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By the Numbers: The Lady in Black never lacking in excitement

May 26, 2011, ,

Darlington Raceway is a 1.366-mile oval with 25 degrees banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 23 degrees banking in Turns 3 and 4. The frontstretch and backstretch are each 1,229 feet with 6 degrees banking.

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3 -- Wins by Denny Hamlin in his past three races at Darlington, all from the pole (2006, '07 and '10).

5 -- Consecutive top-10 finishes at Darlington for Jason Leffler, the longest current streak.

7 -- Place of finish for Brad Keselowski in last year's race at Darlington, his first top-10 in four starts there.

17 -- Times the winner at Darlington has led every lap, most recently by Jeff Burton in March 2002.

Very Interesting

6 -- Current streak of races at Darlington where the last green-flag stretch has been seven laps or less. The average green-flag stretch has been 13 laps or less in six of the past seven races.

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5 -- Consecutive races at Darlington in which Kasey Kahne has finished between 20th and 23rd. After scoring poles in three of his first four starts and posting two top-five finishes in his first three races, Kahne has finished on the lead lap just once in the past five races. His average start of 10.0 in eight races is fourth-best among active drivers with more than two starts.

5.4 -- Margin of victory, in inches, when Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch in March 2003, the closest in NASCAR since electronic timing was introduced in 1993. The time (.002 seconds) was tied earlier this year at Talladega when Jimmie Johnson beat Clint Bowyer by 6.8 inches. Incidentally, the biggest MOV in NASCAR history also rests at Darlington, when Ned Jarrett won the 1965 Southern 500 by 14-plus laps over Buck Baker.

7 -- Consecutive top-five finishes at Darlington for Jeff Gordon, the longest current streak. He has led in every race during that time, also the longest current streak. Gordon has seven wins, tops among active drivers, most recently in 2007, and has finished in the top three in 50 percent of his Darlington races (15 of 30).

21 -- Races since the last pole winner won at Darlington -- Dale Jarrett in March 1997. The last time a 500-lap race was won by the pole position (by points) was Dale Earnhardt in March 1993. Earnhardt also is the last driver to win the Southern 500 from the pole, in September 1990.

Very Interesting

180.370 -- Qualifying speed, in mph, for Jamie McMurray in winning the pole last year at Darlington, a track record. In fact, it is the first time a time trial lap at Darlington topped 180 mph. The first Darlington pole winner, Curtis Turner in September 1950, had a top speed of 82.034 mph.

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2 -- Nationwide races at Darlington that have ended in a G-W-C finish, both in the past three years (2008, '09). There has only been one G-W-C- in Cup at Darlington, in 2005.

3 -- Nationwide/Cup weekend sweeps at Darlington: Dale Earnhardt (March 1987), Mark Martin (September 1993) and Denny Hamlin (2010).

6 -- Times in the past six Nationwide races at Darlington the driver leading the most laps has won; only Denny Hamlin in 2006 (38 laps) and Matt Kenseth in 2009 (the last four laps*) differ. Conversely, the leader of the most laps has won only three of the past 10 Cup races at Darlington: Greg Biffle in 2005 (176) and '06 (170), and Kyle Busch in 2008 (169). In fact, four times in that span the winner didn't take lead until the final time: Ricky Craven in March 2003 (one lap); Terry Labonte in August 2003 (33), Jeff Gordon in 2007 (22) and Mark Martin in 2009 (46).

20 -- Combined Nationwide/Cup wins at Darlington for Roush Fenway Racing, most of all teams. Of Roush's 15 victories in the Nationwide Series, only three were by current drivers: Matt Kenseth (2) and Greg Biffle (1); the other 12 were by Mark Martin (8) and Jeff Burton (4). Of Roush's five Cup wins, only Biffle (2) is a current driver; the other three were, again, by Martin (1) and Burton (2).

Very Interesting

5 -- Starts made by Denny Hamlin in both the Nationwide and Cup series at Darlington. His average finish in both series is the best of any driver with as many starts. Hamlin has a 3.6 average finish in Nationwide competition, with worst result of eighth; his average finish in Cup is 6.6 with four top-10s (worst showing of 13th).

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