Darlington 101: Starting lineup, odds, 'Blue Streak' is back

·4 min read
Darlington 101: Starting lineup, odds, 'Blue Streak' is back

It’s throwback weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington Raceway and the tribute paint schemes are loaded for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Check out this week’s edition of the 101 for a comprehensive list of details you need to know ahead of the Mother’s Day race.

STARTING LINEUP

Brad Keselowski is leading the field to green for the second consecutive week, claiming the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s 293-lap race.

Starting alongside the No. 2 Team Penske Ford is the 2020 throwback race winner Kevin Harvick, followed by Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., William Byron and Chase Elliott filling out the next two rows. See the full starting lineup for Darlington.

RELATED: How does Keselowski stack up at Darlington? | Darlington throwback schemes

BETTING ODDS, BIGGEST SLEEPER?

Familiar faces top the betting charts this weekend, with Denny Hamlin (11-2) and Kyle Larson (6-1) solid bets to make a trip to Victory Lane, according to BetMGM Darlington odds. Trailing the pair of favorites, there is an intriguing list of challengers who have fared well at the track in recent history and bring good value to the books:

  • Kevin Harvick (7-1) claimed the checkered flag in two of the last three races at Darlington and boasts an impressive 10-race top 10 streak

  • Kyle Busch (8-1) has five finishes of seventh or better in the last six trips there.

  • Erik Jones (80-1) might be the biggest sleeper of them all, after winning at Darlington in 2019 and two top-five finishes in the three races there in 2020. Jones is also fresh off a checkered-flag run in the 2021 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational race, showcasing his consistent ability to navigate his way to the front of the pack.

Source: Racing Insights

RULES PACKAGE

The NASCAR rules package also used at tracks 1 mile in length and under and at road courses will be in effect with a tapered spacer used to set a target of 750 horsepower, along with a low-downforce race package.

GOODYEAR “BLUE STREAK” TIRES

Cup Series teams are allotted 11 sets of Goodyear “Blue Streak” Speedway Radials to conquer the 400-mile marathon. Exclusively tailored for throwback weekend, Goodyear is bringing back the 1960s and 1970s blue streak to the sidewall design that is popular among fans and drivers alike.

“There is a lot to be excited about at Darlington this weekend,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear‘s director of racing. “Not only is the Cup race called the ‘Goodyear 400‘, it‘s throwback weekend for the sport, we are running our ‘Blue Streak‘ sidewall design and, with the abrasive track surface, tires are always a story.”

With such an abrasive surface, could the perfect pit stop decide the winner of the race?

HISTORY AT DARLINGTON

— Sunday’s Cup Series race will be the 120th premier series race at Darlington Raceway.

— 2021 is the first time since 2004 that Darlington has two races originally scheduled for one season. Three races were held there in 2020 after the schedule realignment.

— South Carolina‘s David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 wins and 12 poles (five were consecutive) at Darlington; Pearson is from Spartanburg, S.C. which is 165 miles west of the track.

— Joe Gibbs Racing won six of the last 10 races at Darlington and have not gone consecutive Darlington races without a win since 2011 and 2012.

— The final lead change was with less than 25 to go in eight of the last 10 Darlington races.

Source: Racing Insights

RELATED: Vote for your favorite scheme of the weekend

FANTASY LIVE

Join NASCAR Fantasy Live to compete weekly for points and bragging rights. Already signed up? Go ahead and build your lineup for Darlington.

2021 Fantasy Live points leaders are Denny Hamlin (481), Martin Truex Jr. (394) and William Byron (385).

ALSO ON NASCAR.COM
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