2012 Southern 500 Predictions
DARLINGTON, SC (ATS Consultants) - The Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC. on Saturday, May 12 for the Southern 500, at 6:30pmET.
NASCAR returns to Darlington, South Carolina for the Southern 500. The track at Darlington Raceway is considered NASCAR’s original speedway and a win on Saturday night is considered a great accomplishment in the Cup series.
This is considered one of the more physically demanding races and the challenge comes from the four different turns around this 1.366 mile egg-shaped track. Turns one and two are different from three and four in distance and banking, creating a dilemma for the teams in how they set up the car.
Last year’s winner was Regan Smith’s victory last season was against the grain, but then Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 and Paul Menard won the Brickyard 400. Those type of monumental upsets don't happen often, and owners should be confident that the big names will flex their muscles Saturday night.
Hamlin’s 6.5 average finish at Darlington is the best among active drivers, and he has never finished worse than 13th in six career starts at the track. He also has five top-10 finishes, including a victory in 2010. Hamlin finished sixth at Darlington last year, and with two wins under his belt already in 2012, he should be a factor for the win Saturday night. He’s 27 points behind series leader Greg Biffle and 18 points behind third-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Gordon's seven career wins at Darlington are tied for his most at any track, and he has 21 top-10s in 31 career starts. During the stretch, Gordon has finished in the top five an impressive seven times, including a win in 2006. He usually runs up front here and this could be the weekend the 24 team gets the finish they deserve. .
This could be the one. His trip to Darlington could be Truex's best chance to end his winless drought. The track has always been one of his best, and he has never finished outside the top 20 in six career starts. Truex has a 12.3 average finish at the track and has two top-10s in his last three starts. With as well as he has performed in 2012, a top-five finish isn't out of the question. He’s 46 points behind Greg Biffle and just one point behind 5th-ranked Kevin Harvick.
2012 Southern 500 Information
Race Date: Saturday, May 12
Location: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC.
Start Time: 7:15pmET
Green Flag: Approx. 7:19PM ET
TV Coverage: FOX
Radio Coverage: Motor Racing Network (MRN/Sirius NASCAR Radio)
Track Type: 1.36 mile oval (367 laps, 501 miles)
Last Year's Race
2011: Regan Smith
2010: Denny Hamlin
2009: Mark Martin
2008: Kyle Busch
2007: Jeff Gordon