Darlington Raceway is going to be electric this Saturday. The Dodge Challenger 500 looks like anybodyâ€™s race as no one driver or team has managed to take control of NASCARâ€™s Sprint Cup series. Seven different drivers representing five teams and all four automakers have crossed the finish line in first place.
Although Hendrick Motorsports isnâ€™t dominating the field the way they did last year, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have both excelled on this 1.37-mile track. Gordon has four straight podium finishes and a win at the 2007 event; Johnson has finished out of the Top 10 just once in nine visits to Darlington and swept both races held there in 2004.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is also high on the NASCAR odds list after nearly winning last weekâ€™s race in Richmond. With four laps to go, Earnhardt was spun off the track by Kyle Busch and finished 15th. But Earnhardt does not have the same kind of career success at Darlington as his teammates; his best result there was a fourth place in 2002. Earnhardtâ€™s average finish in 13 races was 15th.
Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing appears to be the pick of the non-Hendrick litter in Saturdayâ€™s race. Edwards leads all drivers with three victories this year on the Cup circuit. This will be his fifth career race at the Lady in Black; Edwards also has an average result of 15th at Darlington, but that average is skewed by a blown engine in 2006. Edwards finished fifth at last yearâ€™s race and has an excellent chance to improve on that in 2008.