This year in the Goodyear 400, will we see a first-time winner? Or will we see a veteran notch another win at The Lady in Black? There are a handful of NASCAR drivers to keep your eyes on this weekend. One of which is coming fresh off of a win.
The Track Too Tough to Tame, Darlington. It has been home to some wild moments in the past. 1970, NASCAR announcers and fans thought they witnessed a deadly crash involving Richard Petty. The King was just fine, at least relative to how awful the wreck looked.
In 2003, Ricky Craven won over Kurt Busch by inches at Darlington. That race still stands today as the closest finish in NASCAR history. Of course, Dale Earnhardt had a lot of memorable moments. And you can’t tell the story of Darlington without talking about David Pearson.
So, we are once again at Darlington and there are a few drivers that will likely be competing for the win.
Drivers to watch at Goodyear 400
The first driver on this list to watch at the Goodyear 400 has to be Denny Hamlin. Hamlin just won at Kansas and has had a string of strong performances to look back on. Until someone stops him, he’s going to remain a driver to watch. He also leads all active drivers for most wins at the track with four.
Hamlin currently sits at fourth in the NASCAR standings. Two top-5s and a win in his last four races puts him at the top of our list this weekend. Hamlin is tied with Kyle Larson for the odds-on-favorite this week.
Here’s another Joe Gibbs Racing driver. Christopher Bell is second in the points standings and out of 12 races on the season he has eight top-10 finishes to go along with five top-5s. Throw in his three DNFs and that means in every race Bell has completed he has finished in the top-10, with just one outlier at Martinsville.
In my eyes, Bell is the most consistent driver this season. It doesn’t hurt that in last year’s two races at Darlington, Bell finished P5 and P6.
Yung Money said it himself earlier this season, he has the fastest car every week, but he has to get it to the finish line. Kyle Larson‘s standing in the points is hindered by his four DNFs. However, he has two wins on the year and a lot of other positive results.
Between 2019-2021, Larson had three Darlington races in a row where he finished P2. Last year, he had races of P36 and P12. He just lost out on the win at Kansas, so Larson comes to Darlington with a fire under him.
We couldn’t go through this list without talking about Joey Logano. He was the 2022 winner of this race in the spring. Logano outdueled the field and was able to come away with a checkered flag on the way to his championship season.
In 2022, Logano was also the pole sitter for both races at Darlington. Given that recent history and his P6 finish at Kansas, I think he’s a driver to watch this week.
Given what we have seen in the last two years, you can never be sure of anything in this Next Gen car. However, these four drivers have been good either all-season or at this track in particular. So, who do you got?