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Darlington NASCAR Preview

Darlington Raceway in South Carolina (Getty Images)

Both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series drivers are under the lights this week at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.   Coming off a solid performance at his hometown track in Richmond, Denny Hamlin is looking forward to a good showing at Darlington in the Sprint Cup event Saturday night.
Hamlin won his charity race at Richmond last Thursday, then won the Nationwide race on Friday before finishing second to teammate Kyle Busch in last Saturday’s Sprint Cup race.
Hamlin won last year’s race at Darlington finishing nearly two seconds ahead of pole sitter Jamie McMurray.  He also won the Nationwide event for his first weekend sweep in NASCAR.
Darlington is one of the most unique tracks in racing – a 1.3 mile oval in the shape of an egg.  It had one of the roughest surfaces too until it was repaved three years ago.  It’s a fast track but because it’s so narrow it’s hard to pass.    And every driver eventually earns a “Darlington Stripe,” – that’s a mark left on the car when it rubs against the track’s outer wall.
Jeff Gordon is a seven-time winner at Darlington and he says the track has eaten up race cars and drivers over the years, but it’s not as tough these days now that it’s been repaved. 

The Nationwide race is tonight and Elliott Sadler looks to continue moving up the standings.  He’s had top-five finishes in five of the last six races and jumped from 12th to second in the rankings. But this will be his first Nationwide race at Darlington since 1999.  Denny Hamlin has won the last two Nationwide races at Darlington and looks to make it three in a row.

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