2022 NASCAR Preview: Week 12 – Darlington

Mother’s Day with the Lady in Black!

The Kentucky Derby ran yesterday and nobody was ready for Rich Strike. 80-to-1 odds on that horse, and nothing indicating that he’d be the winner ahead of all of the favorites. Darlington has been that sort of way before, too. Not always, no, but some surprises all their own. Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch in one of the closest finishes in Cup history way back in 2003, and Regan Smith snagged his first — and only — career Win back in 2011. Can someone else step up and mark their name in the record book? Tyler Reddick? Harrison Burton? Daniel Suarez?

Here’s what to look for:

Joey Logano rebounds, in a sense, from his poor showing at Dover. Starting 1st today in a throwback to his first car he ever raced. He was looking real fast on Saturday, though he did have some company. Penske guys have experience winning here, a Win here would be exactly what “Smoking Joe” needs to get back on track today.

Martin Truex Jr. was our big winner in last year’s Goodyear 400, his second victory at this track in the last ten races. He’s got the second highest points total in that span (averaging 40.2 points per race), and an 8.7 average finish. His teammate won here in the Fall so he could be someone to watch again today..

-Oh, that teammate? Denny Hamlin. He has three Wins in the last ten races, with a 7.2 average finish. Unsure if today will go like that though. For starters, he’s without his crew chief today (and the next three weeks) after his wheel decided to leave his car. Things seemed well for Qualifying, though in his final round he mentioned a grinding noise and it definitely looked like something had happened. We’ll see how things go once the green flag drops.

Kevin Harvick has an active streak of twelve Top 10s, and only two of those are worse than 5th. He’s got an average finish of 4.0 over the last ten races, and will look to keep that string alive. HOWEVER, he had some pre-qualifying issues, did not put the car through time trials, and will start this race 34th! They call him The Closer; it could take a full 400 laps to get there.

Kyle Larson only has seven starts here, but he’s got a 5.1 average finish which is second best among active drivers. He’s yet to win here, but has finish 2nd three straight races. That’s pretty good! Frustrating, but good. Today, Larson will start 2nd.

Alright. While Darlington offers challenges to a number of drivers — the Track Too Tough to Tame — I’ve got my own challenge today. And I’m going to accept it. Let’s see how this goes…

Pimento-stuff jalapenos awaiting the oven (Photo: Rob Schulz)

Pimento cheese-stuffed jalapeños, wrapped in candied bacon (Photo: Rob Schulz)

Darlington inspired Pimento cheese stuffed Jalapeños with candied bacon. Hmm.. First off, I gotta say, looks like these were made by someone who doesn’t know their way around a kitchen!! Beyond that, they taste alright, I guess. Something seems…off though. Lisa thinks its because of the stems. I don’t. The pan is like a soupy cheese bog with portions of the plate ensconced in candied brown sugar lily pads. I made some bonus candied bacon and that came out better alone than the bacon wrapping paper. I dunno, mannn. They taste decent, but something just seems wrong with them. I’ve eaten enough (testing them out) that it is too late for me to not get sick if I’m going to get sick, haha. I miss my fiancé (down south for the weekend). And she’s really good at this stuff. Subpar job, me! Boo this man!! BOOOOOOOO!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, I hope you have a great day regardless of your plans. Watch the race, read a book, go to the park, whatever! Coverage of the Darlington race starts on FS1 at 3:30pm, green flag scheduled for 3:42pm.

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