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Stats advance: Analyzing the Bojangles' Southern 500

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2014) ? Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina going into the Bojangles' Southern 500 on April 12.

DARLINGTON-SPECIFIC STATISTICS
 
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
 
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
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. ? won by Johnny Mantz.
      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.
Notebook
   There have been 110 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington Raceway. The 1.366-mile track has hosted the fourth most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points paying races.  
      702 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway; 426 in more than one.
       NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Darlington with 65. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 33 starts; followed by Joe Nemechek with 27.
       Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Darlington in 1950 with a speed of 82.034 mph. 
   47 drivers have Coors Light poles at Darlington, led by David Pearson with 12. Kasey Kahne leads all active drivers with four.
    Nine drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Darlington. 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).
    46 different drivers have won at Darlington Raceway, led by David Pearson with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.
    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 at Darlington in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 14.
    11 different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Darlington; led by Chevrolet with 40 victories; followed by Ford with 28.
  19 of the 110 (17.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Dale Jarrett in 1997. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson has won from the pole four times at Darlington ? the series' most. 
   The Coors Light pole starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (19) than any other starting position at Darlington. The outside front row (second-place) has produced the second most wins (17).  
   36 of the 110 (32.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington have been won from the front row: 19 from the pole and 17 from second-place.
     95 of the 110 (86.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington have been won from a top-10 starting position.
   Six of the 110 (5.4%) NASCAR Sprint 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 was 43rd by Johnny Mantz in 1950 ? the inaugural NSCS event.
     Buddy Baker and Richard Petty are tied for theseries most runner-up finishes at Darlington with eight each. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in second-place finishes at Darlington with four.
        Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Darlington with 25. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19. 
       Bill Elliott leads the series in top-10 finishes at Darlington with 35. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 22.
      Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Darlington with a 6.758.
       Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Darlington with a 5.375.
      Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers have an average finish in the top 10 at Darlington: Denny Hamlin (5.3) and Jimmie Johnson (8.8).  
  13 drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Darlington; Dale Earnhardt (1989-1990)and Jeff Gordon (1995-1996)are tied for theseries lead in consecutive wins at Darlington with three each. 
    All six active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Darlington Raceway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Among active drivers, Kyle Busch won at Darlington in the fewest previous appearances (three).   
       Matt Kenseth competed at Darlington Raceway 19 times before winning last season; the longest span of any the six active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.
      Joe Nemechek leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington without visiting Victory Lane at 27.
     Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Darlington Raceway was the (03/16/2003) race won by Ricky Craven with a MOV of 0.002 second ? the MOV is tied with the 2011 Talladega race as the closest finishes in the NSCS using electronic scoring. 
     There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Darlington Raceway: 2005 (367/370), 2011 (367/370) and 2012 (367/368).
    Eight of the 110 races at Darlington Raceway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the fall race of 2000. 
    Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Darlington Raceway five times; most recently was the fall race of 2004. 
    Terry Labonte (09/04/1978) made his series debut at Darlington Raceway.
   Ken Schrader (03/29/1987), Kurt Busch (09/02/2001) and Clint Bowyer (05/13/2007) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Darlington.   
     Regan Smith (05/07/2011) and Terry Labonte (09/01/1980) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Darlington. 
      Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Darlington with 1,736 laps led in 33 starts.
      Three female drivers have competed at Darlington Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Race Name
Janet Guthrie
26
16
9/5/1977
Southern 500
Shawna Robinson
42
42
3/17/2002
Carolina Dodge Dealers 400
Danica Patrick
38
31
5/12/2012
Bojangles' Southern 500
Danica Patrick
40
28
5/11/2013
Bojangles' Southern 500
 
NASCAR in South Carolina
         There have been 220 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among 10 tracks in South Carolina.
Track Name
City
NSCS
Darlington Raceway
Darlington
110
Columbia Speedway
Columbia
43
Greenville-Pickens Speedway
Greenville
29
Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds
Spartanburg
22
Rambi Race Track
Myrtle Beach
9
Coastal Speedway
Myrtle Beach
2
Lancaster Speedway
Lancaster
2
Gamecock Speedway
Sumter
1
Hartsville Speedway
Hartsville
1
Newberry Speedway
Newberry
1
     133 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as South Carolina.
     11 drivers from South Carolina have won at least one race in NASCAR's three national series; eight have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Driver
NSCS
NNS
NCWTS
David Pearson
105
1
0
Cale Yarborough
83
0
0
Rex White
28
0
0
Cotton Owens
9
0
0
Tiny Lund
5
0
0
James Hylton
2
0
0
Johnny Allen
1
0
0
Joe Eubanks
1
0
0
Larry Pearson
0
15
0
Jason Keller
0
10
0
Butch Lindley
0
6
0
 

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