Bojangles Southern 500 Betting News and Notes

Bojangles Southern 500 Betting News and Notes

Darling Raceway Track Facts


Darlington Raceway Data


Season Race #: 8 of 36 (04-12-14)
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

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Darlington

Jeff Gordon 111.8
Denny Hamlin 108.9
Greg Biffle 107.5
Jimmie Johnson 107.5
Kyle Busch 106.2
Kasey Kahne 99.1
Ryan Newman 95.8
Martin Truex Jr. 94.8
Carl Edwards 93.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 91.4

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Darlington Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data


2013 Coors Light pole winner
Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
181.918 mph, 27.032 secs. 05-10-13

2013 race winner
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
141.383 mph, (03:32:45), 05-11-13

Track qualifying record
Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
181.918 mph, 27.032 secs. 05-10-13

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

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Darlington Driver Tale of the Tape


Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/ Red Cross Ford)


· Two wins, two top fives, five top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.9
· Average Running Position of 10.3, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 107.5, third-best
· Series-high 286 Fastest Laps Run
· 452 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.878 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,441 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7%), fifth-most
· 291 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), third-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)

· One win, two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 14.4
· Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best
· Driver Rating of 106.2, fifth-best
· 230 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 492 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.996 mph, third-fastest
· 2,790 Laps in the Top 15 (84.3%), second-most
· Series-high 337 Quality Passes

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)

· Three top fives, eight top 10s
· Average finish of 14.9
· Average Running Position of 12.2, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, 10th-best
· 547 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.451 mph, 11th-fastest
· 2,277 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), eighth-most
· 273 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford EcoBoost Ford)

· Three top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 12.5
· Average Running Position of 12.8, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 93.4, ninth-best
· 151 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 480 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.593 mph, ninth-fastest
· 2,248 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), ninth-most
· 279 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)

· Seven wins, 19 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.5
· Series-best Average Running Position of 8.1
· Series-best Driver Rating of 111.8
· 194 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 160.130 mph
· Series-high 2,982 Laps in the Top 15 (90.1%)
· 272 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota)

· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 5.4
· Average Running Position of 8.6, second-best
· Driver Rating of 108.9, second-best
· 182 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.977 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,488 Laps in the Top 15 (84.6%), fourth-most
· 266 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)

· Three wins, eight top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 8.8
· Average Running Position of 9.9, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 107.5, fourth-best
· 233 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· 485 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 160.069 mph, second-fastest
· 2,504 Laps in the Top 15 (75.6%), third-most
· 252 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet)

· Three top fives, four top 10s; four poles
· Average finish of 14.2
· Average Running Position of 10.4, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.1, sixth-best
· 217 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.655 mph, eighth-fastest
· 2,318 Laps in the Top 15 (70.0%), seventh-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)

· One win, two top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.7
· Average Running Position of 14.3, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.9, 11th-best
· 113 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 469 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.346 mph, 12th-fastest
· 223 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)

· Seven top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.3
· Average Running Position of 11.6, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 95.8, seventh-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.708 mph, seventh-fastest
· 2,425 Laps in the Top 15 (73.3%), sixth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)

· Four top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.0
· Average Running Position of 13.9, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.6, 12th-best
· 105 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Series-high 563 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.535 mph, 10th-fastest
· 2,144 Laps in the Top 15 (64.8%), 11th-most
· 300 Quality Passes, second-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet)

· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 11.4
· Average Running Position of 12.4, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.8, eighth-best
· 125 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 510 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 159.745 mph, sixth-fastest
· 250 Quality Passes, ninth-most

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Bojangles' Southern 500
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com
    
The NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers better be extra careful this Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, because “The Lady in Black” has waited an entire year to say hello, and when she says hello, she kisses sides of the cars with her signature Darlington stripe.

Every driver has gotten a Darlington stripe on their car at some point of their career, it’s just that some have been able to stay clear of the wall more frequently, and those are the drivers we want to focus on when choosing a driver to win at the sports books.

Darlington is the heart of NASCAR, and has been continually handing out stripes since 1950. Because of the unique 1.336-mile layout where one set of turns is narrower and banked lower than the other side, it offers the most unique racing experience of the season. At one point, because of those unique traits, winning the Southern 500 was just as prestigious as winning the Daytona 500 which began in 1959.

Drivers who win at Darlington are a special breed. They are usually the best of the best and their names continually find themselves in the top-5. Drivers like Denny Hamlin, who won in 2011, and was runner-up three times, including the past two seasons. Jimmie Johnson, who swept the 2004 season when the track last had two dates a season, and also won in 2012. Then there’s Jeff Gordon who has seven wins all-time, including a record four straight Southern 500’s from 1995-98.

The one name among drivers we consider great, a two-time champion, who is missing from the list of past winners is Tony Stewart. He’s had 21 cracks at it, and run well with a 12.3 average finish, but third-place twice is the best he’s done. He’s also never won the Daytona 500, but has won in the summer at Daytona, so zero wins total at a track for Stewart is a big deal and also very telling to how rough the track can be.

Last season it was Matt Kenseth winning at Darlington for the first time in his career. It was only his second top-5 finish in 20 starts at a place that he took plenty of lumps, as well as stripes. At the time, Kenseth had already won twice on the season, both on 1.5-mile tracks at Las Vegas and Kansas. He led only 17 laps on the day, but the last 12 he led were the most important.

If we use Kenseth’s lead-up to his win last season, a driver that would be comparable to possibly get his first win at Darlington would be Brad Keselowski. He won at Las Vegas and also ran very well at Texas, the only two 1.5-mile tracks raced on this season. His best finish at Darlington was third in 2011, but the lady got him last year when he was involved in a wreck and finished 32nd.

With Joey Logano running fast on the 1.5-mile tracks this season, including Monday's win at Texas, he might be a driver to take a shot with at higher odds. His best finish on the “Track too Tough to Tame” was ninth in his rookie season. He was 22nd last year in his first attempt with a Penske Ford.

Kyle Busch was outstanding at Fontana and Texas, and he won at Darlington in 2008. His team has found some horsepower and it will be needed here as well, along with Busch's knack to drive in tough situations, and “The Lady” is a tough situation throughout.

Let’s stay with the meat and potatoes this week and roll with the most consistent drivers at the track with one exception made for Keselowski. Gordon looks to offer the most value and he's been consistent all season which is why he is now the point leader.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #24 Jeff Gordon (10/1)
2) #11 Denny Hamlin (10/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
4) #2 Brad Keselowski (10/1)
5) #18 Kyle Busch (8/1)

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Driver Handicaps: Darlington
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Who's HOT at Darlington


• Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in wins (7) and laps led (1,736).
• Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2010 race, leads all drivers with a 5.4 average finish.
• Three-time winner Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top five in his last two starts, including a win in 2012.
• Kyle Busch, who led 265 laps last year, has scored four top 10s in his last six starts, which includes a win in 2008.
• Matt Kesneth, who has posted a 10.2 average finish in the six races since the track was resurfaced, won this event last year in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Carl Edwards has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts, including a runner-up in 2011.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Darlington

• Martin Truex Jr. (11.0), Tony Stewart (12.0), Brad Keselowski (13.8) each rank in the top 10 among all drivers in average finish in the six races since Darlington was repaved.
• Ryan Newman, who will make his first Darlington start with Richard Childress Racing, has posted four top 10s in his last five starts at the track.
• Last week's winner Joey Logano, who has two top 10s at Darlington in five starts, is the only driver that's made it to the final round in all six "knockout" qualifying sessions this season.
• Kasey Kahne, who leads all drivers with four Darlington poles, will return in the same car that he posted his best non-short track finish with in 2014 - eighth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Paul Menard is one of two drivers (with Matt Kenseth) to finish in the top 10 in four of the last five races this season.
• Casey Mears tested at Darlington for Germain Racing - a team that has an alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
• Rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon each will be making his first Darlington Cup start.  Larson finished sixth last year in his first Nationwide start at the track and Dillon has posted an 8.0 average finish in two Nationwide starts.
• Greg Biffle, winner of two Darlington races with the Gen-4 car, has posted an 11.0 average finish in his last three track starts and has the third overall driver rating.
• Kevin Harvick, who finished fifth last year at Darlington, will be looking to turn around his luck as of late driving the same car that he led 23 laps with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before a left-front hub issue sent him to the garage.

• Tire Notes: Teams will be running the same left- and right-side tires they ran at Darlington last season.  The left-side tire has been run at Darlington since 2011 and was also used on a number of 1.5-mile tracks, including Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Ryan Newman
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Dustin Long: Denny Hamlin
John Singler: Jeff Gordon

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon:
The active win leader at Darlington with his last of seven victories coming in 2007.  He also leads all active drivers in laps led (1,736) and average start (6.8).  Gordon's crew chief Alan Gustafson is a previous Darlington winner with Mark Martin in 2009 and will lead Gordon for the fourth time there after scoring a third-place finish with him last season.  Gordon, who has an 11.8 average finish in the last five races, will debut a new car (chassis No. 861) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Matt Kenseth: After 19 previous starts at Darlington with Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth was finally able to score a win at "The Track Too Tough to Tame" last year in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing.  Kenseth won the race minus crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was serving a one-race suspension.  Ratcliff called one Darlington Sprint Cup race in 2012, leading Joey Logano to a 10th-place finish.  In the last five races at Darlington, Kenseth has posted an 11.0 average finish.

Carl Edwards: Recorded his second consecutive seventh-place finish at Darlington last season and third consecutive top 10.  He's finished in the runner-up position twice and has posted an average finish of 12.5 in 10 starts.  Last year's finish came in his first track start with crew chief Jimmy Fennig, who was part of Kurt Busch's team when Busch nearly won the race in an exciting finish in 2003.  This weekend, Edwards will return in the same car (chassis No. 874) that he finished eighth with at Phoenix International Raceway.

Joey Logano: After scoring the win this past Monday at Texas Motor Speedway, Logano will look to carry the momentum to Darlington where he finished 22nd last season in his first track start with Team Penske.  Logano, who does have two top 10s in four Darlington starts with his former Joe Gibbs Racing team, will debut a new car (chassis No. 903) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.  On Friday, Logano will look to continue his streak of making it to every final "knockout" qualifying round since the format was implemented.

Kyle Busch:
Since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, Busch has posted four top 10s at Darlington, including a win in his first start with the team.  He's coming off a sixth-place finish after dominating the race, leading 265 laps.  He still holds the title as the youngest Darlington winner at 23 years, 8 days. Busch's average finish in the last five Darlington races is 12.4 and he's led a total of 588 laps in nine overall starts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Last year, Earnhardt posted his second top 10 in six Darlington starts with Hendrick Motorsports.  His first top 10 with HMS in 2008 equaled his best finish, fourth place, in 19 overall starts.  This weekend, Earnhardt will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he last finished 24th with at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson's last of three wins at Darlington came in 2012 after leading 134 laps.  He started second and finished fourth last season to lower his average finish in the last five races to 11.6.  This weekend, Johnson will return in the same car (chassis No. 824) that he finished sixth with in Las Vegas.

Brad Keselowski: Posted his best finish, third place, at Darlington in 2011 for his only top 10 in four track starts with Team Penske.  His other top 10 came in in his first start driving for Hendrick Motorsports in 2009, when he finished seventh.  This weekend, Keselowski will look to bounce back from a 32nd-place finish last season driving a new car (chassis No. 904) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Brian Vickers: Vickers' lone top 10 (10th) in nine Darlington starts came in 2010 when he was driving for Red Bull Racing.  This weekend will mark his first start at the track since 2011 and first with Michael Waltrip Racing.  Vickers will be driving a new car (chassis No. 808) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Paul Menard: Menard has yet to post a top 10 in seven Darlington starts but will look to turn that around with his recent run of top 10s this season.  Menard, who has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts in 2014, will debut a new car (chassis No. 463) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.  The team will be able to lean on data gathered by one of the Richard Childress Racing alliance teams - Germain Racing, which recently tested at Darlington.

Ryan Newman: Will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing.  He's tied for the second-best average finish (10.2) in the last five races at Darlington.  He's finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts and has led 325 laps in 15 races overall.  This weekend, Newman will return in the same car (chassis No. 441) that he finished seventh with at Phoenix International Raceway.  The team will be able to lean on data gathered by one of the RCR alliance teams - Germain Racing - which recently tested at Darlington.

Austin Dillon: Will be making his first Darlington start in the Cup Series, driving the same car (chassis No. 453) that he finished 16th with in Las Vegas.  Crew chief Gil Martin, who said Darlington is "the race I want to win more than anything," led Kevin Harvick to a top-five run there last season.  The team will be able to lean on data gathered by one of the RCR alliance teams - Germain Racing, which recently tested at Darlington.

Denny Hamlin: Has finished in the top six in his last four Darlington starts, including a win in 2010.  He leads all drivers in average finish in both the last five races (4.8) and overall (5.4).  In the last two races, Hamlin has finished second both times.

Tony Stewart: Tied for second in best average finish (10.2) in the last five races at Darlington, all coming in his only track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing.  He finished 15th last season, snapping a streak of two consecutive top 10s.  Stewart posted his best finish, third place, twice - in 2009 and 2012. This weekend, Stewart will return in the same car (chassis No. 848) that he finished 33rd with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway due to a malfunction with the right-rear spring.

Kyle Larson: Rookie Larson is coming off his second top five in the last three races this season and will look to continue the momentum when he makes his first Darlington Cup Series start.  Last year, Larson finished sixth in his first Nationwide start at Darlington.

Greg Biffle: Biffle's last of two wins at Darlington came in 2006 when he led 170 laps en route to the checkered flag.  He won his second Darlington pole in 2012 and led 74 laps before finishing 12th.  Biffle, who posted the last of his five Darlington top 10s in 2011, will debut a new car (chassis No. 903) in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Clint Bowyer: Has finished 11th in his two Darlington starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.  His best finish came in 2007 when he placed ninth after starting from the pole driving for Richard Childress Racing.  This weekend, Bowyer will return in the same car (chassis No. 804) that he finished 15th with at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Marcos Ambrose: Posted his only top 10 in five Darlington starts in 2012 when he took the checkered flag in ninth place.

Kasey Kahne: Kahne has posted one top 10 and an average finish of 12.5 in two Darlington starts with Hendrick Motorsports.  He leads all drivers with four poles, the last one coming in 2011 with Red Bull Racing where he went on to lead 124 laps en route to a fourth-place finish.  Kahne, who has an average finish of 14.2 in 11 overall starts at Darlington, will return in the same car (chassis No. 829) that he finished eighth with at Las Vegas.

AJ Allmendinger: Will make his first Darlington start with JTG/Daugherty Racing in search of his first top 10 there.  His best finish, 17th, in six previous starts came in 2009 with Richard Petty Motorsports. The team will be able to lean on data gathered by one of the Richard Childress Racing alliance teams - Germain Racing, which recently tested at Darlington.

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Chassis Selections
Jayski.com

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Darlington is PRS-904, which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-840 which last served as a backup at Las Vegas in March.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot chassis No. 453 in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. This is the same DOW Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced to a 16th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. Although Dillon has not yet competed at Darlington Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he has made two appearances at the "Lady in Black" in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, securing his best starting position of third and his best finish of a fifth in 2012. He also finished 11th after starting eighth in 2013. The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has two starts at the track in the Truck Series, earning his best finish of fifth in August 2010, coupled with a 15th-place result in March 2011.
#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 4-843 in Saturday night's race at Darlington. Harvick last raced this car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. In that event, Harvick led 23 laps before an issue with the left-front hub sent the team to the garage area for repairs, which relegated them to a 41st-place finish. Harvick has 17 prior NSCS starts at Darlington. He has earned three top fives and six top 10s, and has an average start of 17.2 and an average finish of 17.9.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-829 for Saturday night's event at Darlington. Most recently, Kahne raced this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. Kahne is two-for-two when it comes to racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Darlington. He led a combined 190 laps to win the 2004 and 2011 Truck events at the 1.366-mile oval.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-677, which was first used by Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman in September 2011 at Chicago, where he started fourth and led 18 laps before finishing eighth. Newman next used the chassis in October 2011 at Kansas, where he started 11th and finished 18th. The last time Newman drove the car was in March 2012 at Auto Club, where he started sixth and finished seventh in a race that ended early due to rain. Danica Patrick made her second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start using Chassis No. 10-677 in May 2012 at Darlington, where she started 38th and finished 31st. Since that race, the car was converted into a Gen-6 Chevrolet SS. Chassis No. 10-677 was pressed into service last May, when Patrick was involved in an accident in her primary car during practice for the Southern 500 at Darlington. She started 40th and finished 28th in the backup car. She competed with the chassis one other time in September at Dover, where she started 31st and finished 29th.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-848 which debuted in March at Las Vegas, where it qualified 24th and struggled to a 33rd-place finish. It was later determined a malfunction with the right-rear spring caused the car's ill-handling form. Chassis No. 14-848 will make its second career start this weekend at Darlington. Stewart has four top-fives, 11 top-10s and has led a total of 20 laps in his 21 career Sprint Cup starts at Darlington. Stewart's best Sprint Cup finish at Darlington is third, earned in the 2009 Southern 500. His average start is 17.2, his average finish is 12.0 and he has a lap completion rate of 99.0 percent
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 804 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Darlington Raceway. Bowyer drove this Toyota to a 15th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 800 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis has never seen action on the race track but has served as the back up for Fontana, Las Vegas and Texas. Bowyer has one top-10 finish in eight starts and completed 2,749 of 2,940 laps (93.5%) and led 16 laps with an average start 18.9 and average finish 21.1 with a best finish of ninth came in May 2007. Bowyer captured one of his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series poles at Darlington in May 2007 (the other coming at New Hampshire in Sept. 2007 where he won from the pole)
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 Red Cross team will run chassis RK-903 is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis will be RK-879 which last ran Las Vegas and finished 22nd. Biffle has 13 Sprint Cup career starts at Darlington, earning two wins, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. Darlington is the track where Biffle holds his second-best starting average of 9.5, with an average finish of 13.9.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Nationswide team will be using primary chassis Chassis RK-902 at Darlington, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-860, which was last raced at Texas in 2013 and finished 16th. Stenhouse Jr. has one career Sprint Cup start at the 1.366-mile track where he finished 18th. With the Nationwide Eagle on the hood, the #17 Nationwide Insurance primary paint scheme has earned one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-903 for Darlington, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-844 which was last used as a backup at Las Vegas.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-861 for this Saturday night's race. This is a new chassis that has never been raced. Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, has seven wins, three pole positions, 19 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s in 33 Cup starts at Darlington Raceway.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 463 in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. This #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS has been never been used in competition and is new to the RCR stable of Sprint Cup cars. At the 1.36-mile oval of Darlington Raceway, Menard has seven previous starts with a best start of 14th and finish of 13th, which both took place in the 2012 event. His average start at the "Track too Tough to Tame" is 24.4 and average finish is 23.7. Menard has completed 2,527 of 2,573 laps attempted (98.2 percent) and led three laps.
#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 441 in Saturday night's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Chassis No. 441 was raced on March 2 at Phoenix International Raceway where the No. 31 team qualified 15th and finished seventh. Newman is looking to capture his first-career victory at his favorite track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. The Rocket Man won the 2003 pole at the 1.366-mile oval. In total, he owns seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Ind. native has an average start of ninth and average finish of 12th. Plus, Newman ranks third in most championship points earned in the last five races at Darlington and ranks sixth in points earned over the last 10 events.
#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.
#35-David Reutimann chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 845 in Saturday¡¦s Southern 500 at Darlington. Built new for 2014, Chassis 845 started 23rd and finished 26th earlier this season at Las Vegas. Busch has two top-five finishes and five top-10s in his 17 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.366-mile oval. Darlington is one of 10 racetracks of the 23 on the Sprint Cup circuit where Busch has won a Sprint Cup pole.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola:: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-824 for Saturday night's race. Johnson drove this car to a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-784 which Johnson most recently raced last season at Michigan International Speedway in June.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 808 has not raced. The backup chassis is 801, which finished 13th at Las Vegas.
#78-Martin Truex Jr. chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team has selected Chassis No. 88-745. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a 24th-place finish at Bristol in March.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Ford EcoBoost team will unload primary chassis RK-874 at Darlington was last run in 2014 at Phoenix, finishing eighth. The backup chassis is RK-880 was last used in 2014 as a primary at Vegas, finishing fifth. Edwards has yet to capture a win at Darlington Raceway, finishing second in 2008 and 2011. Edwards has 10 Sprint Cup starts at Darlington with an average start of 15.9 and an average finish of 12.5.

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Re: Bojangles Southern 500 Betting News and Notes

Bojangles' Southern 500 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts   
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS – Darlington Raceway may not have the sandpaper grit on its surface like it used to before it was resurfaced in 2008, but it’s still a tough track to get around because of its unique configuration. That's why past trends are emphasized more than usual in our ratings this week.

On a normal race track, we weight the drivers mostly by what happened during Friday and Saturday practices. It’s about 70 percent of the equation, but that figures drops significantly this weekend because there's no other track like Darlington. It’s a lot easier to look and be fast on the track during practice when no one is racing for position.

Over the years, we consistently see the same names among the top-10 finishers because they have learned that you have to race the track first and the drivers surrounding you second. It might sound like an easy process, but it takes time to get it mastered; only a select few have been able to get it done on a regular basis.

This is why Jeff Gordon is considered our top driver to win Saturday night’s Bojangles Southern 500. And while he was no slouch during Friday’s two practices -- fifth and third, respectively -- he shoots to the top of our list just because of his consistency on the track 'Too Tough to Tame'.

Gordon has seven wins on the 1.366-mile layout, though none since 2007, which was the last year of the old surface. On the basis of coming in strong on big horsepower tracks at Fontana and Texas – along with strong practices – plus his fantastic history on the track, we think he’s the driver to beat.

Had history and the track itself not played such a big role in the rating equation, Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano might be considered the driver to beat. Both have been fast on just about every track, and both had the best 10-consecutive lap average during each of Friday's practice sessions.

Last season it was Matt Kenseth, who had never won at Darlington in 19 career races, taking home the checkered flag. Prior to that victory, he won at 1.5-mile tracks Las Vegas and Kansas. Keselowski and Logano are in similar situations this year, having each won on the only two 1.5-mile tracks raced on this season at Las Vegas and Texas.

Still, ‘The Lady in Back’ looms large, and it's the only reason not to go all-in with both of these drivers – and the reason that tilts the scales in Gordon's favor.

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Re: Bojangles Southern 500 Betting News and Notes

Drivers to Watch - Darlington
By Sportsbook.ag

For the first time this season, NASCAR takes its show to the evening hours with Saturday’s Bojangles' Southern 500 race under the lights at Darlington Raceway. Nicknamed the "Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough to Tame" by many NASCAR fans, this egg-shaped oval track has been around since 1950.

It measures 1.366 miles with a frontstretch equidistant to the backstretch (1,229 feet or 0.23 miles) both containing a small amount (six degrees) of banking. Turns 1 and 2 are banked at 25° and 23° respectively.

The defending champion of this race is Matt Kenseth, who is looking to be the first back-to-back Darlington winner since Greg Biffle in 2005 and 2006.

Drivers to Watch

Denny Hamlin (8/1) -
Hamlin has been outstanding at Darlington in his career, carrying a stellar 5.4 average finish in eight starts, which is by far the best mark among active drivers (Jimmie Johnson's 8.8 is second). Not only did Hamlin win at this track in 2010, but he has banged out three runner-ups in 2007, 2012 and last year. Hamlin has also done a nice job of giving himself advantageous starting positions with a pole, 2nd and 6th in his past three races, and this is important for Saturday's race because 86% of Darlington winners have started from the top-10 spots.

Tony Stewart (25/1) - Stewart carried 8-to-1 odds in this race two years ago, and he's getting more than three times that for the second straight Darlington start. "Smoke" began the season slowly, but is starting to get his groove back with a 9.0 average finish in his past four races and an average start of 6.0 in his past three, including last week's pole in Fort Worth. Stewart has yet to win in his 21 starts at the "Lady in Black," but he does have the 5th-best average finish (12.0) among active drivers here. Stewart has tallied 11 top-10's and four top-5's at Darlington, including a 3rd, 7th and 3rd in three of his past five starts. He's also led at this track in three of his past five starts.

Jeff Gordon (8/1) - The other chalk pick on the board that is worthy of a wager is Gordon, the seven-time Darlington winner. In addition to those seven wins, he has 12 other top-5's at this track, giving him an average finish of 11.5 in his career at Darlington. This isn't all ancient history either, as Gordon has finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd in six of his past 10 starts at the "Lady in Black," including a third-place showing last year. And no racer has been as consistent as the 42-year-old Gordon this season. He sits atop the points standings by finishing no worse than 13th in all seven races in 2014, including leading at least four laps in three of those starts.

Carl Edwards (20/1) - An undervalued darkhorse pick this week is Edwards, who went off at 10-to-1 at Darlington last year, and carries a strong 12.5 average finish at this track, good for 7th among active drivers. Edwards has never won at this venue, but he does have top-7 finishes in six of his 10 career starts, including three in a row. The No. 99 car is also off to a fast start this season with four top-10's in the first seven races to put Edwards third in the current points standings.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (100/1) - Another driver whose odds have doubled since last year is Stenhouse Jr., who went off at 50-to-1 in the 2013 Bojangles' Southern 500. Stenhouse has been scuffling since his runner-up finish in Bristol on March 16, placing 34th, 40th and 26th last week in Texas. He doesn't have much history at Darlington, with his first career start coming last year when he started 14th and finished 18th.


Check out more NASCAR Odds and Props at Sportsbook.ag!

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