they were, guys who don’t ever really get excited about anything. To see how excited some of those guys were when Cale came, we took a picture with the whole team at the car and, to have the whole paint scheme and everything to go with it, was really great. We do a lot of things with those guys now at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. To see those guys now at the racetrack signing autographs for the fans adds just a little bit to that event. To me, having Cale there was really neat, to have him around and talk to him. It’s something that means a lot because they’re a big part of the reason we’re here today.”




Martin Truex Jr. fell in love with Darlington right away

Martin Truex Jr. won at Darlington in 2016.
DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2018) – When talking about Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 Martin Truex Jr. expresses a strong passion with his voice jumping a few decibels.

He doesn’t buy into the voodoo labels about the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track being too tough to tame or the lady in black.

“Darlington took me about half a race to figure out, it’s just one of those places I fell in love with right away,” Truex said.

The Furniture Row Racing driver has completed all but four laps – 4411 of 4415 — in 12 starts at the narrow and daunting Darlington track. He has scored top 10s in the last three races.

Had it not been for scraping the wall while leading on an old set of tires with three laps remaining in last year’s race, Truex would be seeking his third straight Southern 500 victory. He won the 2016 race and appeared to have the 2017 Southern 500 in hand until his tire went flat after hitting the wall. He settled for an eighth-place finish.

“Winning the Southern 500 two years ago was a big one,” Truex said. “Being a Southern 500 winner was one of the biggest thrills of my career. The track and race have so much history and to be on that trophy with all the racing legends is something very special to me.”

Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota in Sunday night’s Southern 500, is not bothered by the track’s extreme difficulties.

“Darlington is a challenging track but for whatever reason it has suited my style,” Truex noted. “I have always run well there but had a lot of heartbreakers before finally winning. It was a dream come true to win one of NASCAR’s biggest races.”

Regarding last year’s “almost win” in the Southern 500, Truex explained what happened.

“I scrubbed the wall a little bit and got a flat tire. We were on a different strategy and the tires were wearing down as I was driving the car a quarter of an inch from the wall for probably the last 50 laps. But that quarter inch with three laps to go got me. Had a tire rub or maybe the tire just wore out so much it blew. I am not sure what happened, just disappointing to come that close and not win.”

Truex ranks third in driver and playoff points with two races remaining before the 10-race playoffs commence.

“It’s getting close to show time and we’re going to scratch, claw and grind for every playoff point,” Truex said. “You can’t leave anything on the table.”

After the first 24 races of the season, Truex has four wins, 15 top fives, 15 top 10s, four poles and 676 laps led. His average start is 9.9 and has an average finish of 10.2 .

Truex’s career record at Darlington includes 12 starts, one win, two top fives, six top 10s and 202 laps led. His average start is 17.0 and average finish is 11.3.

Darlington Raceway Track Facts: 2018 Bojangles Southern 500

Lots of sweet throwback paint schemes expected Sunday at Darlington.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2018 Top 16 at Darlington Raceway
Rank
Driver
Races
Poles
Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
DNFs
Average Finish
Driver Rating
 
 
1
Kyle Busch
13
0
1
3
8
0
12.0
105.1
 
2
Kevin Harvick
21
2
1
6
10
1
15.3
100.4
 
3
Martin Truex Jr
12
0
1
2
6
0
11.3
98.8
 
4
Kurt Busch
21
2
0
3
7
2
17.4
85.3
 
5
Clint Bowyer
12
1
0
0
1
3
21.7
71.7
 
6
Joey Logano
9
0
0
2
4
1
18.3
86.1
 
7
Ryan Blaney
3
0
0
0
0
0
24.7
63.4
 
8
Brad Keselowski
9
1
0
2
4
0
12.4
95.7
 
9
Kyle Larson
4
0
0
1
3
0
8.8
100.2
 
10
Denny Hamlin
12
0
2
7
10
0
5.8
110.3
 
11
Chase Elliott
3
0
0
0
1
1
20.7
75.4
 
12
Aric Almirola
6
0
0
0
0
1
21.0
66.5
 
13
Erik Jones
1
0
0
1
1
0
5.0
103.1
 
14
Jimmie Johnson
19
0
3
9
12
1
10.5
100.8
 
15
Alex Bowman
2
0
0
0
0
0
26.5
44.7
 
16
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
5
0
0
0
0
0
24.6
60.5
 
* – Based on last 13 races at Darlington Raceway (2005 – 2017).


Loop Data Leaders: Darlington Raceway
Monster Energy Series - Top 3 In Key Loop Data Statistics
Driver Rating

Avg. Running Position
Laps Led

Denny Hamlin
110.3
Denny Hamlin
7.898
Kyle Busch
598
Kyle Busch
105.1
Kyle Busch
8.774
Kevin Harvick
567
Erik Jones
103.1
Erik Jones
9.757
Denny Hamlin
551
      
Fastest Laps Run
% of Laps in the Top 15

Quality Passes

Denny Hamlin
272
Erik Jones
94.6%
Kyle Busch
494
Kevin Harvick
269
Denny Hamlin
89.1%
Denny Hamlin
416
Jimmie Johnson
266
Kyle Busch
87.3%
Kurt Busch
414
Loop Data stats are from 2005 - Present


Darlington Raceway Data
Season Race #: 25 of 36 (09-02-18)
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: 367 laps / 501.3 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 100 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 167 laps

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Darlington
Denny Hamlin........................... 110.3
Kyle Busch............................... 105.1
Erik Jones................................ 103.1
Jimmie Johnson........................ 100.8
Kevin Harvick........................... 100.4
Kyle Larson.............................. 100.2
Martin Truex Jr........................... 98.8
Brad Keselowski......................... 95.7
Matt Kenseth.............................. 93.4
Ryan Newman............................ 93.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2017 races (13 total) among active drivers at Darlington Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2017 pole winner:
Kevin Harvick, Ford
177.730 mph, 27.669 secs., 09-01-17

2017 race winner:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
132.761 mph, (03:46:34), 09-03-17

Track qualifying record:
Aric Almirola, Ford
184.145 mph, 26.705 secs. 04-11-14

Track race record:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
141.383 mph, (03:32:45), 05-11-13


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 114 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races held at Darlington Raceway.
Starts
·        724 drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway; 441 in more than one.
·        NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Darlington with 65.
·        Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers with 24 series starts at Darlington; followed by Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch with 21 each.
·        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 a 9.417.
·        Denny Hamlin (9.4) and Erik Jones (10.0) are the only two active drivers with an average starting position inside the top 10.  
·        124 different drivers have made their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career debut at Darlington Raceway; the most recent was T.J. Bell (5/7/2011).  

Poles
·        A total of 49 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at least one Busch Pole Award at Darlington Raceway.
·        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)
·        Kasey Kahne leads all active drivers in Busch poles at Darlington with four (2004, ‘05, ’06 and ’11). 
·        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. Kasey Kahne is the only active driver with consecutive poles (2005-2006).
·        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: Cotton Owens (1957), Fred Lorenzen (1961), Bill Elliott (1981), Ken Schrader (1987), John Andretti (1995), Kurt Busch (2001), Elliott Sadler (2003) and Clint Bowyer (2007).
·        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 42 poles; followed by Chevrolet (21), Mercury (13), Pontiac (10), Dodge (8), Buick (3), Oldsmobile (3), Plymouth (3), Chrysler (1), Hudson (1), Studebaker (1) and Toyota (1).

Wins
·        A total of 49 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Darlington Raceway, led by David Pearson with 10 victories (1968, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’79, 80).
·        Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with three wins (2004 sweep, 2012).  
·        Jimmie Johnson (three) and Denny Hamlin (two) are the only active multiple race winners. Only four other active drivers have won at Darlington – Martin Truex Jr. (2016), Kevin Harvick (2014), Matt Kenseth (2013) and Kyle Busch (2008).   
·        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).
·        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).

·        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 (28), Mercury (10), Oldsmobile (six), Toyota (six), Dodge (five), Pontiac (five), Buick (four), Plymouth (four), Hudson (three) and American Motor Company (two).
·        20 of the 114 (17.5%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway have been won from the Busch pole; the most recent was Kevin Harvick in 2015.
·        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 (2015) 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. 
·        Derrike Cope leads the series among active drivers with the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington without visiting Victory Lane at 26; followed by Kurt Busch with 21.


Additional Finishing Position Stats
·        A total of 58 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 each.
·        Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in second-place finishes at Darlington with three; followed by Kevin Harvick with two.
·        A total of 138 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 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.
·        Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington with a 5.833 (12 starts).
·        Two active series drivers have an average finish inside the top-10 at Darlington: Denny Hamlin (5.8) and Kyle Larson (8.7).  Below are the top five in average finish at Darlington among active drivers:
Driver
Avg. Finish
Starts
Denny Hamlin
5.833
12
Kyle Larson
8.750
4
Jimmie Johnson
10.474
19
Martin Truex Jr
11.333
12
Ryan Newman
11.684
19

Track/Event Specific Stats
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring (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 MOV of 0.002 second over Kurt Busch – the MOV is tied with the 2011 Talladega race as the closest finishes in the series using electronic scoring.
Margin Of Victory
Date
Race Winner
Runner-Up
0.002
3/16/2003
Ricky Craven
Kurt Busch
0.132
3/21/2004
Jimmie Johnson
Bobby Labonte
0.144
8/31/1997
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Burton
0.169
3/23/1997
Dale Jarrett
Ted Musgrave


·        There have been four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with a NASCAR Overtime finish at Darlington Raceway:
Race Winner
Date
Scheduled No. Of Laps
Actual No. Of Laps
NASCAR Overtime Laps
Kevin Harvick
4/12/2014
367
374
7
Jimmie Johnson
5/12/2012
367
368
1
Regan Smith
5/7/2011
367
370
3
Greg Biffle
5/7/2005
367
370
3

·        Eight of the 114 races at Darlington Raceway have been shortened from their scheduled number of laps; the most recent was the fall race of 2000.
Date
Scheduled No. Of Laps
Actual No. Of Laps
Number Of Fewer Laps
Race Winner
9/3/2000
367
328
39
Bobby Labonte
9/5/1999
367
270
97
Jeff Burton
3/21/1999
293
164
129
Jeff Burton
9/5/1993
367
351
16
Mark Martin
9/6/1992
367
298
69
Darrell Waltrip
9/6/1987
367
202
165
Dale Earnhardt
4/13/1980
367
189
178
David Pearson
9/1/1969
367
230
137
LeeRoy Yarbrough
9/1/1958
367
364
3
Fireball Roberts

·        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.  
·        Dale Earnhardt leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Darlington Raceway with 2,648 laps led in 44 series starts.
·        Below are the top five active MENCS lap leaders at Darlington Raceway:
Driver
Laps Led
Completed
Percentage
Starts
Kyle Busch
598
4,691
12.7%
13
Kevin Harvick
581
7,108
8.2%
21
Denny Hamlin
551
4,415
12.5%
12
Jimmie Johnson
551
6,535
8.4%
19
Kasey Kahne
353
5,387
6.6%
15


Female Competitor Stats
·        Three female drivers have competed at Darlington Raceway in the MENCS:
Active 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

Inactive Drivers
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Janet Guthrie
26
16
9/5/1977
Shawna Robinson
42
42
3/17/2002

NASCAR in South Carolina
·        A total of 300 NASCAR national series races among 10 tracks have been held in the state of South Carolina.
Track Name
City
MENCS
NXS
NCWTS
Total Races
Darlington Raceway
Darlington
114
57
6
177
Columbia Speedway
Columbia
43
0
0
43
Greenville-Pickens Speedway
Greenville
29
2
0
31
Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds
Spartanburg
22
0
0
22
Rambi Race Track
Myrtle Beach
9
13
0
22
Coastal Speedway
Myrtle Beach
2
0
0
2
Lancaster Speedway
Lancaster
2
0
0
2
Gamecock Speedway
Sumter
1
0
0
1
Hartsville Speedway
Hartsville
1
0
0
1
Newberry Speedway
Newberry
1
0
0
1
Totals
 
224
72
6
302

·        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.  


NASCAR In South Carolina
·        A total of 136 drivers that have made at least one NASCAR national series start have 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.

Drivers From South Carolina
Rank
Driver
MENCS
NXS
NCWTS
Combined
1
David Pearson
105
1
0
106
2
Cale Yarborough
83
0
0
83
3
Cotton Owens
9
0
0
9
4
Tiny Lund
5
0
0
5
5
James Hylton
2
0
0
2
6
Johnny Allen
1
0
0
1
7
Joe Eubanks
1
0
0
1
8
Larry Pearson
0
15
0
15
9
Jason Keller
0
10
0
10
10
Butch Lindley
0
6
0
6
11
Jeremy Clements
0
1
0
1
Totals
206
33
0
239




2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Results
Date
Track
Busch Pole
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Race Winner
OEM
2/18/2018
Daytona
Alex Bowman
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
N/A
Austin Dillon
Chevrolet
2/25/2018
Atlanta
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/4/2018
Las Vegas
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/11/2018
ISM
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
3/18/2018
Auto Club
Martin Truex Jr
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
N/A
Martin Truex Jr
Toyota
3/26/2018
Martinsville
None-Weather
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney 
N/A
Clint Bowyer 
Ford 
4/8/2018
Texas
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/15/2018
Bristol
Kyle Busch
Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/21/2018
Richmond
Martin Truex Jr.
Joey Logano
Joey Logano
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
4/29/2018
Talladega
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Paul Menard
N/A
Joey Logano
Ford
5/6/2018
Dover
Kyle Larson
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/12/2018
Kansas
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Kyle Larson
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/19/2018
All-Star Open
N/A
Alex Bowman
Daniel Suarez
N/A
AJ Allmendinger
Chevrolet
5/19/2018
All-Star Race
Matt Kenseth
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
Ford
5/27/2018
Charlotte
Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
Toyota
6/3/2018
Pocono
Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Martin Truex Jr
Toyota
6/10/2018
Michigan
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Clint Bowyer 
Ford
6/24/2018
Sonoma
Kyle Larson
AJ Allmendinger
Denny Hamlin
N/A
Martin Truex Jr
Toyota
7/1/2018
Chicagoland
Paul Menard
Aric Almirola
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
7/7/2018
Daytona
Chase Elliott
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
N/A
Erik Jones
Toyota
7/14/2018
Kentucky
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
N/A
Martin Truex Jr.
Toyota
7/22/2018
New Hampshire
Kurt Busch
Martin Truex Jr.
Chase Elliott
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
7/29/2018
Pocono
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kyle Busch
Toyota
8/5/2018
Watkins Glen
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr.
Chase Elliott
N/A
Chase Elliott
Chevrolet
8/12/2018
Michigan
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick
N/A
Kevin Harvick
Ford
8/18/2018
Bristol
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Joey Logano
N/A
Kurt Busch
Ford



2018 Performers In Each Statistical Category
Rank
Drivers
Wins
 
Rank
Drivers
Top Fives
 
Rank
Drivers
Top 10s
1
Kevin Harvick
7
 
1
Kevin Harvick
17
 
1
Kevin Harvick
20
2
Kyle Busch
6
 
2
Kyle Busch
17
 
2
Kyle Busch
19
3
Martin Truex Jr
4
 
3
Martin Truex Jr
15
 
3
Joey Logano
17
4
Clint Bowyer
2
 
4
Chase Elliott
7
 
4
Kurt Busch
15
5
Kurt Busch
1
 
5
Kyle Larson
7
 
5
Martin Truex Jr
15
6
Austin Dillon
1
 
6
Brad Keselowski
6
 
6
Chase Elliott
13
7
Chase Elliott
1
 
7
Clint Bowyer
6
 
7
Kyle Larson
13
8
Erik Jones
1
 
8
Denny Hamlin
6
 
8
Brad Keselowski
12
9
Joey Logano
1
 
9
Joey Logano
6
 
9
Denny Hamlin
12
    
10
Erik Jones
5
 
10
Erik Jones
12
Rank
Drivers
Poles
 
11
Ryan Blaney
5
 
11
Ryan Blaney
12
1
Martin Truex Jr
4
 
12
Kurt Busch
4
 
12
Clint Bowyer
11
2
Kurt Busch
3
 
13
Daniel Suarez
3
 
13
Aric Almirola
10
3
Kyle Busch
3
 
14
Alex Bowman
2
 
14
Alex Bowman
9
4
Kyle Larson
3
 
15
Austin Dillon
2
 
15
Jimmie Johnson
8
5
Denny Hamlin
2
 
16
Chris Buescher
2
 
16
Daniel Suarez
6
6
Kevin Harvick
2
 
17
Jimmie Johnson
2
 
17
Ryan Newman
6
7
Ryan Blaney
2
 
18
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
2
 
18
Austin Dillon
4
8
Alex Bowman
1
 
19
AJ Allmendinger
1
 
19
Jamie McMurray
4
9
Chase Elliott
1
 
20
Aric Almirola
1
 
20
Paul Menard
4
10
Daniel Suarez
1
 
21
Bubba Wallace
1
 
21
AJ Allmendinger
3
11
Paul Menard
1
 
22
Jamie McMurray
1
 
22
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
3
    
23
Kasey Kahne
1
 
23
William Byron
3
Rank
Drivers
Runner-Ups
 
24
Paul Menard
1
 
24
Bubba Wallace
2
1
Kyle Larson
5
     
25
Chris Buescher
2
2
Kyle Busch
4
     
26
David Ragan
1
3
Martin Truex Jr
4
     
27
Kasey Kahne
1
4
Kevin Harvick
3
     
28
Matt DiBenedetto
1
5
Brad Keselowski
2
     
29
Michael McDowell
1
6
Bubba Wallace
1
     
30
Ty Dillon
1
7
Chase Elliott
1
        
8
Clint Bowyer
1
        
9
Daniel Suarez
1
        
10
Kurt Busch
1
        
11
Ryan Blaney
1
        



Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - Milestones
STARTS
Driver: Gray Gaulding
Has
Needs
Milestone:
49
1
Will become the 288th driver to make 50 or more Monster Energy Series starts.
WINS
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
83
1
Tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time series wins list.
Driver: Kyle Busch
Has
Needs
Milestone:
49
1
Tie Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson for 11th on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list.
Driver: Kevin Harvick
Has
Needs
Milestone:
44
2
Tie Buck Baker (46) for 16th on the all-time MENCS wins list.
Driver: Denny Hamlin
Has
Needs
Milestone:
31
1
To tie Dale Jarrett for 24th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
BUSCH POLES
Driver: Ryan Newman
Has
Needs
Milestone:
51
3
Tie Bill Elliott for eighth on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles list.
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Has
Needs
Milestone:
35
1
To tie Rusty Wallace and Rex White for 18th on the all-time series poles list.
Driver: Kyle Busch