The NASCAR Cup Series drivers will head to Darlington Raceway on Sunday for the Goodyear 400, the premier event of Throwback Weekend. The drivers should have no concerns about inclement weather as they prepare for 293 laps around The Lady in Black. The forecast calls for warm temperatures and no rain.
According to Weather.com, the race will take place under partly cloudy skies throughout Sunday with temperatures in the 80s. There will be 16 mph winds during the race, but there is a 0% chance of precipitation. The Xfinity Series drivers will face similar conditions on Saturday with temperatures in the 70s and a 0% chance of rain.
The Xfinity Series race will take place at 1 p.m. ET on FS1. Adam Alexander will serve as the play-by-play man while Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace join him in the booth. The Cup Series race will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., also on FS1. Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer will call the action from the booth.
The Cup Series race will feature a significant change
When the drivers head to the Track Too Tough to Tame, they will do so with a significantly different setup in their respective race cars. The Cup Series traditionally uses a 550-horsepower, high-downforce package. The 2021 spring race, however, will feature the 750-horsepower, low-downforce package. The change in the setup will throw a proverbial wrench into the works as the drivers prepare to race at a track known for wild moments.
“The car is going to slide around a lot,” NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. told media members on Wednesday, per NBC Sports. “You’re going to have a lot of power. I think you’re going to see cars slide a lot, especially off of Turn 2. Turn 2 is always tricky. But with more horsepower and less downforce, it’s definitely going to be on edge.
“But I think that’s what the drivers want. That’s what we like to see. And I think it’s going to create good racing. I think you’re going to have cars that will be really good on the short run and then some that will be really good on the long run. And it will be fun to see how that plays out along with different lines, especially in Turns 3 and 4. Some can run the bottom the whole time and others have got to get up on the fence.”
The Cup Series headed to Darlington three times in 2020
With COVID-19 disrupting the 2020 schedule, NASCAR had to make some major adjustments. The sanctioning body removed some tracks from the schedule and then created doubleheaders at others. Darlington became one of those that hosted multiple races — two in the spring and then the Southern 500 that started the playoffs.
There were two drivers that performed the best during these three trips to Darlington. Kevin Harvick won The Real Heroes 400 while holding off Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch. Denny Hamlin then reached Victory Lane three days later in the Toyota 500 while Kyle Busch and Harvick finished second and third, respectively.
Once the playoffs began, Harvick turned in yet another strong performance. He won the Southern 500 in September while holding off Austin Dillon and Joey Logano. This win moved him to the Round of 12 in the playoffs and capped off Throwback Weekend.
Harvick and Hamlin have yet to reach Victory Lane in 2021 after combining for 16 wins in 2020, but Darlington could serve as their best opportunity to do so. The race will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET. Brad Keselowski will lead the field to the green flag after winning the Busch Pole while Harvick will join him on the front row. The latter will do so while driving a powerful throwback scheme from his 2001 rookie season.