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Darlington 500 Race Preview

Written By Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image credits - Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images

After a thrilling end in Daytona, which saw multiple drivers come short of the all-important win that would catapult them into the playoffs, while Chris Buescher continued his hot streak, picking up his third win in 28 days, the countdown to Phoenix starts now, as sixteen drivers fight for the championship of the NASCAR Cup Series. The first race of the Round of 16 will be held at Darlington, South Carolina. Will any of the playoff drivers be able to secure a trip to the next round immediately?


Track Preview

The Darlington Raceway is located in Darlington, South Carolina. An infamous track for its peculiar shape, the track is 1.37 miles long (2.20 kilometers), and also has an incredible 25 degree and 23 degree banking for the smaller and the larger turns respectively.


The drivers will roar around the race track for 367 laps, 115 laps for stages one and two, and 137 laps for the final stage. The huge banking and high speed racing will produce a lot of exciting side-by-side racing, even going three-wide into the short turn, a moment to look forward to for fans.


2023 will mark the 74th running of this event. Weather forecast shows sunny conditions for the race. Speaking of the race, it will get underway at 18:00 ET (15:00 PT, 00:00 CEST).


Race Predictions

Ford continued their resurgence tour, having led a major portion of the Daytona 400, and capped off the impressive weekend with a top 3 of Buescher, Keselowski, and Almirola, all Ford drivers. The two RFK drivers Buescher and Keselowski will be on the hunt for another win, following up a terrific 1-2 finish in Daytona for the two veterans.


However, the Toyota has proven to be a better car around Darlington, having won six of the last ten Southern 500 races. Out of the six cars fielded, five made the playoffs, with the sole exception of rookie Ty Gibbs, and it didn’t happen out of luck. This is one of the strongest playoff lineups Toyota has had in years, and expect them to make a statement, by sending one of the drivers into victory lane.


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