I keep saying that Darlington is my favorite track on the circuit. It’s a different length than any other oval on the circuit, and it’s shaped differently than any other track ran. Its infamous egg shape that was done because of the landowner’s minnow pond in the distance has made this place infamous.
Add in the grueling, agonizing, and tedious driving that this place requirs, and it becomes a monster in itself. To go 500 miles here is more difficult than doing 600 miles at Charlotte, just because this track can wear anyone out.
It is by far the hardest test for any driver, whether a rookie or a seasoned pro.
Now, add in the fact since 2015, NASCAR has gone full old-school with how Darlington is treated, and it went from being my favorite track…to my favorite weekend. Literally the throwback theme for everyone, from the fans, to the crews, broadcasters and cars themselves, it flat out is perfect.
And truthfully, there’s no other track that this can be done at.
Sure, Daytona may be the biggest race of the year, but it wasn’t always the first race of the season. Charlotte is the hub of the sport, but it has its tradition. Indianapolis is a big race, but NASCAR came on board late in the game, and everyone wasn’t sure if these big, bulky, cars would be accepted at a track traditionally that has seen its open-wheel program rule.
In reality, the only place NASCAR can honor its history is at Darlington. It’s the oldest track on the circuit, with such a rich history of how it came to be, and even endured a minor change in configuration. Although by change in configuration, all that happened was they swapped around the front stretch and the back stretch.
With literally every team deciding to go with a throwback scheme for the weekend, it just fits so right in honoring the past, while looking ahead to the future.
Darlington may be “Too Tough To Tame,” but she definitely knows tradition. That is why I love this place.
STAGE 1: Kyle Larson
STAGE 2: Kyle Larson
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Logano 3-Larson 4-Harvick 5-Elliott 6-Kurt Busch 7-Kyle Busch 8-Jones 9-McMurray 10-Hamlin
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Truex Jr. 16-Dillon 26-Wallace 36-Bowyer
CAUTIONS: 6 for 35 Laps. Lap 102-107 (End of Stage 1); 129-133 (#23, 18 Incident-FS); 202-207 (End of Stage 2); 313-322 (#14, 31, 96 Incident T3 and 4); 330-333 (Debris-T2); 345-348 (#96 Spin-T2).
LEAD CHANGES: 7 among 5 drivers. D. Hamlin 1-11; K. Larson 12-129; M. Truex Jr. 130-159; K. Larson 160-258; B. Keselowski 259-260; J. Logano 261-278; K. Larson 279-345; B. Keselowski 346-367.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 48 Mins, 54 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 131.408 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.224 Seconds
POINT STANDINGS-Top 10 (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Kyle Busch, 1038 ; 2. Harvick, -39 ; 3. Truex Jr, -155 ; 4. Kurt Busch, -203 ; 5. Logano, -220 ; 6. Keselowski, -253 ; 7. Larson*, -255 ; 8. Bowyer, -261 ; 9. Blaney*, -283 ; 10. Hamlin*, -300 .
PLAYOFF DRIVERS: 11. Elliott, -301 ; 12. Almirola*, -357 ; 13. Jones, -359 ; 18. Dillon, -542 .
*Locked in based on points