Just 72 hours removed from the return of NASCAR, the Cup Series men are back for round two at Darlington Raceway. The main reason for having these weekday races is to fill the gaps missed during the 10 weeks that NASCAR was off, which includes the cancellation of races at Chicagoland Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, and Richmond Raceway. After a chaotic but entertaining race on Sunday, how will race two turn out under the lights?
With the race taking place under the lights, and a green and cooler racing surface due to the rain, Darlington will have more grip than Sunday throughout Wednesday night. However, the tire wear will still play a hefty role as to who will dominate the night. Clean air is king, but drivers do not want to use up their tires trying to make passes early in a run.
One thing that we didn’t see on Sunday was an exceptionally long green flag run. the longest was 52 laps in between the competition caution and the end of stage one. If we can get longer green flag runs, look out for rookie Tyler Reddick and Martin Truex Jr. Both men seemed to have the best cars the longer a green-flag run went.
The biggest question coming into this race is how will Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman fare in traffic. Both men ran at the front for a majority of Sunday’s race, but due to the inverted starting order for 1-20 finishers, they will start 19th and 20th.
Ryan Preece and Ty Dillon start on the front row thanks to their respective 20th and 19th-place finishes Sunday. Preece made some noise in the top 10 on Sunday for awhile, but would fade late. Don’t expect these men to hold the front for too long.
Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney both start in the top 10 and will look to bounce back from surprisingly poor runs in the first race.
Kyle Busch(26th), William Byron(34th) and Jimmie Johnson(37th) will have their hands full Wednesday night after problems on Sunday.
I like Martin Truex Jr. to take this one tonight. After a dismal first stage, he was able to rebound and score a sixth-place finish. His team should have the correct set up tonight and I expect them to be in victory lane with the help of long runs.
Stages tonight end on lap 60, lap 125 and the finish at lap 228. The race will air on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST. Rain will be a factor all throughout the day, but their is a window on the radar where the race could get in fully. Click here to follow the Darlington, South Carolina radar.