Darlington Raceway scores a 2nd NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021
From Staff Reports
NASCAR is adding a second NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway next year – on May 9 – and Darlington officials are already revved up.
In addition to the 2021 Southern 500 Sept. 5, a second Cup Series race is set for Mother’s Day weekend 2021. This will be the first time Darlington has been on the NASCAR schedule to host two Cup Series race weekends since 2004.
“It’s fantastic news and we are more than pleased that the Track Too Tough To Tame will host two races next year,” said Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd. “We hope to pack them out, and we will give the raceway our full support. We certainly look forward to those visitors coming to town.”
Lisa Rock, Darlington’s economic development and planning director and executive director of the Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association, said: “This has been a long time coming, and we are happy to see NASCAR start to use the Darlington track more. I hope the executives at NASCAR will consider making a spring race in Darlington a permanent stop on the circuit again.
“A big part of our appeal in terms of tourism is history, and that includes our connection to racing history with one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR circuit.”
Raceway President Kerry Tharp said: “We are grateful for NASCAR’s trust in the track Too Tough To Tame to continue to deliver one of the most competitive race experiences and loyal fan bases in the sport. Thanks to Gov. Henry McMaster and the state of South Carolina for their continued support, as NASCAR was the first to bring live team sports back at Darlington in 2020.
“We look forward to hearing the roar of the engines twice as part of our traditional Mother’s Day and Labor Day weekends.”
Darlington first hosted the Southern 500 Cup race on Labor Day weekend on Sept. 4, 1950. The track added the NASCAR Convertible Series to its spring schedule in 1957-59; the series eventually became a part of the Cup Series.
From 1960 to 2004, Darlington annually hosted two Cup Series race weekends – one in the spring and one on Labor Day weekend. In 2015, the Southern 500 returned to its traditional date on Labor Day weekend.
This year, the track hosted three Cup Series races as part of NASCAR’s revised schedule on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The announcement of a second race at Darlington Raceway proves what we have known all along – The Lady in Black is one of the finest in the country,” said Gov. McMaster.
Next year, the Southern 500 will be the first race in the Round of 16 of the Cup Series Playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Southern 500 has been on its traditional Labor Day weekend date since 2015.