Which driver will be the first to punch their ticket into the next playoff round? Find out with our Cook Out Southern 500 picks and preview”.
The “Lady In Black” is set to award drivers her famous “Darlington Stripe,” as the NASCAR playoffs get underway this week at Darlington Raceway. While only 16 drivers are in contention for the championship, all 36 on the track still want to win this race.
Experience will go a long way to victory this Sunday. Three veteran drivers stand out among the rest as solid bets to take home the checkered flag. Two are among the favorites, while the other offers fantastic value to win.
Cook Out Southern 500 Info
Where: Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC
When: Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET
How to watch: USA
Defending champion: Denny Hamlin
Cook Out Southern 500 Odds
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1000||+700||+1100|
Cook Out Southern 500 Picks
Who Will Win the Cook Out Southern 500?
Denny Hamlin broke a tie with Kevin Harvick for most wins by an active driver on this track when he took home the checkered flag in last season's Fall race. All told, the No. 11 car has four wins at Darlington. In his 20 career starts here, Hamlin boasts 11 top-5 finishes and has failed to reach the top 10 only five times.
Hamlin has led the field at Darlington for 786 total laps. In last year’s Cook Out Southern 500, he led 146 of 367 laps. This Spring, he led 42 laps before his disappointing 21st-place finish. Hamlin was first across the finish line in July at Pocono. Unfortunately, that win was taken away due to a post-race penalty.
The driver of the No. 22 car has very quietly put himself in second place in the playoff standings entering this race. He’s collected two wins and 10 other top-10 finishes on the season. Joey Logano's first victory came on this track in May. Logano led 107 of the 293 total laps that day on his way to the win. He also started on the pole.
He logged an eighth-place finish in last season's 500-miler in South Carolina. Logano has an average finish of 13.5 in his 17 career starts at this raceway. Four of his last five races at Darlington resulted in a top-10 finish.
The last time Harvick failed to finish inside the top 10 at Darlington was during the 2012 season. In that span, he has secured 11 top-5 finishes, including all three of his career wins. On top of that, Harvick leads all active drivers with 813 laps led on this track.
He and his No. 4 team have turned up the heat, winning back-to-back races which represent two of the last four. It's been a rough two-race stretch for Harvick, but the veteran has shown that he's still capable of closing on tracks where he’s had success on in the past.
Harvick had five career wins at Michigan before grabbing his sixth last month. He also had three wins at Richmond before taking home the checkered flag there the following week.
Where to Bet on the Cook Out Southern 500
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Cook Out Southern 500 picks made 9/1/2022 at 10:56 p.m. ET