Darlington & CTMP Weekend Preview

Greg Biffle. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Biffle, Kahne search for Victory Lane at Darlington

One of the bigger surprises of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season was veteran stars Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne failing to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

This year, the two experienced wheelmen find themselves in a similar predicament.

With just two races remaining until NASCAR’s playoffs, Kahne (52 points below the final Chase spot) and Biffle (-144) both need a win to get in.

They get their first of two chances at a final triumph in Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBC) where both have experienced past success.

Biffle has won at Darlington twice (2005-06) and claims three top-five and six top-10 finishes in 15 starts there.

“I’m really looking forward to Darlington,” Biffle said. “It’s my second best track, second favorite track to race at. We ran well there last year and I’m looking forward to going back, especially with Hooters on the car. This weekend is a good opportunity to get a solid finish and race for the win. I think we are capable of it.”

Kahne has never won at the track known as “The Lady in Black,” but has shown he can get around it fast. He has earned the pole position at Darlington four times and has three top-five, as well as four top-10 finishes there in 13 starts. In 2014, Kahne found himself outside of the Chase on Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta, but won the race to make the playoffs.

“Darlington has a great history and since I’ve been in the sport, I look forward to it every time because of how difficult it is to race there,”  Kahne said. “I haven’t won there yet, but we’ve been close at times, and it would be great to do it this trip and in the LiftMaster throwback car. I think Darlington is the perfect track to race the throwback cars at and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Suarez hopes to ‘throw it back’ to last year with strong Darlington performance

This weekend, Darlington Raceway will celebrate the 1975-84 era of NASCAR history with its second annual “Throwback Weekend.”

Daniel Suárez, 24, wasn’t even alive then, but will try to “throw it back” to last season – when he finished fourth at the track dubbed “Too Tough To Tame” – in Saturday’s VFW Sport Clips 200 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Daniel Saurez (Getty Images)
Daniel Saurez (Getty Images)

“Darlington is one of my favorite race tracks we visit each year and also one of the most fun and challenging to drive. The track is so different from any that we visit; it really makes it exciting for us as drivers as well as the fans,” said Suárez, who ranks third on the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Grid on the strength of one win, 10 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.

Suárez, who finished fourth in last week’s race at Road America hopes to build momentum in the three races leading up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

“We had a really strong run (at Darlington) last year in our ARRIS Camry, so hopefully we can duplicate that effort this year,” Suarez said. “We’ve had a really good year so far, and as the regular season comes to a close I’m really looking forward to the Chase coming up in a few weeks.”

NASCAR Next member Klutt set for Camping World Truck Series debut

A Canadian hasn’t won a NASCAR national series race since Ron Fellows triumphed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 20, 2008.

NASCAR Next member Gary Klutt, from Halton Hills, Ontario, will attempt to be the next Canadian winner when he makes his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Gary Klutt (Getty Images)
Gary Klutt (Getty Images)

Klutt, set to pilot the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, is in his second season running full-time in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He claims five top-10 finishes in nine starts in the Canadian touring series this season. For his career, he owns one win and 15 top-10 finishes in 26 NASCAR Pinty’s Series starts.

The 24-year-old is no stranger to success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park either. In six career NASCAR Pinty’s Series starts at the 2.459-mile road course, Klutt boasts one win (2015) and four top 10s with no finish worse than 11th.

“It’s going to be a special moment to return to the place where I earned my first win last year in the Pinty’s Series, and I hope to make another trip to Victory Lane next weekend,” Klutt said.

Race Weekend Preview

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Race: Bojangles’ Southern 500

Place: Darlington Raceway

Date and Time: Sunday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. ET

Tune-in: NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 501.3 miles (367 laps)

What to Watch for: NASCAR Next and Drive For Diversity alumnus Kyle Larson goes for his second straight win after visiting Victory Lane for the first time last week at Michigan. … Three berths remain in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two races left before the 16-driver playoff. A win earns a driver an automatic spot in the Chase as long he/she has attempted to start every race and is in the top 30 in points. … Carl Edwards tries to defend his Darlington win from last season. … Jimmie Johnson leads full-time active drivers with three wins at Darlington, but Jeff Gordon, who is subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr., boasts seven victories at “The Lady in Black.” Ten different drivers have won the last 10 races at  Darlington.


Race: VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200

Place: Darlington Raceway

Date and Time: Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Tune-In: NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200.8 miles (147 laps)

What to Watch for: Three races remain until the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Six drivers have officially clinched berths in the playoffs, but six spots remain. Ryan Sieg currently holds the final spot by 15 points over 13th-place Dakoda Armstrong. … South Carolina native Jeremy Clements (Spartanburg) will compete at his hometown track. … Last weekend, Michael McDowell became the third first-time winner in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season. He joined Daniel Suárez and Justin Marks.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Race: Chevrolet Silverado 250

Place: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Date and Time: Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Tune-In: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 182.16 miles (45 laps)

What to Watch for: Two berths remain  in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase with two races left before the circuit’s playoffs. Right now, Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters hold the final two spots based on points. … The Chevrolet Silverado 250 is the only road course on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. … Calgary, Alberta, native Cameron Hayley tries to win his first career race inn his home country. He has six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts. …

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.