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Why Jeff Burton Picks Darlington Over the Daytona 500 for NASCAR Drivers and Teams

Nilavro Ghosh

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Darlington might not have the glamour of the Daytona 500 but the history associated with the NASCAR track is unmatched and as far as veteran Jeff Burton is concerned, it might even be greater than The Great American Race. The 56-year-old has two wins at the track and he would not swap them for anything, even at the Daytona 500.

The former Cup Series driver was in conversation with 7-time Cup Series champion Richard Petty on an episode of GEICO Legends by NASCAR. As per Burton, the Southern 500 is revered by everyone who understands the sport and has been a part of it for a long time and to be fair, it is one of the biggest races of the year.

“The Southern 500 and winning at Darlington will always be up here for the crew chiefs, the drivers, the car owners, the people that know the sport. It’ll always be big. The Daytona 500 is clearly the Daytona 500 and it is our biggest race but if I never want a Daytona 500, and if you came to me and said, “I’ll give you a Daytona 500 for one of your Darlington wins,” I’m not taking it, I’m keeping my Darlington wins,” he said.

But why is winning at Darlington considered to be such a big feat? The answer is quite simple – it’s difficult to run on that track even for the most experienced of racers.

Jeff Burton explains Darlington’s legendary reputation

Burton spoke about this earlier in his conversation with Petty. The former Roush driver won at the race track in the Cup Series only in the two 1999 races and holds them both in high regard. Burton believes that no matter what setup you go into the race with, drivers have to make adjustments during the race and they aren’t subtle ones either.

“To me what makes Darlington great for drivers and fans is that it’s really hard, it’s a very difficult race track and you can see it. You can see the drivers ride against the wall, you can see them having to change lanes and it’s just…it’s always changing and as it’s changing, from a driver, you’re having to make those adjustments but the fans can see the drivers making those adjustments and I think that track more than anywhere else, shows how hard it is to drive a race car,” he explained.

This weekend is the 2024 Goodyear 400 at the Darlington Raceway and it is a much anticipated event. Several drivers are being considered as favorites but it will be intriguing to see who masters the famed asphalt this time around.

About the author

Nilavro Ghosh

Nilavro Ghosh


Nilavro is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. His love for motorsports began at a young age with F1 and spread out to other forms of racing like NASCAR and Moto GP. After earning his post-graduate degree from the Asian College of Journalism in 2020, he has mostly worked as a motorsports journalist. Apart from covering racing, his passion lies in making music primarily as a bass player.

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