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NASCAR: NASCAR: Darlington : Carolina 400

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posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 05:58 PM
Race #5 of 36

It's actually the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, too long for the title.

Darlington Raceway
Every driver who has strapped on a helmet and climbed behind the steering wheel has wanted to win at Darlington because the toughest is most desirable. For those few select drivers who have won races at the granddaddy of superspeedways, there is a priceless satisfaction in knowing they've conquered the unique egg-shaped oval nicknamed "Too Tough To Tame."

Track Facts

Banking/Turns: 25/23
Distance: 1.366 miles
Shape: Oval

Past race and pole winners

Year - race winner - pole winner
2003 - Ricky Craven - Elliott Sadler
2002 - Sterling Marlin - Ricky Craven
2001 - Dale Jarrett - rainout qual.
2000 - Ward Burton - Jeff Gordon
1999 - Jeff Burton - Jeff Gordon

Nextel Cup 500-Mile Race Record -
Dale Earnhardt 139.958 03|28|93

Nextel Cup Qualifying Record -
Ward Burton 173.797 1996


posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 06:03 PM
thats some nice seats up at the top there


posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 06:05 PM
So whats the early news,who fancy's there chances of winning the Carolina 400?

posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 06:27 PM
with the addition of the safer barriers at darlington it has taken 30 inches off the width of the track, this will be especially important coming out of the 4th turn at the narrow end of the track, because the cars run inches from the wall coming out of the turns here, it will be interesting to see who adapts to the new tires, spoiler, and groove.....

posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 06:43 PM
why darlington is egg shaped, in 1949 the owner harold brassington decided he wanted to build a race track, the track is shaped the way it is because his favorite bass fishing pond caused one end of the track to have a tighter turn than the other, the track is the same as when it was built except that the front and back stretch were switched in 1997

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 12:34 PM
Who is the favourites to win this time around?

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 06:40 PM
i am going to go with the veterns this week, i think the new rules and extremly narrow abrasive track will leave quite a few teams searching for the right setup, after my teams poor performance last week i have no where to go but up

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 07:05 PM
I'm going with Tony Stewart, he's gonna be hungry after getting the win stolen from him by Dale Jr. last week. But don't count out Matt Kenseth this week, if it hadn't been for that unfortunate pit road incident last week he might have won it. All that aside it's gonna be one of the veterans, new, softer tires, on a track that ate up the old tires, it's gonna take some experience to get around all 400 miles of this race.

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 09:56 AM
Here is the entry list for this week's race at Darlington.

Here is's power rankings for this week.

Friday - qualifying, 3:10 pm
Sunday - race, 1 pm

Last week: A week after he nearly was parked for running too slow, Dale Earnhardt Jr. zoomed by Jeremy Mayfield with 15 laps to go and sprinted to an easy victory at the Golden Corral 500 in Atlanta. The previous week at Las Vegas, Earnhardt was so far off the pace that NASCAR warned his crew he was right at the minimum speed.

Darlington Last year: Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch bumped and battled in the final two laps of the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 before Craven won by .002 seconds, the closest finish in Winston Cup history since the circuit went to electronic scoring in 1993. Craven only led the final lap.

Fast facts: Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth have two wins apiece through four races. ... Rookie Kasey Kahne was third in Atlanta - his third straight finish in the top three. ... Tony Stewart has three top-10 finishes in the first four races. ... Rusty Wallace's winless streak is at 102 races after finishing 35th at Atlanta.

Next week's race: Food City 500, March 28, Bristol, Tenn.

Click this link for ESPN's list of drivers to watch this week at Darlington.

Mark Martin: "Track already too narrow"

Mark Martin approves of "soft walls" being installed at many tracks to absorb some of the impact from a crash -- just not at Darlington.

It's already hard enough to pass at NASCAR's oldest superspeedway, Martin said.

The Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system barriers are expected to be installed at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval in time for the March 21 Nextel Cup race. The track is known for leaving its "Darlington Stripes" -- the dents left on the right side of the cars that bounce off the walls.

"We're gonna be crippled if we lose two or three feet. You can see that after the race," Martin said. "Every other car has the side slid off of it now, so we needed two more feet going out, not two feet coming in."

How about rookie Kasey Kahne's impressive 3 straight top 3 finishes? Looks like Elliott is rubbing off.


posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 04:47 PM
That help's PA i was having a bit of trouble deciding on my drivers this week..

posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 02:11 AM

Originally posted by TRD
That help's PA i was having a bit of trouble deciding on my drivers this week..

Glad I could help you out.

posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 07:32 PM
Former Darlington Raceway winner Mark Martin paced Happy Hour practice Saturday at the gritty egg-shaped track, nipping rookie Scott Wimmer by just six-hundredths of a second.

Martin rounded the 1.366-mile track in 29.571 seconds at 166.298 mph, just four-hundredths of a second slower than the day's fastest lap, turned in the morning session by Ryan Newman.

Martin ranked fifth in the morning, but picked up more than a tenth of a second in Happy Hour. He finished fourth in this race a year ago.

Contrary to prediction, some drivers don't feel the new tire and aerodynamic package has done much to alter the competitive approach.

The only notable damage sustained during Saturday's practices isn't overly notable. Pole-sitter Kasey Kahne hit the wall between Turns 1 and 2 in the morning session, but his Dodge was only cosmetically affected.

Kahne was third in the morning and ninth in Happy Hour. There were no other accidents to report.

Casey Mears continues to impress. Mears, who led a portion of last week's Cracker Barrel 400 at Atlanta, was fourth in the morning and 11th in Happy Hour.

Other notables Saturday were NASCAR Nextel Cup points leader Matt Kenseth, who improved from 20th to 13th. Second-place qualifier Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was ninth Saturday morning, but fell to 16th in the weekend's final preparatory session.

Here's Kasey Kahne's "Darlington Stripe"

posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 08:46 PM
i see where cope's laps are down in the 32-35th fastest area, i think he just got lucky with his qualifying lap, bet he will be near the back of the pack within 20 laps

posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 09:08 PM

Originally posted by toejam
i see where cope's laps are down in the 32-35th fastest area, i think he just got lucky with his qualifying lap, bet he will be near the back of the pack within 20 laps

Yeah, how in the world did he qualify 5th only to be near the back in practice? That could make for something interesting as toejam mentioned in another thread. I have a feeling this race will be alot more fun to watch than the last few, at least I hope so. :yawn:

posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 09:22 PM
i am glad to see that you feel the same way about this years races that i do, they have been BORING....don't see where the rule changes have improved anything, maybe when the drivers and teams get more used to the new setups they will be more confident racing each other

posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 10:58 PM
I totally agree with both of you guys, the races have been beyond boring. I hope this week we see some excitement, maybe even a nice harmless pile-up.

posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 12:12 AM

Drivers divided on Darlington SAFER walls

The installation of the SAFER barrier at Darlington Raceway has generated a lot of discussion this week, and there is a great unknown as to how it will affect the racing in this weekend's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

But, of course, there are plenty of opinions. NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers are nothing if not opinionated.

"I don't understand," Jeremy Mayfield said. "We just came from the fastest racetrack on the circuit. There's not a soft wall anywhere at Atlanta. Now we're going to Darlington, and you don't even need soft walls at Darlington.

"We need to run up close to the wall. I think that's the only place the asphalt is any good any more. They've taken it away.

"I think it might take some of the excitement out of Darlington. I think it adds a little extra excitement for the fans running up close against the wall. Now you're not going to be able ride up against the soft walls because the groove is not there.

"We're going to be sliding and sliding into the wall. Darlington is worried about keeping their date, but if the race is not any good, they might be losing their date."

Darlington has been in the rumor mill in the last couple of years as a candidate to have one of its two dates moved. NASCAR has already moved the Southern 500 from its traditional Labor Day date to November, giving California Speedway Darlington's old date.

But does that mean the SAFER will make for a boring race? Darlington, with its worn-out pavement and narrow groove, was already a treacherous beast. With the SAFER barrier taking up more than two feet of pavement, the groove is even smaller.

That's one thing drivers agree on. The "Darlington Stripe" used to be a badge of honor for drivers, as the best way the get around in the old days was to actually bounce off the wall in the turns. These days, the stripe is something to be avoided, but that's not a simple task.

The SAFER barrier will take up as much as 30 inches in each turn, narrowing the track from 79 feet in Turns 1 and 2 to about 76 1/2 feet and from 62 feet in Turns 3 and 4 to 59 1/2.

Not all drivers agree, however, that the racing will change dramatically.

"I definitely think there is going to have to be an adjustment made on the driver's part about the line you take around the track," Matt Kenseth said. "I think a lot of us are used to getting right up against the wall and really hanging it out coming off the corner, and that may not work out as well with the new barriers in place.

"But as a whole, Darlington is a tough place to race lap after lap so in the end, it won't be a lot different once the race starts."


posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 12:12 PM
So who's ready for the race?

Got your teams ready for racing?

posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 12:15 PM
team toejam is ready to begin its' climb back to the top, lots of blue sky there, looks like a great day for a race


posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 12:17 PM
Nice good to hear Tj....

Well i'm hoping for a good one this week,ive been mediocre so far..

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