FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: DARLINGTON NOTES
The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kick off this weekend at Darlington Raceway with five Ford drivers eligible to compete for this year’s championship. Joey Logano is going for a season sweep on the Cup side after winning in the spring while Kevin Harvick looks for his second Southern 500 victory in the past three years. The NASCAR Xfinity Series, which has three races remaining in its regular season, will race on Saturday.
This Week’s Schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 3 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 3 p.m. (USA)
Sunday, Sept. 4 – NASCAR Cup Series, 6 p.m. (USA)
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT DARLINGTON
· Ford has 32 all-time series wins at Darlington.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner won Ford’s first race at Darlington in 1966.
· Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have Ford wins at Darlington.
ROUND OF 16 NCS PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Top 12 Advance After Bristol)
2nd – Joey Logano (-15 behind 1st place)
7th – Ryan Blaney (-27)
9th – Kevin Harvick (-28)
12th – Chase Briscoe (-31)
14th – Austin Cindric (-34)
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.
THE FORD FIVE AT DARLINGTON
Darlington Raceway has been a good stop on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit for the five Ford drivers in the playoff field. Kevin Harvick has three career Cup victories and 18 top-10 finishes in 29 career starts while Joey Logano owns one win and 9 top-10 efforts (17 starts). Chase Briscoe, who will be making his fourth Cup Series start at Darlington, has one win at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Ryan Blaney’s best finish at the Lady in Black in 11 career starts is 8th while Austin Cindric finished 18th in his debut Cup race earlier this year after posting three top 10 runs in six career NXS races.
LOGANO GOING FOR SEASON SWEEP
Joey Logano looks to become the first Ford driver to sweep consecutive races at Darlington Raceway since Jeff Burton did it for Roush Racing in 1999. Logano earned his first Cup Series win at the Track Too Tough To Tame in May when he passed William Byron with two laps to go. After earning the pole, Logano proceeded to lead a race-high eight times for 107 laps as he became the 10th different winner in the first 12 races. Logano could actually be the second Ford driver to win twice at Darlington in the last three years after Kevin Harvick won 2-of-3 races during the 2020 season.
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 once he passed fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski on lap 216, he never trailed again. That marked the first of two Darlington wins on the season for Harvick, who captured the annual Southern 500 in the fall.
KESELOWSKI SPARKS BACK-TO-BACK 1-2 FINISHES
Brad Keselowski was at the forefront of consecutive 1-2 Ford finishes when he swept the NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series fall Darlington weekend in 2018. Keselowski led the final 33 laps and won Saturday’s NXS event after Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick made contact while battling for the lead. Cole Custer finished second to Keselowski, who registered his first win at Darlington. One night later Keselowski got his second after the No. 2 pit crew got him the lead on the final round of stops. Keselowski took off on the restart and beat Penske teammate Joey Logano to the finish line for Ford’s first Cup win at Darlington since Greg Biffle in 2006.
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.
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.
FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES 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)
2022 – Joey Logano (1)
FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES 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)