FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: DARLINGTON NOTES
It’s Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, where the NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series will compete for the first time in 2021. Kevin Harvick and Chase Briscoe each posted victories a year ago as Ford ran its total of all-time wins in the two series combined to 51 at NASCAR’s first superspeedway. Here’s a look at some Ford notes going into this weekend’s action.
This Week’s Schedule:
Saturday, May 8 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Sunday, May 9 – NASCAR Cup Series, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT DARLINGTON
· Ford has 31 all-time series wins at Darlington.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner won Ford’s first race at Darlington in 1966.
· Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are the only active Ford drivers with Darlington Cup wins.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT DARLINGTON
· Ford has 20 series wins at Darlington.
· Mark Martin holds the record for most series wins at Darlington with eight.
· Jack Roush leads all owners with 15 Darlington series wins.
FORD ON TOP OF CUP MANUFACTURER’S STANDINGS
There’s still a long way to go in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and the manufacturer’s championship battle is a close one with Ford holding a five-point lead over Chevrolet. Ford, which is tied for the most wins this season with four, is looking for its third manufacturer’s title in the last four years after winning in 2018 and 2020. Ford has gotten victories this season from Michael McDowell (Daytona), Ryan Blaney (Atlanta), Joey Logano (Bristol Dirt) and Brad Keselowski (Talladega).
CINDRIC STILL ROLLING IN 2021
Austin Cindric has picked up in 2021 right where he left off in 2020 as he sits on top of the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings after eight events. Cindric, who has two wins already this season, has a 59-point lead over second-place Daniel Hemric going into this weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway and much of that is due to his early-season consistency. The Team Penske driver has finished in the top 10 all but once, leads the series in top-five finishes with six, and has an average finishing position of 4.3. The 2020 series champion has 10 career victories, but is still looking for his first at Darlington.
HARVICK CELEBRATES RETURN TO RACING IN STYLE
Nobody enjoyed a return to Darlington in 2020 more than Kevin Harvick, who celebrated the sport’s return to competition by winning his 50th career series race in what turned out to be the first of three NASCAR Cup Series races held at the track dubbed ‘Too Tough to Tame.’ Harvick led 159-of-293 laps and continued a streak that has seen him win at least one time in 11 straight seasons. He passed fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski on lap 216 and never gave up the lead, which included a restart with 34 laps to go. That marked the first of two Darlington wins on the season for Harvick, who captured the annual Southern 500 in the fall.
WOOD BROTHERS LEAD THE WAY
It comes as no surprise that the Wood Brothers are Ford’s all-time winningest team at Darlington Raceway, posting eight career victories. All but one of those triumphs came in a Mercury, which the team ran in the 1960’s and 70’s. David Pearson, who holds the record with 10 career Darlington Cup victories, led the way with six while Cale Yarborough captured the team’s first in 1968. The last Darlington win for Wood Brothers Racing came in 1981 when Neil Bonnett took the Southern 500 in 1981 behind the wheel of a Ford.
As noted above, David Pearson holds the record for most NASCAR Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway with 10 and eight of those came in Ford Motor Co. products. He won six times driving the famed No. 21 Wood Brothers Mercury (1972,’74,’76-2,’77), winning the Southern 500 twice in that span (1976-77), and two more times in a Holman-Moody Ford (1968 and ’70). Pearson won three Southern 500 titles overall, capturing his third in 1979.
FIELD OF 70
The first time Ford won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway was when Curtis Turner took the Southern 500 on Sept. 3, 1956. Unlike today, where the field is set at a maximum of 40 cars, there were 70 vehicles in the race that saw Turner lead 224 of the 400 laps. He beat Speedy Thompson to the finish line by more than two laps, and did it in record fashion with an average race speed of 95.167 mph.
DALE AND BUD
The first of Dale Earnhardt’s three NASCAR Cup Series wins with Ford and car owner Bud Moore came on April 4, 1982 when he won the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at Darlington Raceway. Earnhardt, who drove two seasons for Moore in 1982 and ’83, dominated a race that saw 20 of the 37 cars not finish due to a variety of issues. Earnhardt led 181-of-367 laps and beat Cale Yarborough to the finish line for his seventh career victory. Earnhardt eventually went on to win two more races with Moore the following season at Nashville and Talladega.
FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES RACE WINNERS AT DARLINGTON
1956 – Curtis Turner
1960 – Joe Weatherly (1)
1961 – Fred Lorenzen and Nelson Stacy
1962 – Nelson Stacy and Larry Frank
1963 – Fireball Roberts (2)
1964 – Fred Lorenzen (1)
1965 – Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett
1968 – David Pearson (1)
1969 – Lee Roy Yarbrough (2)
1970 – David Pearson (1)
1981 – Neil Bonnett (2)
1982 – Dale Earnhardt (1)
1985 – Bill Elliott (Sweep)
1988 – Bill Elliott (2)
1992 – Bill Elliott (1)
1993 – Mark Martin (2)
1994 – Bill Elliott (2)
1997 – Dale Jarrett (1)
1998 – Dale Jarrett (1)
1999 – Jeff Burton (Sweep)
2001 – Dale Jarrett (1)
2005 – Greg Biffle
2006 – Greg Biffle
2018 – Brad Keselowski
2020 – Kevin Harvick (1) and (3)
FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES RACE WINNERS AT DARLINGTON
1993 – Mark Martin (2)
1994 – Mark Martin (Sweep)
1995 – Mark Martin (2)
1996 – Mark Martin (1) and Terry Labonte (2)
1997 – Jeff Burton (2)
1999 – Mark Martin (2)
2000 – Mark Martin (Sweep)
2001 – Jeff Green (1) and Jeff Burton (2)
2002 – Jeff Burton (Sweep)
2004 – Greg Biffle
2005 – Matt Kenseth
2009 – Matt Kenseth
2018 – Brad Keselowski
2019 – Cole Custer
2020 – Chase Briscoe (1)