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Old-Time Racing Under the Lights at Darlington

Darlington Raceway (Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing got some real good news earlier this week when a NASCAR Appeals panel lowered the fines assessed for an illegal engine in Matt Kenseth’s victory at Kansas Speedway last month. The Appeals panel decided that an illegal part was mostly a Toyota factory error, so Kenseth and owner Joe Gibbs will be penalized 12 points, not the 50 originally assessed.

So Kenseth moves from 11th in the point standings to fourth. Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff also had his suspension reduced from six races to one. He’ll serve that suspension this week at Darlington Raceway and will be on probation for three races after that. NASCAR handed down the penalties after officials found one of the connecting rods on the engine in Kenseth’s car did not meet the minimum connecting rod weight.

They’re racing under the lights at Darlington – Nationwide drivers on Friday, Sprint Cup on Saturday at the 1.3 mile track. Nicknamed the “Track Too Tough To Handle” and the “Lady In Black”, Darlington was built in 1950 and has been reconfigured several times. It was the first to host a 500-mile race and the first track to race on asphalt.

Among active drivers, Mark Martin holds the record 46 starts at Darlington while Jeff Gordon has the most wins with seven.

Kyle Busch is the youngest driver to win a race at Darlington. He was 23 when he won five years ago.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner. And he’s the points leader heading into the weekend. He leads second-place Carl Edwards by 41 points.

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