April 18, 2024

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Denny Hamlin wins the first stage at Darlington as Bubba Wallace spins on the last lap.  Nine of the top 10 drivers in qualifying

Denny Hamlin wins the first stage at Darlington as Bubba Wallace spins on the last lap. Nine of the top 10 drivers in qualifying

Stage 1 at Darlington which was contested under almost entirely green conditions was won by Denny Hamlin. After 114 ¾ green flag laps, Bubba Wallace came out of Turn 3 on the last lap of Stage 1 to bring out the yellow flag just before the competition stopped.

Pole Christopher Bell lost the lead in the first round of green flag stops with over 15 seconds to go when the jack fell while his crew changed right-side tires. Tyler Reddick emerged from those pit stops with a lead of more than six seconds over Bell, who came out in sixth. Denny Hamlin briefly passed Reddick for the lead before Reddick regained the lead on pit road in the second round of pit stops. Hamlin later passed Reddick to take the final stage win

Kyle Larson was a big driver on the first stage, running into third place after starting 18th.

Southern 500 TV/Broadcast schedule

All times eastern

Saturday
12:30 – 1:20 p.m.: Training (USA, NBC Sports app)
1:20-2:30 p.m.: Playoffs (USA, NBC Sports app)

Sunday
5:30-6 PM: Pre-race show (USA, NBC Sports app)
6-10:30 PM: Southern 500 (USA, NBC Sports app)

Southern 500 race details

a path: Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile egg-shaped oval), Darlington, South Carolina
Length: 367 laps for 501.322 miles
banking services: The forehead is straight – 3 degrees | Turns 1-2 – 25° | The back is straight – 2 degrees | Turns 3-4 – 23 degrees
stage lengths: Stage 1 – 115 laps | Stage 2 – 115 laps | Stage 3 – 137 laps
2022 winner: Joey Logano

Opened in 1950, the track they called “Too Tough to Tame” is one of the oldest on the circuit and one of the most popular. The unique 1.366-mile oval features wide Turns 1 and 2 but has tighter Turns 3 and 4 to preserve the pond that the original owner of the farmland stipulated should remain in place when the highway was built. On a track famous for its many racing grooves, drivers enjoy finding their match for the long haul, and adjustments during the race are paramount.

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Southern Starting Network 500

  1. Christopher Bell, 20, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

  2. Denny Hamlin, 11, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

  3. Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota

  4. Ryan Blaney, 12, Team Pensky Ford

  5. Brad Keselowski (6), RFK Racing Ford

  6. Joey Logano (22), Penske Ford Team

  7. Kevin Harvick (4), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

  8. Chris Bucher (17), RFK Racing Ford

  9. Michael McDowell, 34, Front Row Motorsports Ford

  10. Aric Almirola (10 years old), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

  11. Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

  12. Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

  13. Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

  14. Austin Cindrick (2), Team Pensky Ford

  15. Carson Hocivar, 42, Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet

  16. AJ Allmendinger, 16, College Racing Chevrolet

  17. Ty Gibbs (54), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

  18. Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

  19. Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Toyota

  20. Eric Jones, 43, Legacy Motor Chevrolet Club

  21. Daniel Suarez (99), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet

  22. Corey Lajoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet

  23. William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

  24. Alex Bowman (48 years old), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

  25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47 years old), GTG Dougherty Racing Chevrolet

  26. Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet

  27. Russ Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet

  28. Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

  29. Justin Haley (31), College Racing Chevrolet

  30. Todd Gilliland (38), Ford Motorsports front row

  31. Martin Truex Jr. (19 years old), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

  32. Harrison Burton, 21, Wood Brothers Racing Ford

  33. JJ Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford

  34. Ryan Preece, 41, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

  35. Ryan Newman, 51, Rick Ware Racing Ford

  36. PJ MacLeod (78), LiveFast Motorsports Ford

Top drivers and best bets for the Southern 500

In addition to being the betting favorite to claim the championship, Truex enters the Southern 500 weekend with the best odds of winning the race (+500), According to the BetMGM website. Byron (+750) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson (+525) are sandwiched between Truex and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin (+800).

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In all, the top eight drivers with the best odds are all playoff drivers, and 14 of the top 15 drivers are in the postseason.

The best odds of winning
Martin Truex Jr. +500
Kyle Larson +525
William Byron +750
Denny Hamlin +800
Christopher Bell +1100
Kyle Busch +1100
Ross Chastain +1100

Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg wrote earlier in the week about the race betting landscape and suggests finding good mid-value in defending series champions Joey Logano (+1800) and Boescher (+2200), who have won three of the past five races. Bromberg also recommends taking a post on Eric Jones, who enters at odds of 40 to 1, despite having two wins in this particular event, including last year.

Denny Hamlin has the best average finishing position at Darlington of any driver in the field, at 7.7. (Photo by Jared East/Getty Images)

Qualifying rankings enter the Southern 500

1. Martin Truex Jr. – 2036
2. William Byron – 2036
3. Denny Hamlin – 2025
4. Chris Bucher – 2021
5. Kyle Bush – 2019
6. Kyle Larson – 2017
7. Christopher Bell – 2,104
8. Ross Chastain – 2011
9. Brad Keselowski – 2010
10. Tyler Reddick – 2009
11. Joy Logano – 2008
12. Ryan Blaney – 2008
______ Line cutting
13. Michael McDowell – 2007
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 2005
15. Kevin Harvick – 2004
16. Bubba Wallace – 2000

Southern 500 entry list

Russ Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Austin Cindrick (2), Team Pensky Ford
Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick (4), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski (6), RFK Racing Ford
Corey Lajoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Aric Almirola (10 years old), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Denny Hamlin, 11, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Blaney, 12, Team Pensky Ford
Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
JJ Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford
AJ Allmendinger, 16, College Racing Chevrolet
Chris Bucher (17), RFK Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr. (19 years old), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Christopher Bell, 20, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Harrison Burton, 21, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Joey Logano (22), Penske Ford Team
Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Toyota
William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Justin Haley (31), College Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, 34, Front Row Motorsports Ford
Todd Gilliland (38), Ford Motorsports front row
Ryan Preece, 41, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Carson Hocivar, 42, Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Eric Jones, 43, Legacy Motor Chevrolet Club
Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47 years old), GTG Dougherty Racing Chevrolet
Alex Bowman (48 years old), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, 51, Rick Ware Racing Ford
Ty Gibbs (54), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
PJ MacLeod (78), LiveFast Motorsports Ford
Daniel Suarez (99), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet

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Southern Weather 500

Expectations He calls for warm temperatures in the lower 80s for Saturday practice and qualifying, while race day will be hot, with a high of 89 degrees. With the race being conducted in twilight and nighttime conditions, this expected hike shouldn’t have much effect on tire degradation as the race goes on, but the load passing through the tires on the right side – especially in the long, sweeping Turns 1-2 – makes for some interesting pit strategies.