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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Showtime Southern 500 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Saturday, May 7th
SITE: Darlington Raceway (1950) -- Darlington, South Carolina
TRACK: 1.366-mile oval - 1,229 feet (Frontstretch); 1,229 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 60,000 (Grandstand Seating)
ANNUAL: 62nd
TELEVISION: FOX
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 7:30 p.m. (et); 7:45 p.m. (et) Green Flag
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Denny Hamlin
RUNNER-UP: Jamie McMurray
POLE WINNER: Jamie McMurray (Finished 2nd)
MILES: 501.322
LAPS: 367
QUALIFYING RECORD: Jamie McMurray, 2010 (180.370 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Kyle Busch, 2008 (140.350 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $5,547,816 (2010 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $288,525; 2nd Place - $243,779; 3rd Place - $188,698
 
2010 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Denny Hamlin86Kevin Harvick35
2Jamie McMurray17Kyle Busch39
3Kurt Busch148Jeff Burton11
4Jeff Gordon29Ryan Newman6
5Juan Pablo Montoya1510Brian Vickers3
2010 Showtime Southern 500 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 126.605 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 57 minutes, 35 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.908 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 11 for 56 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 20among 11 drivers
POLE WINNER: Jamie McMurray (180.370 m.p.h.)
Past Showtime Southern 500 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2010 -- Denny Hamlin (8th) -- Toyota -- 126.605 m.p.h.
2009 -- Mark Martin (12th) -- Chevrolet -- 119.687 m.p.h.
2008 -- Kyle Busch (6th) -- Toyota -- 140.350 m.p.h. (race record)
2007 -- Jeff Gordon (10th) -- Chevrolet -- 124.372 m.p.h.
2006 -- Greg Biffle (9th) -- Ford -- 135.127 m.p.h.
2005 -- Greg Biffle (3rd) -- Ford -- 123.031 m.p.h.
2004 -- Jimmie Johnson (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 125.004 m.p.h.
2003 -- Terry Labonte (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 120.736 m.p.h.
2002 -- Jeff Gordon (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 118.617 m.p.h.
2001 -- Ward Burton (37th) -- Dodge -- 122.773 m.p.h.
2000 -- Bobby Labonte (37th) -- Pontiac -- 108.275 m.p.h.
1999 -- Jeff Burton (15th) -- Ford -- 107.816 m.p.h.
1998 -- Jeff Gordon (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 139.031 m.p.h.
1997 -- Jeff Gordon (7th) -- Chevrolet -- 121.149 m.p.h.
1996 -- Jeff Gordon (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 135.757 m.p.h.
1995 -- Jeff Gordon (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 121.231 m.p.h.
1994 -- Bill Elliott (9th) -- Ford -- 127.952 m.p.h.
1993 -- Mark Martin (4th) -- Ford -- 137.932 m.p.h.
1992 -- Darrell Waltrip (9th) -- Chevrolet -- 104.839 m.p.h.
1991 -- Harry Gant (5th) -- Oldsmobile -- 133.508 m.p.h.
1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (1st) -- Chevrolet) -- 123.141 m.p.h.
1989 -- Dale Earnhardt (10th) -- Chevrolet -- 135.462 m.p.h.
1988 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Ford -- 128.297 m.p.h.
1987 -- Dale Earnhardt (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 115.520 m.p.h.
1986 -- Tim Richmond (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 120.992 m.p.h.
1985 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Ford -- 121.271 m.p.h.
1984 -- Harry Gant (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 128.526 m.p.h.
1983 -- Bobby Allison (14th) -- Buick -- 123.343 m.p.h.
1982 -- Cale Yarborough (9th) Buick -- 115.246 m.p.h.
1981 -- Neil Bonnett (3rd) -- Ford -- 126.410 m.p.h.
1980 -- Terry Labonte (10th) -- Chevrolet -- 115.210 m.p.h.
1979 -- David Pearson (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 126.260 m.p.h.
1978 -- Cale Yarborough (6th) -- Oldsmobile -- 116.692 m.p.h.
1977 -- David Pearson (5th) -- Mercury -- 106.740 m.p.h.
1976 -- David Pearson (1st) -- Mercury -- 120.534 m.p.h.
1975 -- Bobby Allison (3rd) -- AMC -- 116.828 m.p.h.
1974 -- Cale Yarborough (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 111.076 m.p.h.
1973 -- Cale Yarborough (8th) -- Chevrolet -- 134.033 m.p.h.
1972 -- Bobby Allison (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 128.124 m.p.h.
1971 -- Bobby Allison (1st) -- Mercury -- 131.399 m.p.h.
1970 -- Buddy Baker (2nd) -- Dodge -- 129.068 m.p.h.
1969 -- LeeRoy Yarbrough (4th) -- Ford -- 105.612 m.p.h.
1968 -- Cale Yarborough (2nd) -- Mercury -- 126.132 m.p.h.
1967 -- Richard Petty (1st) -- Plymouth -- 130.423 m.p.h.
1966 -- Darel Dieringer (3rd) -- Mercury -- 114.830 m.p.h.
1965 -- Ned Jarrett (10th) -- Ford -- 115.924 m.p.h.
1964 -- Buck Baker (6th) -- Dodge -- 117.757 m.p.h.
1963 -- Fireball Roberts (9th) -- Ford -- 129.785 m.p.h.
1962 -- Larry Frank (10th) -- Ford -- 117.965 m.p.h.
1961 -- Nelson Stacy (3rd) -- Ford -- 101.883 m.p.h.
1960 -- Buck Baker (2nd) -- Pontiac -- 105.901 m.p.h.
1959 -- Jim Reed (14th) -- Chevrolet -- 111.884 m.p.h.
1958 -- Fireball Roberts (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 102.585 m.p.h.
1957 -- Speedy Thompson (7th) -- Chevrolet -- 100.094 m.p.h.
1956 -- Curtis Turner (11th) -- Ford -- 95.167 m.p.h.
1955 -- Herb Thomas (8th) -- Chevrolet -- 92.789 m.p.h.
1954 -- Herb Thomas (23rd) -- Hudson -- 95.027 m.p.h.
1953 -- Buck Baker (7th) -- Oldsmobile -- 92.881 m.p.h.
1952 -- Fonty Flock (1st) -- Oldsmobile -- 74.513 m.p.h.
1951 -- Herb Thomas (2nd) -- Hudson -- 76.907 m.p.h.
1950 -- Johnny Mantz (43rd) -- Plymouth -- 75.251 m.p.h.
 
NOTE: Formerly called Southern 500 (1950-1988, 2009); Heinz Southern 500
(1989-1991); Mountain Dew Southern 500 (1992-97, 2001-04); Pepsi
Southern 500 (1998-2000); Dodge Charger 500 (2005-07); Dodge Challenger
500 (2008).
 
Past Showtime Southern 500 Pole Winners (Finish)
2010 -- Jamie McMurray -- 2nd
2009 -- Matt Kenseth -- 10th
2008 -- Greg Biffle -- 43rd
2007 -- Clint Bowyer -- 9th
2006 -- Kasey Kahne -- 21st
2005 -- Kasey Kahne -- 3rd
2004 -- None -- Weather
2003 -- Ryan Newman -- 23rd
2002 -- None -- Weather
2001 -- Kurt Busch -- 39th
2000 -- Jeremy Mayfield -- 41st
1999 -- Kenny Irwin -- 31st
1998 -- Dale Jarrett -- 3rd
1997 -- Bobby Labonte -- 7th
1996 -- Dale Jarrett -- 14th
1995 -- John Andretti --12th
1994 -- Geoff Bodine -- 27th
1993 -- Ken Schrader -- 9th
1992 -- Sterling Marlin -- 28th
1991 -- Davey Allison -- 12th
1990 -- Dale Earnhardt -- Won
1989 -- Alan Kulwicki -- 32nd
1988 -- Bill Elliott -- Won
1987 -- Davey Allison -- 29th
1986 -- Tim Richmond -- Won
1985 -- Bill Elliott -- Won
1984 -- Harry Gant -- Won
1983 -- Neil Bonnett -- 4th
1982 -- David Pearson -- 37th
1981 -- Harry Gant -- 14th
1980 -- Darrell Waltrip -- 25th
1979 -- Bobby Allison -- 10th
1978 -- David Pearson -- 28th
1977 -- Darrell Waltrip -- 6th
1976 -- David Pearson -- Won
1975 -- David Pearson -- 27th
1974 -- Richard Petty -- 35th
1973 -- David Pearson -- 2nd
1972 -- Bobby Allison -- Won
1971 -- Bobby Allison -- Won
1970 -- David Pearson -- 4th
1969 -- Cale Yarborough -- 29th
1968 -- Charlie Glotzbach -- 4th
1967 -- Richard Petty -- Won
1966 -- LeeRoy Yarbrough -- 8th
1965 -- Junior Johnson -- 44th
1964 -- Richard Petty -- 3rd
1963 -- Fred Lorenzen -- 3rd
1962 -- Fireball Roberts -- 36th
1961 -- Fireball Roberts -- 2nd
1960 -- Fireball Roberts -- 9th
1959 -- Fireball Roberts -- 7th
1958 -- Eddie Pagan -- 36th
1957 -- Cotton Owens -- 2nd
1956 -- Speedy Thompson -- 2nd
1955 -- Fireball Roberts -- 66th
1954 -- Buck Baker -- 44th
1953 -- Fonty Flock -- 2nd
1952 -- Fonty Flock -- Won
1951 -- Frank Mundy -- 82nd
1950 -- Curtis Turner -- 60th
Last Race Results
RACE: Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 (April 30th)
SITE: Richmond International Raceway -- Richmond, Virginia
MILES: 300
LAPS: 400
WINNER: Kyle Busch
RUNNER-UP: Denny Hamlin
THIRD: Kasey Kahne
FOURTH: David Ragan
FIFTH: Carl Edwards
POLE WINNER: Juan Pablo Montoya (Finished 29th)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 8 minutes, 55 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 95.280 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.805 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 8 for 60 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 14 among 10 drivers
LAP LEADERS: J. Montoya 1-25; C. Bowyer 26-43; K. Kahne 44-72; D. Hamlin
73-89; Kyle Busch 90-199; J. Gordon 200-203; Kyle Busch 204-238;
D. Hamlin 239-245; M. Truex Jr. 246-257; M. Kenseth 258-273; D.
Hamlin 274-287; Kyle Busch 288-293; C. Edwards 294-304; J. Burton
305-316; Kyle Busch 317-400.
Showtime Southern 500 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
00David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Toyota/Aaron's Outdoors
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
4Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Toyota/Red Bull
5Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com/Carquest
6David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/UPS
7Robby Gordon (Orange, CA)Dodge/Speed Energy
09Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Chevrolet/Security Benefits
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Stanley
11 *Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/Sport Clips
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Toyota/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Mobil 1/Office Depot
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/Valvoline
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Wiley X
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/Wrigley
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
22Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Turtle Wax
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/TBA
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Ken Schrader (Fenton, MO)Ford/FAS Lane Racing
33Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Chevrolet/BB&T
34David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Taco Bell
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Golden Corral
37Tony Raines (LaPorte, IN)Ford/TBA
38Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Ford/Long John Silver's
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Tornados
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Ford/Best Buy
46J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Chevrolet/Red Line Oil
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Lance/Tom's Snacks
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
50T.J. Bell (Reno, VA)Toyota/TBA
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA
60Mike Skinner (Susanville, CA)Toyota/Big Red
66Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Toyota/racehp.com
71Andy Lally (Northport, NY)Ford/Interstate Moving Services
75Derrike Cope (Spanaway, WA)Dodge/TBA
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
81Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Chevrolet/TBA
83Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC)Toyota/Red Bull
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/NEMCO Motorsports
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat'l Guard
92Brian Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/K-Automotive Motorsports
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Aflac
 
* - Defending champion
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Driver200220032004200520062007200820092010
Denny Hamlin------------10th2nd7th13thWon
Jamie McMurray---4th4th6th42nd16th11th22nd2nd
Kurt Busch28th2nd6th37th19th12th12th16th3rd
Jeff GordonWon33rd41st2nd2ndWon3rd5th4th
Juan Pablo Montoya---------------23rd23rd20th5th
Kevin Harvick3rd36th8th14th37th17th39th11th6th
Kyle Busch---------23rd7th37thWon34th7th
Jeff Burton11th42nd11th21st9th10th10th12th8th
Ryan Newman5th14th3rd5th6th4th37th4th9th
Brian Vickers------21st16th41st43rd25th31st10th
David Reutimann---------------33rd19th29th11th
Brad Keselowski---------------------7th12th
Matt Kenseth8th8th31st26th3rd7th6th10th13th
Carl Edwards---------9th39th5th2nd32nd15th
Mark Martin29th4th7th4th8th14th16thWon16th
Dale Earnhardt Jr4th6th10th8th5th8th4th27th18th
Martin Truex Jr------------14th11th14th6th19th
Kasey Kahne------5th3rd21st20th22nd23rd20th
Greg Biffle---12th12thWonWon15th43rd8th22nd
Tony Stewart10th36th16th10th12th6th21st3rd23rd
Joey Logano---------------------9th27th
Paul Menard---------------31st36th15th30th
Clint Bowyer------------23rd9th15th37th32nd
Jimmie Johnson6th27thWon7th4th3rd13th2nd36th
 
Mover of the Week
Brian Vickers - Started 37th on the grid and finished 10th
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Jeff Gordon
Darkhorse - Kasey Kahne
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Kyle Busch) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse (Tony Stewart) - Finished 9th
 
NOTES:
The 62nd running of the Showtime Southern 500 takes center stage this weekend on the hallowed grounds of Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's first superspeedway.

Defending champion Denny Hamlin might be the driver to beat this week.

Hamlin won his charity race at Richmond on last week, followed that with a victory in the Nationwide event the next day and then placed second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Kyle Busch, in Saturday's 400-lap Sprint Cup Series race.

One year ago, Hamlin benefited from a late-race mishap from both Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton to win a Sprint Cup event at Darlington for the first time.

Burton passed Hamlin for the lead just before the 11th and final caution came with 26 laps remaining. One lap prior to the caution, Gordon was attempting to make his final pit stop of the race, but missed the pit entrance when he was blocked by Tony Stewart. During the caution, Hamlin took two tires only and exited the pits first to reclaim the lead. NASCAR penalized Burton after he ran over his air hose. Hamlin, who led 104 of 367 laps, finished nearly two seconds ahead of pole sitter Jamie McMurray for the third of eight 2010 wins.

Mark Martin won this race for the second time in 2009. It took 16 years, but Martin was able to defeat Jimmie Johnson for the coveted title. Starting 12th on the grid, Martin took the lead on lap 322 and held on the final 46 laps for the second of his five wins in 2009. Martin, who finished second on the points list that season, owns 40 career Sprint Cup titles, his last coming at Darlington. Greg Biffle led for a race-high 117 laps, but placed eighth, while pole sitter Matt Kenseth finished 10th.

In 2008, Kyle Busch posted the third of his eight wins in 2008, as he raced to victory ahead of Carl Edwards. Busch dominated the race, leading 169 of the 367 laps to defeat Edwards by 3.115 seconds. Pole sitter Greg Biffle failed to finish the race due to engine problems and placed last.

Jeff Gordon led only 22 laps, but it was the final 22, as he clipped Hamlin by less than a second for his 78th career Sprint Cup title in 2007. Gordon, who now totals 83 checkered flags, started from the 10th position on the grid and made his way to the top on lap 346, overtaking Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin dominated the race, leading five times for 179 laps, while Johnson, who placed third, led four times for 44 laps. Pole sitter Clint Bowyer led for the first 16 laps, but faded and placed ninth.

In 2006, Greg Biffle became the first back-to-back winner of this race since Dale Jarrett in 1997-98, as he crossed the finish line 0.209 of a second ahead of Jeff Gordon. The win, the 10th of his Sprint Cup career, was the first of two 2006 victories. Biffle, who led seven times during the race for a total of 170 laps, reclaimed the advantage for the last time on lap 319 of the 367 lap race before an estimated crowd of 75,000. The race was filled with lead changes, 25 in all, among 10 drivers. Pole sitter Kasey Kahne led three times for 41 laps and placed 21st.

Gordon has now posted seven wins at Darlington Raceway and has finished in the top-10 21 times in 30 races. In fact, Gordon has placed in the top five in each of the last seven Darlington races. Gordon's average finish at Darlington is 11.033 and has led a series high 1,720 laps.

Darlington Raceway is celebrating its 62nd year of racing. The track was originally built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-50 and hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history on asphalt. The track was re-measured to 1.375-mile in 1953 and then re-configured to 1.366 in the spring of 1970. The track has been re-paved in 1995 and then again in 2007. There have been 107 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway since the track opened. Not only is Darlington the site of the oldest NASCAR race on asphalt, it is also 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 - the closest margin of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in mid-1993.

This and That at Darlington: The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Darlington was 43rd, in the track's inaugural race in 1950 by Johnny Mantz. That race had a 75-car field. 19 races at Darlington have been won from the pole, the most productive starting position. Hendrick Motorsports has won 13 races at Darlington, more than any other organization. David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine. Pearson leads all drivers with 12 poles at Darlington. The pole sitter has won at Darlington 19 times, while the top five positions have yielded 68 wins. The last pole sitter to win this race was back in 1997 when Dale Jarrett accomplished the feat.

There are only three current race tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit in which Tony Stewart has never won, and that includes Darlington. Stewart owns an abysmal, 0-for-18 mark at Darlington. His best finish was in 2009, when he placed third. Stewart has won at 19 of the 23 tracks he has raced on, and he didn't win at Rockingham, which is no longer active for Cup racing. Stewart has won on this track when racing on the Nationwide circuit, when he placed first in 2008. In 18 Sprint starts, Stewart has led just 14 laps with an average finish of 12.556.

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the May 15th running of the FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway, as Kyle Busch defends his title.

05/03 18:29:27 ET

As of May 3, 2011, at 06:29 PM ET

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