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Cook Out Southern 500: Power Rankings

Kyle Larson leads the lady in black.

NASCAR: Bojangles’ Southern 500 Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Race Information

Race: Cook Out Southern 500
Laps: 367
Date: September 5th @ 6:00 PM
Venue: Darlington Raceway
2020 Winner: Kevin Harvick (3:47:26)
Network: NBCSN


Darlington Raceway — “The Lady in Black” is a 1.4 mile egg-shaped asphalt track that opened in 1950 by Harold Brasington. The turns are between 23 and 25 degrees and the straights are between 2-3 degrees. Crews work hard to make sure the car can handle the different turns between one of the race track and the other. The closest comparative track to Darlington would be Texas, which is slightly longer and a quad-oval vs. an egg-shaped oval.

NASCAR: Bojangles’ Southern 500 Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Larson (sixth selection this year) – Two of the three times he’s finished worse than 20th this season, he’s rebounded with a top five finish. He has nothing but 2nd and 3rd place finishes at Darlington over the last three years.

Brad Keslowski (sixth selection this year) — Brad has been a top 15 finisher in eight of his last nine races at Darlington. He was top five in four of those races.

High Risk/High Reward

Erik Jones (seventh selection this year) — Erik was 18th last year and that is just about his ONLY blemish at Darlington, as prior to that he had nothing but top 10 finishes.

Kyle Busch (sixth selection this year). With three finishes outside the top 20 in his last five races, this is far from a sure thing...but Kyle has a great record at Darlington and when he’s not landing outside the top 20 he’s a top 4 racer.

The Dark Horse

Ryan Newman (fifth selection this year). Ryan has nothing but top 15 finishes here over the last four races. He was third last week in a wreck-filled Daytona, but has two top 10 finishes in his last three races.

Fun Fact: Darrell Waltrip had his final career win here in 1992.

2021 Results

Favorite: Average Finish 14th (36th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Average Finish 16th (41st Percent)
Dark Horse: Average Finish 18th (48th Percent)