by Garrett Horton
Kyle Busch finished fourth at Darlington, his third straight top-5 finish.
Jeff Gordon finished outside the top-20 for the fourth straight race Saturday night. This is only the third time in his career he has done so, with the other times coming during the summer months of 2000 and 2003. He has never finished outside the top-20 five consecutive times in his 21 years of Sprint Cup competition.
Denny Hamlin’s average finish in seven starts at Darlington, having finished no worse than 13th.
Since finishing fourth at Fontana in March, Kevin Harvick has fallen six spots in the standings from second to eighth and has not had a top-5 in that span.
After not finishing higher than 14th in the first six races, Kasey Kahne has placed eighth or higher in the last five outings, skyrocketing from 31st to 16th in the standings.
After going a lap down and battling a loose race car early on, Marcos Ambrose rallied to finish ninth at Darlington, his first top-10 on the year.
Since 2006, there has been an average of 12.5 races a year with 10 or more cautions. So far in 2012, the season opening Daytona 500 has been the lone event with at least ten yellow flags.
Of Jimmie Johnson’s 56 career wins, 14 of them have come when he has qualified on the front row. Johnson started second Saturday night.
Darlington is the only current track on the schedule that has hosted multiple races where Tony Stewart has not won a race, but the most surprising statistic may be in the laps led column; he has led just a total of 20 laps in 14 years of competition at the Lady in Black.
A.J. Allmendinger was hoping to have a breakthrough season after signing with Roger Penske this off season. So far it has been anything but, with only one top-10 in the first 11 races and a current position of 22nd in points, after finishing 19th and 15th in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Danica Patrick’s finishing result in the Bojangles Southern 500, six laps off the pace.
Rick Hendrick finally got his 200th win as car owner Saturday night. In his almost 30 years as car owner, he has fielded entries for some of NASCAR’s best in Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond, Mark Martin, and Ricky Rudd, but more than 70% of his wins have come from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who have combined to win 141 of the 200 wins for Hendrick.
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