The start of the 2020 NASCAR postseason is here. For the first time ever, the Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN) will host a playoff race for the NASCAR Cup Series. This was already one of the Crown Jewels, but now that it not only has a postseason date, it kicks off the 10 race playoff. That makes winning on Sunday night even bigger.
Still, I look for one of the heavy hitters to land in victory lane on Sunday on the 1.366-mile South Carolina race track. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have won exactly half (13) of the 26 races run in the regular season. They’ve won 12 of the 22 races during the pandemic too. They’ve won half of the races run at Darlington since 2014 including sweeping the May races in the resumption of the 2020 season as well.
Harvick, won NASCAR’s first race back during the pandemic on this very track on May 17. He was third in the second race. He also has eight consecutive top 10 finishes on the track including seven of them being inside of the top five. Harvick, led 63 total laps here in 16 starts at Darlington with RCR. He’s already led 687 in nine starts with SHR. He’s won half of the last six races run and has 11 top five finishes in his last 13 starts overall. The only non top fives were at Daytona.
For Hamlin, he won the second Darlington race back on May 20. He has six top 10 finishes in his last seven “Lady in Black” starts including five of them being in the top five. He’s a three time Darlington winner and also has three runner-ups there too. On the season, Hamlin has 11 top two’s overall and five in the last eight races run.
“I think we need to continue what we’ve been doing all season,” Hamlin said. “I know my team will bring the best car possible, like they do every week, and we’ll do our best to go out and secure the win. Darlington is a great track for us, so I certainly think we’re capable of coming away with a win.”
With the stakes being higher this weekend, why pick against them?
Both also should march pretty easily to the Championship 4 this November too. Harvick has 57 playoff points scored in the regular season. Hamlin has accumulated 47 himself. That’s why for the second straight year, I think both should be back into the Championship 4 together.
“I think we’re in a really good spot,” Hamlin continued. “We’ve worked hard all season to earn playoff points to help us get through each round and hopefully to the Championship 4. And we’ll look to keep winning races and adding more points along the way.”