NASCAR at Darlington 2022: Odds, Preview and Top StorylinesMay 7, 2022
NASCAR at Darlington 2022: Odds, Preview and Top Storylines
Darlington Raceway has the nickname, "Too Tough To Tame."
For Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., the track in South Carolina has been anything but that.
The trio of drivers own the last five NASCAR Cup Series victories at Darlington, and they all have multiple victories on the track.
Hamlin and Truex have been near the front of the field for most of the season in their Joe Gibbs Racing cars, while Harvick is searching for his first win since the 2020 season.
All of the drivers with strong histories at Darlington have to fend off the Hendrick Motorsports dominance that continued at Dover last week with Chase Elliott's trip to Victory Lane.
All four Hendrick drivers have a win this season, but none of them have won at Darlington in their careers.
In fact, Hendrick as a team has not won at Darlington since Jimmie Johnson in 2012. That could be a great sign for other teams looking to get wins, or kick start their seasons on Sunday.
Goodyear 400 Odds
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Kyle Larson (+500; bet $100 to win $500)
Martin Truex Jr. (+700)
Denny Hamlin (+800)
Chase Elliott (+800)
Kyle Busch (+1000)
William Byron (+1200)
Ryan Blaney (+1200)
Ross Chastain (+1400)
Joey Logano (+1400)
Alex Bowman (+1400)
Kevin Harvick (+1600)
Tyler Reddick (+1800)
Will the Hamlin, Truex, Harvick Trio Keep Up Winning Run at Darlington?
The last five races at Darlington belonged to Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.
Harvick won twice on the track in 2020, Hamlin won in each of the last two seasons, and Truex crossed the line first last May.
All three of the drivers finished inside the top six in last season's two trips to "The Lady in Black."
The consistency from all three racers at Darlington should make them the top three non-Hendrick drivers to watch on Sunday.
Hamlin and Truex are the more likely members of the trio to finish in Victory Lane on Sunday because of how their cars have performed in the new NextGen era. The NextGen car debuted at the start of the season.
Truex has five top-10 finishes this season, while Hamlin is one of nine drivers with a victory on the Cup Series circuit.
Harvick recovered from a slow start with back-to-back top-10 placings at Talladega and Dover. He has three other top-10 finishes from California, Richmond and Phoenix.
A victory would be a massive boost for Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team. It would ensure them a playoff spot and provide a jolt of confidence.
Truex and Hamlin are second and third on the odds board behind Kyle Larson, so it is harder to find value on them to finish inside the top five or top 10.
Harvick may have the best betting value for Sunday's race. He sits at +1600 to win, +200 to finish inside the top five and -175 to land a top 10 finish.
Can Hendrick End 10-Year Darlington Drought?
The most dominant team in the NASCAR Cup Series has a 10-year winning drought at Darlington.
None of the four current Hendrick Motorsports drivers have a win at Darlington. Jimmie Johnson was the last Hendrick driver to win at the track in 2012.
The team has been dominant all season with five victories and 25 top-10 finishes, but they face a not-so-great recent history at Darlington.
Kyle Larson was the only Hendrick team member to place inside the top 25 during the last Cup Series trip to Darlington in September.
Hendrick fared better as a team in the May race in 2021. Larson took second behind Truex, and William Byron took fourth.
Despite the high finishes last May, neither Larson nor Byron led a lap. Truex was in control for 248 of the 293 laps.
Larson proved last season that he could compete with the drivers that have better track records at Darlington.
Larson is the most likely driver to end the team's Darlington drought. He entered the weekend as the pre-race favorite.
The Hendrick cars should be considered for a victory because of how terrific the cars have looked this season, but it may take a special effort to outduel the likes of Harvick, Hamlin and Truex because of how well they have navigated the track.
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