NASCAR at Darlington: Odds, key stats, bets to consider for Southern 500

The rich southern history of NASCAR will be revived this weekend using throwback paint schemes, particular memorabilia and nostalgia since the circuit heads to historic Darlington Raceway for its famed Southern 500, unofficially among NASCAR’s four major races.

Sunday night’s race also marks the second-to-last race of the regular season prior to the 16-driver playoffs start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-79 points from cutoff), Ryan Newman (-91), Daniel Suarez (-93) and Paul Menard (-99) are motorists currently with a slim opportunity to make the playoffs without a win while the remainder of the field requires a victory at Darlington or Indianapolis to punch their ticket into the playoffs.

MORE: Updated NASCAR title chances

With»The Lady in Black» prepared to paint a Darlington stripe on anyone who gets too close to her wall, motorists will have to be at their best as the trail changes when the sexy South Carolina sun starts to set in the 1.366-mile asphalt track. One of the most unique tracks in NASCAR features 25 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 23 degrees in Turns 3 and 4 as the trail narrows by 17 ft as the car rounds the egg-shaped oval.

There is no other track like Darlington making it hard to handicap however, the track is very abrasive like similar paths in length in Atlanta and Chicagoland. Sunday’s race-favorite Kevin Harvick will use his winning Atlanta chassis that directed 181 of 325 laps in February while Kyle Busch expects another 50+ lap-leading win at Darlington like he’d at Chicago this summer. The final member of the»Big 3,» Martin Truex Jr. is the 2016 Darlington winner who has a streak of three top-10 finishes in the monitor.

Entering Sunday’s race with the fourth-shortest chances is a driver that has dominated Darlington and still needs a good showing to secure a place in the playoffs: Denny Hamlin.

The No. 11 Toyota motorist is a two-time Darlington winner and defending race champion. Hamlin boasts the very best driver rating (110.3 — well above the next statistical finest of Kyle Busch in 105.1), the best average running position (7.8) and tops the list of fastest laps run (272) in this race. Hamlin also offers 10 top-10 finishes in 12 career starts at Darlington, including seven.

Odds to win Southern 500

Kevin Harvick 5/2
Kyle Busch 7/2
Martin Truex Jr 7/2
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Kyle Larson 6/1
Erik Jones 18/1
Ryan Blaney 18/1
Brad Keselowski 18/1
Kurt Busch 18/1
Clint Bowyer 18/1
Chase Elliott 25/1
Joey Logano 25/1
Aric Almirola 50/1
Jimmie Johnson 100/1
Ryan Newman 100/1
Daniel Suarez 100/1
Alex Bowman 100/1
Austin Dillon 200/1
Jamie McMurray 200/1
Paul Menard 200/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 300/1
Matt Kenseth 300/1
William Byron 300/1
Kasey Kahne 1000/1
Chris Buescher 1000/1
Darrell Wallace Jr 1000/1
AJ Allmendinger 1000/1
Ty Dillon 5000/1
Michael McDowell 5000/1
Field (All Others) 1000/1

Notable Southern 500 betting matchups

Kyle Busch -110
Martin Truex Jr. -110

Denny Hamlin -110
Kyle Larson -110

Kevin Harvick -145
Martin Truex Jr. +125

Erik Jones -110
Brad Keselowski -110

Brad Keselowski -110
Clint Bowyer -110

Kyle Busch -115
Denny Hamlin +135

Chase Elliott -110
Joey Logano -110

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