It’s no secret that many of the NASCAR Cup Series races held so far in 2023 have not been the best the sport has ever offered up. However, the drama of last week and the hype of next week could create a great opportunity for this weekend.
If ever there was a perfect time and place for a race it could be this weekend in the Goodyear 400 at the Darlington Raceway. The timing is perfect because the preceding event at Kansas Speedway proved to be one of the best races of the season and the upcoming All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway will be one of the most hyped racing events in quite some time because of that track’s revival. This weekend’s race finds itself sandwiched between two high profile shows which sets up nicely for the track ‘Too Tough to Tame’.
The worn and abrasive pavement at Darlington along with the track’s odd shape almost always lends itself to good racing. That is particularly true when late race cautions put teams in the situation of having to decide what pit strategy will give them the best shot at a win. Further, the track, with its many quirks, offers a chance for a surprise winner such as was the case last fall when Erik Jones put Petty GMS Racing(now Legacy Motor Club) in victory lane.
Last Sunday’s affair in Kansas offered excellent racing with a last lap pass for the win along with a few noteworthy incidents as well. More, the post-race dust-up between Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain has created quite the buzz which will, of course, be played upon by the television broadcasters and all other forms of media that cover the sport on a regular and irregular basis.
There will be some, including casual and new fans, who will tune in to the Darlington race just because of that buzz effect who will be hoping to see another such incident or incidents on Sunday. Because the ‘Lady in Black’ typically offers up drama and excitement, those new or infrequent watchers might be encouraged to check out the All-Star Race, particularly with all the hype surrounding the NASCAR Cup Series return to North Wilkesboro.
Darlington rarely disappoints. This weekend’s Goodyear 400 will serve as a great opportunity for one of the sport’s most historic and famous venues to keep NASCAR’s momentum rolling after the racing held earlier this season left little to get excited about. The leaders of the sport as well as its television and media partners have to be hoping that that unique layout caused by a minnow pond and the worn out surface do what they seem to always do and provide a race worth talking about for the right reasons.
This is the great timing for a race at Darlington.
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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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