Darlington Raceway

NASCAR back in business at Darlington

…but not only is it NASCAR that is back in business – I will also try to revive our Pure Thunder Racing website/blog as well. As some of you readers know, Pure Thunder Racing is a (amateur) Motorsport fan site based in Sweden. We love American motorsports and are dedicated to spread the word in Scandinavia and beyond.

For me, I have followed Swedish V8 Thunder Cars series for long time and I’m personally hoping that this series will expand, both in races and drivers. The ultimate dream for me personally, would be an oval track here in Sweden (!). You could always dream…dreams are free…

My friend and Team PTR (Pure Thunder Racing) colleague Bernth Nordin have urged me to try to write some articles in English (without aiding assistans). I have always backed off from this due to lack of knowledge in English. Anyway Bernth managed me to try – so here we go – have a little faith…

Green flag at Darlington

I must say that it was a little surprise that NASCAR restarted the ongoing season so soon at Darlington Raceway, considering the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. But the health control level for all involved at the track seemed very high and safe. No fans at the stands obviously and all personnel, including pit-crew, had to wear face masks for everyone’s safety.

No training or qualifying were conducted at Darlington Raceway in NASCAR Series return to racing due to safety precautions (COVID-19). NASCAR decided that this race would be a one day event and that’s it (normally a weekend schedule). The egg-shaped 2,198 km (1.366 miles) track, nick-named “The Track Too Tough to Tame” or “The Lady in Black” was totally clean and the the team had no chance to adjust the car due to lack of training. An extra caution (yellow flag) was set at lap 30 to compensate this.

Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford was the pole-sitter in, for me, never before draw by NASCAR due to absens to qualifying.

The long awaited green flag waived and the yellow came out before lap one was completed. The No.40 Chevrolet with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at the helm lost his car and hit the inside safety barrier and retired from the race. Not the start the No.47 team wanted…frustrating. Brad Keselowski was fast in the beginning of the race with “clean air” at the front of the field. He lead 80 laps of the totally 293 laps race but faded when coming in traffic and in “dirty air”. Brad ended up in 13th place at the end.

The most chocking event in the race was without any doubt Jimmie Johnsons’s No.48 Chevrolet crash at the last lap in stage 1 (lap 90). The seven-time NASCAR champion had something good coming this race, or so we thought, at the end of stage 1. Taking the lead, and leading 9 strait laps , Jimmie should have secured his first stage win but suddenly, at the last stage lap, he hit a lap car in the corner! It was almost unbelievable to witness and heartbreaking to watch. An interview with NASCAR commented after “Gosh, what I would do to get that corner back to do it over again,” Johnson said. “Coming to the end of the stage, I was just trying to make sure I got a good run off of Turn 2. I felt like I was going to be able to exit the corner side-by-side with him, things just went horribly wrong there.” Jimmie Johnson retired after this and ended up in 38th spot. Can the luck turn around for the 48 team? New chance tonight at Darlington…

Well, the race winner Kevin Harvick’s No.4 Ford was of no doubt the right winner in the “The Real Heroes 400” race at Darlington Raceway. Leading 159 laps, Harvick was of no real challenge from the field. Their was a little change that the No.88 Chevrolet of Alex Bowman could pass the No.4 car at the last restart of the race. A more aggressive driver could perhaps done it but the risk of a crash was also high. Personally, I think Bowman did the right call.

I must also highlight some good results from No.8 Chevrolet Tyler Reddick -finishing P7 and No.38 Ford of John Hunter Nemechek who finished P9. Impressing finishes on a track that is “To Tough To Tame”! We also saw veteran driver Matt Kenseth back at the wheel in the No.42 Chevrolet. Matt replaced fired Kyle Larson and ended up P10. Not bad at all. Ryan Newman was also back in the driving seat after his horrible crash at Daytona and finished P15.

Tonight they will all do it all over again at Darlington Raceway. This time a 228 lap race called “Toyota 500” (500 km). The race is set to start 7.30 PM (ET) / 01.30 Swedish Time.

Take care and be safe out there were ever You are.
/Jens Martin

Photo credit: 366152Chris Graythen | Getty Images


  1. To nights (Tuesday) NXS race seems to be a rain out so lets hope we get the Cup race in tomorrow night, if not, Per Bob Pockrass twitter, NASCAR has adjusted its Thursday plan … if either Xfinity gets postponed today or Cup gets postponed tomorrow, the tentative plan is noon Thursday. If both get postponed, it would be Xfinity at noon Thursday, Cup at 7pm Thursday (all ET).

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