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NASCAR America: Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray could upset the Big 3 at Darlington

Drivers not currently in playoff contention can vault themselves into the conversation with a win in the Southern 500.

When Kurt Busch won last week’s race at Bristol, he became the fourth different driver in the past 10 races to beat the Big 3 of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. The Southern 500 could provide another new winner this season, according to Kyle Petty.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Petty went deep in the points standings to highlight two drivers who are capable of winning based on their experience at Darlington.

“The first guy that pops into my mind is Ryan Newman,” Petty said. “I think Ryan’s had some success there, has had good top fives, good top 10s … (in) 19 starts. I think that’s the key.”

Newman has seven top fives and 13 top 10s in his 19 races on this track. Four of his top 10s came in the last five years.

“I look to Newman, and I look to Jamie McMurray – the more experience you have at this track, the better you are.”

McMurray finished 10th in last year’s Southern 500, but he was in contention for more top 10 finishes with results of 14th through 16th in the four preceding races.

“These are guys outside, behind that cutline that can come to Darlington,” Petty said. “And Darlington is that great equalizer. These are drivers who know how to drive racecars – that know how to adjust to a track. It’s not just brute horsepower. It’s finesse, it’s drivability.”

If Newman or McMurray wins this week, Jimmie Johnson could be in jeopardy of falling out of playoff contention, but Petty views him as another driver to watch.

“I think Jimmie gets more out of a car effortlessly, it looks like … Jimmie just seems to get it done.” Petty said.

For more, watch the video above.

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