NASCAR Track Facts: Darlington Raceway

Dodge Challenger 500

Here is a quick run down of trivial facts and statistics for this weekend’s Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC.

Dodge Challenger 500

Darlington Raceway History

  • Built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-50, Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt.
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 4, 1950.
  • The track was re-measured to 1.375-mile in 1953.
  • The track was re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race in 1970.
  • Spring 1981: James Jones attends his first NASCAR race at Darlington with his uncle Terry.
  • The first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington was held on April 3, 1982.
  • The track was repaved in 1995.
  • The first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Darlington was held on May 12, 2001.
  • The 2005 race was the first Saturday night race at Darlington.
  • The track was repaved again starting last year.
  • Spring 2008: James Jones takes his son CJ to his first NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway.

Track Numbers

  • NASCAR Cup Series Races: 104
  • Pole Winners: 44
  • Race Winners: 42
  • There was one race per year in 1950, 1951, between 1953 and 1959 and again every year since 2005. Darlington held two races a season in all other years.
  • Curtis Turner won the first pole at Darlington Raceway in 1950.
  • Johnny Mantz won the first race at Darlington, in 1950.
  • David Pearson leads all drivers with 12 poles at Darlington.
  • Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Kasey Kahne and Ken Schrader lead all active drivers with three poles each.
  • David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 victories followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine.
  • Jeff Gordon is third overall and leads all active drivers with seven victories.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 races at Darlington, more than any other organization. He broke a tie with Junior Johnson when Jeff Gordon won there last fall
  • 18 races at Darlington have been won from the pole, the most productive starting position.
  • 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.
  • 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 – the smallest margin of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in mid-1993

Track Records

  • Track qualifying record: Ward Burton (173.797 mph, 28.295 seconds, 3-22-96)
  • Track race record: Dale Earnhardt (139.958 mph, 3-28-93)

Darlington Raceway Race Day Data

  • Estimated Pit Window: Every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.
  • Race # 11 of 36 (5-10-08)
  • Track Size: 1.366 miles
  • Banking/Corners: 23-25 degrees
  • Banking/Frontstretch: 6 degrees
  • Banking/Backstretch: 6 degrees
  • Frontstretch: 1,229 feet
  • Backstretch: 1,229 feet