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Statistical Advance: Analyzing the Bojangles' Southern 500

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Darlington
Denny Hamlin........................... 107.9
Kyle Busch............................... 104.2
Jimmie Johnson........................ 102.1
Kevin Harvick............................. 99.6
Kyle Larson................................ 96.6
Martin Truex Jr........................... 96.5
Brad Keselowski......................... 95.5
Kasey Kahne.............................. 95.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr....................... 94.0
Ryan Newman............................ 93.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2016 races (12 total) among active drivers at Darlington Raceway.

History

· Darlington Raceway was built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-1950.
· Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950 - 75 cars competed in the event - Curtis Turner won the pole at 82.034 mph, and the race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph, 6:38:40).
· 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 113 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races held at Darlington Raceway.

Starts

· 718 drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway; 438 in more than one.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Darlington with 65.
· Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers with 23 MENCS starts at Darlington; followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 21.
· Fred Lorenzen (16 starts) leads the series in average starting position at Darlington with a 3.688.
· Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the series in average starting position at Darlington with a 9.455.
· Denny Hamlin (9.4) and Ryan Newman (9.8) are the only two active drivers with an average starting position inside the top 10.
· 125 different drivers have made their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career debut at Darlington Raceway; the most recent was T.J. Bell (5/7/2011).

Poles

· 49 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at least one Coors Light pole at Darlington Raceway.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in Coors Light poles at Darlington with 12 - (1967, '70, '72, '73 sweep, '75 sweep, '76 sweep, '77, '78 and '82)
· Kasey Kahne leads all active drivers in Coors Light poles at Darlington with four (2004, '05, '06 and '11).
· Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light Pole Award at Darlington in 1950 in an Oldsmobile with a speed of 82.034 mph.
· Nine drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Darlington. Kasey Kahne is the only active driver with consecutive poles (2005-2006).
· David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Darlington with five (1975 - 1977).
· Youngest Darlington pole winner: Kurt Busch (09/02/2001 - 23 years, 0 months, 29 days).
· Oldest Darlington pole winner: David Pearson (09/06/1982 - 47 years, 8 months, 15 days).
· Eight drivers have posted their first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole at Darlington Raceway: Cotton Owens (1957), Fred Lorenzen (1961), Bill Elliott (1981), Ken Schrader (1987), John Andretti (1995), Kurt Busch (2001), Elliott Sadler (2003) and Clint Bowyer (2007).
· A total of 12 different manufacturers have won at least one Coors Light pole in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway; led by Ford with 42 poles, followed by Chevrolet (21), Mercury (13), Pontiac (10), Dodge (8), Buick (3), Oldsmobile (3), Plymouth (3), Chrysler (1), Hudson (1), Studebaker (1) and Toyota (1).

Wins

· 49 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Darlington Raceway, led by David Pearson with 10 victories.
· Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with three wins.
· Jimmie Johnson (three) is the only active multiple race winner. Only five other active drivers have won at Darlington - Martin Truex Jr. (2016), Kevin Harvick (2014), Matt Kenseth (2013), Denny Hamlin (2010) and Kyle Busch (2008).

Wins

· Six drivers have posted their first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway: Johnny Mantz (1950), Nelson Stacy (1961), Larry Frank (1962), Terry Labonte (1980), Lake Speed (1988) and Regan Smith (2011).
· Youngest Darlington winner: Kyle Busch (05/10/2008 - 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
· Oldest Darlington winner: Harry Gant (09/01/1991 - 51 years, 7 months, 22 days).
· Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins by an organization at Darlington in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 14 victories - Tim Richmond (1986), Ricky Rudd (1991), Jeff Gordon (1995, '96 sweep, '97, '98, '02, '07), Terry Labonte (2003), Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep and 2012) and Mark Martin (2009).
· 11 different manufacturers have won in the MENCS at Darlington; led by Chevrolet with 41 victories; followed by Ford with 28 and Toyota has five.
· 20 of the 113 (17.6%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kevin Harvick in 2015.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson has won from the pole four times at Darlington - the series-most.
· The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Darlington. The outside front row (second-place) has produced the second-most wins (17).
· 37 of the 113 (32.7%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from the front row: 20 from first-place and 17 from second-place.
· 70 of the 113 (61.9%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from a top-five starting position.
· 97 of the 112 (85.8%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from a top-10 starting position.
· Six of the 113 (5.3%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Darlington is 43rd by Johnny Mantz in 1950 - the inaugural MENCS event.
· 13 drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Darlington; Dale Earnhardt (1989-1990) and Jeff Gordon (1995-1996) are tied for the series-most in consecutive wins at Darlington with three each.
· All six active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at Darlington Raceway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Of the six active winners, Kyle Busch won at Darlington in the fewest previous appearances (three).
· Matt Kenseth competed at Darlington Raceway 19 times before winning in 2013; the longest span of any the six active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series among active drivers with the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington without visiting Victory Lane at 21; followed by Kurt Busch with 20.

Additional Finishing Position Stats

· NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty are tied for the series-most runner-up finishes at Darlington with eight each.
· Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in second-place finishes at Darlington with three; followed by Kevin Harvick with two.
· Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Darlington with 25. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with nine; followed by Ryan Newman with seven.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott leads the series in top-10 finishes at Darlington with 35.
· Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers with 12 top 10s; followed by Matt Kenseth with 11.
· Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington with a 6.273.
· Two active series drivers have an average finish inside the top-10 at Darlington: Denny Hamlin (6.2) and Kyle Larson (7.0).

Track/Event Specific Stats

· Since the advent of electronic scoring (1993) the closest margin of victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway is the March 16, 2003 race won by Ricky Craven with a MOV of 0.002 second over Kurt Busch - the MOV is tied with the 2011 Talladega race as the closest finishes in the series using electronic scoring.
· There have been four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races resulting with a NASCAR Overtime finish at Darlington Raceway.
· Eight of the 113 races at Darlington Raceway have been shortened from their scheduled number of laps; the most recent was the fall race of 2000.
· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway six times: 1952, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2016.
· Dale Earnhardt leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Darlington Raceway with 2,648 laps led in 44 series starts.

Female Competitor Stats

· Three female drivers have competed at Darlington Raceway in the MENCS: Danica Patrick, Janet Guthrie, Shawna Robinson

NASCAR in South Carolina

· A total of 300 NASCAR national series races among 10 tracks have been held in the state of South Carolina.