Odds & Ends - Darlington
May 8, 2012
By VI News
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Built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-50, Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950.
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 108 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway since the track opened in 1950.
There was one race per year in 1950, 1951, from 1953-1959, and again every year since 2005. Darlington held two races a season in all other years.
Curtis Turner won the first pole, in 1950.
Johnny Mantz won the first race, in 1950.
47 drivers have posted poles at Darlington.
David Pearson leads all drivers with 12 poles at Darlington.
45 drivers have won races at Darlington; 25 drivers have won more than once there.
David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine.
Jeff Gordon is third overall and leads all active drivers with seven victories.
Hendrick Motorsports has won 13 races at Darlington, more than any other organization.
19 races at Darlington have been won from the pole, the most productive starting position. Dale Jarrett was the last driver to win from the pole in 1997.
The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 43rd, in the track's inaugural race in 1950 by Johnny Mantz. That race had a 75-car field.
Darlington is the site of one of the closest race finishes in NASCAR history. Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch by 0.002 seconds on March 16, 2003 - which is tied with Talladega (April 17, 2011) as the two smallest margins of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.
Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (05/10/2008 - 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Harry Gant (05/06/1991 - 51 years, 7 months, 22 days)
Darlington Raceway Data
Race #: 11 of 36 (05-12-12)
Track Size: 1.366 miles
Race Length: 501.322 miles
Banking Turns 1 & 2: 25 degrees
Banking Turns 3 & 4: 23 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 6 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 6 degrees
Frontstretch: 1,229 feet
Backstretch: 1,229 feet
Top 12 Driver Rating at Darlington
Jeff Gordon 116.2
Greg Biffle 109.7
Denny Hamlin 108.3
Jimmie Johnson 100.6
Ryan Newman 100.2
Kyle Busch. 99.6
Kasey Kahne 96.7
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 92.5
Carl Edwards 92.4
Martin Truex Jr 91.5
Tony Stewart 88.1
Brad Keselowski 87.3
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 races (seven total) at Darlington.
2011 pole winner: Kasey Kahne (181.254 mph, 27.131 seconds, 05-06-11)
2011 race winner: Regan Smith (129.678 mph, 05-07-11)
Track qualifying record: Kasey Kahne (181.254 mph, 27.131 seconds, 05-06-11)
Track race record: Kyle Busch (140.350 mph, 05-10-08)
Driver Ratings for Winners
Driver/Year (Driver Rating-Series Driver Rating Rank)
Regan Smith/2011 (62.7-28th)
Denny Hamlin/2010 (112.5-4th)
Mark Martin/2009 (85.8-12th)
Kyle Busch/2008 (85.7-13th)
Jeff Gordon/2007 (112.4-4th)
Greg Biffle/2006 (144.4-1st)
* Pre-Race Driver Ratings of the year the driver won at Darlington (last six races).
NASCAR in South Carolina
There have been 218 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in South Carolina.
133 NASCAR drivers (all-time) have their home state recorded as South Carolina.
There have been 11 race winners from South Carolina in NASCAR's three national series: