Showtime Southern 500 Free Picks
(The Spread) - This week, NASCAR heads back to its roots when it pays a visit to Darlington Raceway for the Showtime Southern 500 on Saturday night.
Darlington is one of the most prestigious races in all of NASCAR. Held at one of the sport's most historic tracks, someone will add their name to the list of winners of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.
The 1.366-mile track is NASCAR's original superspeedway, and it has been chewing up tires and racecars since 1950. Over the years, Darlington has acquired the nickname "The Lady in Black," and has been called "Too Tough to Tame."
Winning at Darlington comes down to tire management and handling the unique egg-shaped end of the track made up of turns three and four. Both tasks are easier said than done. Darlington eats up tires, and cars start sliding and slowing down during long runs. It is so common to see drivers slide into the outside wall exiting the corners, that the black scuffmarks left on the cars have been dubbed "Darlington stripes."Let’s hand out some picks.
Jeff Gordon 8/1
Jeff Gordon has had a love/hate relationship with Darlington over the years. But ever since they switched to the COT car, he’s once again become a force by finishing no worse than fifth in his last seven races. With his seven wins, Gordon leads all active drivers and has finished inside of the top 10 an astonishing 21 times in 30 starts, with an average finish of 11.0. After last year’s tough loss here, we look for Gordon to find his way into victory lane for the eighth time.
Denny Hamlin 7/1
Hamlin has shown a real fondness for Darlington and picked up his first win here last year. In five starts, Hamlin has three top 10s and an average finish of 6.6, which is second best among active drivers. After last week’s strong run, it looks like Hamlin has turned things around and could find himself getting his first win of the year Saturday night.
Jeff Burton 30/1
Burton has four top 10s in his last five starts at this track and the only finish outside of that during that span was a 12th in 2009. Over his 26 career races at “The Lady In Black,” Burton has amassed 25 top 20s and an average finish of 11.4. Burton had this race won last year if not for a costly mistake during the last pit stop while leading. While he has struggled all year, we think he could pull a big upset this week.