Fox News - Fair & Balanced

Sports


NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Bojangles' Southern 500 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Saturday, May 12th
SITE: Darlington Raceway (1950) -- Darlington, South Carolina
TRACK: 1.366-mile oval - 1,229 feet (Frontstretch); 1,229 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 68,000 (Grandstand Seating)
ANNUAL: 63rd
TELEVISION: FOX
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)/Green Flag: 7:15 p.m. (ET)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Regan Smith
RUNNER-UP: Carl Edwards
POLE WINNER: Kasey Kahne (Finished 4th)
MILES: 501.322
LAPS: 367
QUALIFYING RECORD: Kasey Kahne, 2011 (181.254 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Kyle Busch, 2008 (140.350 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $5,531,600 (2011 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $272,745; 2nd Place - $248,966; 3rd Place - $178,358
 
2011 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Regan Smith236Denny Hamlin3
2Carl Edwards47Tony Stewart9
3Brad Keselowski108Greg Biffle22
4Kasey Kahne19Jamie McMurray12
5Ryan Newman210Martin Truex Jr29
2011 Bojangles' Southern 500 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 129.678 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 53 minutes, 51 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.196 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 11 for 46 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 21 among 12 drivers
POLE WINNER: Kasey Kahne (181.254 m.p.h.)
Past Bojangles' Southern 500 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Regan Smith (23rd) -- Chevrolet -- 129.678 m.p.h.
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), Showtime Southern 500 (2010-11).
 
Past Bojangles' Southern 500 Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Kasey Kahne -- 4th
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: Aaron's 499 (May 6th)
SITE: Talladega Superspeedway -- Talladega, Alabama
MILES: 516.04
LAPS: 194
WINNER: Brad Keselowski
RUNNER-UP: Kyle Busch
THIRD: Matt Kenseth
FOURTH: Kasey Kahne
FIFTH: Greg Biffle
POLE WINNER: Jeff Gordon (Finished 33rd)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 13 minutes, 17 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 160.192 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.304 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 24 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 34 among 17 drivers
LAP LEADERS: J. Gordon - pole; T. Stewart 1-16; P. Menard 17; T. Kvapil 18; M.
Kenseth 19-24; M. Waltrip 25-45; J. Johnson 46-50; M. Kenseth
51-59; J. Burton 60-61; D. Earnhardt Jr. 62-71; M. Kenseth 72-86;
K. Kahne 87-94; J. Montoya 95; K. Kahne 96-98; J. Montoya 99-100;
G. Biffle 101; K. Harvick 102; P. Menard 103-104; G. Biffle
105-111; J. Burton 112; G. Biffle 113-119; Kurt Busch 120-121; M.
Kenseth 122-133; Kurt Busch 134-135; M. Kenseth 136-142; Kyle
Busch 143; P. Menard 144-150; B. Keselowski 151-158; D. Hamlin
159-161; C. Mears 162-163; D. Hamlin 164-166; M. Kenseth 167-174;
D. Hamlin 175-176; M. Kenseth 177-192; B. Keselowski 193-194.
Bojangles' Southern 500 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
5Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Chevrolet/Rockwell Tools
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/DeWalt
10Danica Patrick (Roscoe, IL)Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/Sports Clips
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Ford/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
15Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Toyota/5-Hour Energy
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M/OH/ES
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Zest
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/Wrigley
19Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Toyota/Humphrey Smith Racing
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
22A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
23Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Chevrolet/North Texas Pipe
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger
26Josh Wise (Riverside, CA)Ford/MDS Transport
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/PPG
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Toyota/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/BB&T
32Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA)Ford/TBA
33Stephen Leicht (Asheville, NC)Chevrolet/littlejoesautos.com
34David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/Peanut Patch
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
38David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/A&W All American Food
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Wix
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43Aric Almirola (Tampa, FL)Ford/Gravely Mower
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Scott Products
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
49J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Toyota/JPO Absorbents
51Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
52To Be AnnouncedToyota/crusaderstaffing.com
55Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
74Cole Whitt (Alpine, CA)Chevrolet/Turn One Racing
78 *Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row
79Scott Speed (Manteca, CA)Ford/Team Kyle
83Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Burger King/Dr. Pepper
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/AM FM Energy Wood Pellet
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Diet Mt. Dew/Nat Guard
93Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Toyota/Burger King/Dr. Pepper
98Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Ford/Curb Records
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Roush Fenway Racing
 
* - Defending champion
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Driver200320042005200620072008200920102011
Regan Smith---------------29th21st17thWon
Carl Edwards------9th39th5th2nd32nd15th2nd
Brad Keselowski------------------7th12th3rd
Kasey Kahne---5th3rd21st20th22nd23rd20th4th
Ryan Newman14th3rd5th6th4th37th4th9th5th
Denny Hamlin---------10th2nd7th13thWon6th
Tony Stewart36th16th10th12th6th21st3rd23rd7th
Greg Biffle12th12thWonWon15th43rd8th22nd8th
Jamie McMurray4th4th6th42nd16th11th22nd2nd9th
Martin Truex Jr---------14th11th14th6th19th10th
Kyle Busch------23rd7th37thWon34th7th11th
Jeff Gordon33rd41st2nd2ndWon3rd5th4th12th
Marcos Ambrose------------------33rd25th13th
Dale Earnhardt Jr6th10th8th5th8th4th27th18th14th
Jimmie Johnson27thWon7th4th3rd13th2nd36th15th
Kevin Harvick36th8th14th37th17th39th11th6th17th
Mark Martin4th7th4th8th14th16thWon16th19th
A.J. Allmendinger------------36th27th17th37th20th
Paul Menard------------31st36th15th30th22nd
Juan Pablo Montoya------------23rd23rd20th5th23rd
Matt Kenseth8th31st26th3rd7th6th10th13th25th
Kurt Busch2nd6th37th19th12th12th16th3rd27th
Clint Bowyer---------23rd9th15th37th32nd31st
Jeff Burton42nd11th21st9th10th10th12th8th33rd
Joey Logano------------------9th27th35th
 
Mover of the Week
David Ragan - Started 32nd on the grid and finished 7th
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Denny Hamlin
Darkhorse - Ryan Newman
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Dale Earnhardt Jr) - Finished 9th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Brad Keselowski) - Finished 1st
 
NOTES:
In what turned out to be a major upset, Regan Smith became a first-time winner on the Sprint Cup circuit, as he captured the 2011 running of the Southern 500.

Racing on the hallowed grounds of Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's first superspeedway, Smith took over the lead when he opted not to pit, while most of the other leaders came in for a final round of stops during a caution in the closing laps.

After the restart, Smith continued to run in front when Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer wound up bumping into each during a three-wide battle coming out of turn four. Bowyer slammed hard into the inside wall. Busch then made contact with Harvick and sent him into the outside wall.

The incident setup a green-white checkered finish. Smith quickly pulled away from Carl Edwards after the final restart, but Smith scraped the wall along the backstretch on the last lap, allowing Edwards to gain on him.

Smith managed to fend off Edwards at the finish by 0.2 seconds for his first win in his 105th career Sprint Cup Series start. With the win, Smith became the sixth different driver to claim his first Sprint Cup win at Darlington.

Two years ago, Denny 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 that year, 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 85 checkered flags, started from the 10th position on the grid and made his way to the top on lap 346, overtaking Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin had 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 31 races. In fact, Gordon has placed in the top five in seven of the last eight Darlington races. Gordon's average finish at Darlington is 11.065 and has led a series high 1,720 laps.

Darlington Raceway is celebrating its 63rd 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 108 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 and along with Talladega (April 17, 2011) - these are closest margins 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-19 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 19 Sprint starts, Stewart has led just 20 laps with an average finish of 12.263.

Ryan Newman will once again search for his 50th career pole this week. Newman captured the pole at Darlington back in 2003. Greg Biffle is stuck on 4,999 laps led, as he seeks to break the 5,000 barrier. In addition, Brad Keselowski will start his 100th career Sprint Cup race this weekend. Carl Edwards was the last driver to win his 100th start.

The next event on the Sprint Cup Series schedule is the May 19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards is the defending race winner.

05/08 17:17:01 ET

As of May 8, 2012, at 05:17 PM ET