Darlington 101: Trends to watch, tire info, rule changes

It’s time to turn back the clocks and pay homage to 75 years of NASCAR with Throwback Weekend. There is no better facility to honor the greats of the sport and dawn paint schemes of the past than at Darlington Raceway.

The historic track, along with its rough and worn-out surface, serves as the time capsule that continues to evoke every decade of NASCAR and blend it all at once whenever there’s on-track action. There’s a lot to be on the lookout for this weekend so here’s some important information to get you into the spirit of Throwback Weekend with trends to watch ahead of Sunday’s Goodyear 400 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), tire info and interactive ways to follow all the action.

RELATED: See every throwback scheme for Darlington | Betting favorites for Darlington Cup race


Following an exhilarating Kansas race that saw last-lap contact for the win and a post-race scuffle involving one of NASCAR’s most polarizing figures, the tone has been set for what will be three upcoming weekends of thrilling on-track action. Playoff points continue to be paramount but there’s an added element of bragging rights for the rest of May with the legendary venues NASCAR will be traveling to for the rest of the month.

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Any race at Darlington feels like a major event that all drivers want to score a victory at and we’ve seen what the Cup Series’ best are willing to do — highlighted when defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano moved William Byron in the closing laps to take the win.

A big check on the line and the return to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the All-Star Race following Darlington is sure to produce fireworks that come with short-track racing and May closes with NASCAR’s longest race at the home track of many teams with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

MORE: Cup Series schedule


— Five different drivers have won the last five Darlington races


— Toyota has won four of the last eight Darlington races while Chevrolet has only won one in the last 12

— Erik Jones is the only driver under 30 years old to win at Darlington in the last 15 races

— The last three Darlington winners got their first win of the season

(Via Racing Insights)


1985: Bill Elliott wins Southern 500, earns “Million Dollar Bill” moniker | WATCH

1997: Jeff Gordon holds off Jeff Burton in Southern 500 | WATCH

2003: Kurt Busch, Ricky Craven battle to start/finish line for Darlington win | WATCH

2022: Erik Jones scores Southern 500 victory in 200th win for No. 43 | WATCH



Saturday, May 6

— 10:35 a.m. ET: Practice (FS2, MRN) [Moves to FS1 at 11 a.m. ET]

— 11:20 a.m. ET: Qualifying (FS1, MRN)

Sunday, May 7

— 3 p.m. ET: Goodyear 400 (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

MORE: Full weekend schedule at Darlington



Goodyear tires at Darlington
Goodyear tires at Darlington

To celebrate Goodyear’s 125 years in business, the tire brand will bring a limited-edition sidewall design that features the original Wingfoot logo created in 1898 and will be seen on 3,500 tires at all three national series races during Throwback Weekend — including the brand‘s title sponsor Cup race, the Goodyear 400. The tire pays tribute to the longevity of NASCAR and Goodyear’s relationship as well as celebrates Goodyear‘s 125th anniversary in 2023.


The GEICO Restart Zone returned to its 2022 dimensions after being extended for this season’s first five races.

Goodyear brings the tire setup to Darlington that was first featured at Homestead-Miami Speedway last October. It’s the same setup that was used at Kansas Speedway last Sunday. Cup teams will be allotted one set of tires for practice, one for qualifying and an additional 10 for Sunday’s 400-miler.

In the event of a lost wheel that is contained to pit road, the offending team will be subject to a pass-through penalty under green-flag conditions. If the infraction occurs during a caution period, the offending team will restart at the tail end of the field.

If the wheel breaks free outside of pit road, the new rules guidelines mandate a two-lap penalty plus a two-race suspension for two crew members. Each penalty is series-specific: Violations in one series will not impact those crew members‘ eligibility to participate in other series.


NOTE: No. 2 Team Penske crew members Keiston France and Patrick Gray have been suspended from the next two Championship Series events after Austin Cindric lost a tire on track at Kansas last Sunday. 

RELATED: See rules changes for 2023


Fans can get in on the action all season long with NASCAR Fan Rewards, a free program that rewards fans for participating in the action when they watch races and play NASCAR Fantasy.

There‘s no cost to join. Fans must be 18 years or older to participate in the program.

Earn points by checking into a race from home or at the track, setting your Fantasy Live lineup, making purchases on the NASCAR.com shop and more. Points can be redeemed for race tickets, merchandise and VIP experiences at the track, including pace car rides and waving the green flag at qualifying.




NASCAR Mobile has now added support for fans to “Follow the Race” and access live leaderboard and race information from Live Activities in the current app release (v13.2.0), available now. Android users, we didn‘t forget you — the same functionality has been custom-built for Android devices, as well.

How to access Live Activities on iPhones:

  1. Make sure your iOS device has been updated to 16.1 or higher.

  2. Available on the leaderboard of all NASCAR Series races.

  3. Click on the three-dot menu near the top right of screen.

  4. Select “Follow the Race.”

  5. Swipe up to access the home screen and you will see the Live Activities at the top.

  6. Lock the device and you will see Live Activities on the Lock Screen.

  7. To turn off, simply visit the leaderboard, click the three-dot menu and “Unfollow the Race.”



Want to manage a team and race your way to the top of the leaderboards? Check out NASCAR Fantasy Live, which is open now. The free-to-play game lets you choose your drivers each week and show off your crew-chief instincts by garaging a driver by the end of Stage 2, and there is a $25,000 prize for the winner.

How to play: Fantasy Live | Set up a team today!


Get additional camera views by logging on to NASCAR Drive, where each week, in-car cameras will be available — as well as a battle cam and an overhead look.

NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement to the NASCAR Mobile App. Log in to the mobile app during the race for polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more — and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.