From the Raceway president: ‘Fans will be in for a treat’
By Kerry Tharp, President
The anticipation is building and the excitement is growing as the eyes and ears of the sports world will be focused on Darlington Raceway this weekend as the track hosts the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR. It’s the first time since 2004 that the track has had two major NASCAR race weekends on its schedule and the Lady in Black has never been more ready. Just a little over a year ago, Darlington Raceway helped bring back live sports to this country, as the track hosted three NASCAR races over a five-day period. The sports world, and the nation for that matter, had been on pause for more than two months, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. Thanks to the support of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, NASCAR was able to bring live sports action back and provide people with hope during some very challenging times. When the 2021 NASCAR schedule was announced last fall, Darlington was awarded a second race date and that news was extremely well received by the millions of race fans that follow the sport. Darlington will be celebrating its much-acclaimed throwback platform this weekend. Now in its seventh year, this initiative has become one of the most popular events on the NASCAR circuit. The throwback weekend provides fans, teams, drivers, sponsors and media with the opportunity to celebrate the past, present and future of the sport. It gives everyone a chance to walk down memory lane and pay tribute to all of the heroes and legends that have helped make NASCAR the great tradition that it is. With Darlington getting its second race date, the decision was made late last year to move the throwback weekend to the May event with the iconic Cook Out Southern 500 once again kicking off the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs over Labor Day weekend. All three NASCAR national series will be competing this weekend at Darlington. The LiftKits4Less.com 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race kicks things off on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Steakhouse Elite 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race will drop the Green Flag on Saturday at 1 p.m. The weekend concludes with the running of the Goodyear 400 NASCAR Cup Series race. With a full weekend of action, this provides fans with an even greater opportunity to see throwback paint schemes from all three racing series. Race fans will be in for a treat this weekend. There will be dozens of retro paint schemes; the merchandise haulers will be back behind the front stretch; there will be cutouts of current and throwback drivers for fans to take photos of; and a Who’s Who list of NASCAR Hall of Fame and Legends will take parade laps for the three respective races. For Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race, former series champion and two-time Darlington race winner Greg Biffle will take parade laps in a vintage 1976 red Ford pickup truck. On Saturday, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take parade laps in his restored No. 8 Chevy Nova that his father drove to Victory Lane twice in the XFINITY Series at Darlington. On Mother’s Day, NASCAR Hall of Famers Leonard Wood and Bill Elliott will take parade laps prior to the start of the Goodyear 400. Wood will drive a 1971 Ford Mercury that David Pearson, Darlington’s all-time winningest driver, won with. Elliott will drive a restored version of the 1988 No. 9 Ford Thunderbird that he drove during his Cup Series championship season. The 2021 NASCAR racing season is off to a blazing start. At this writing, there have been nine different race winners through the first 10 NASCAR Cup Series races. The DAYTONA 500 started the season off with one of the event’s most unlikely winners, as 100-1 longshot Michael McDowell claimed his first-ever Cup Series victory on the sport’s biggest stage. The competition has been fierce across all three series and this weekend’s action at Darlington stacks up to be as good as we’ve seen. This has been a busy year at Darlington Raceway. On March 5, the track served as host for what has been the largest mass COVID vaccination event in the state to date. Partnering with McLeod Regional Medical Center and Darlington County, the racetrack saw 5,400 individuals receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. On April 1, those individuals received their second dose at the track. These two events exhibited tremendous collaboration and organization and brought hope and inspiration to the people who were vaccinated. Darlington is a special place with special people. The Track Too Tough To Tame is honored to feature the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR this Friday through Sunday. A huge thank you to this community for its continued support of our events. If you haven’t secured your tickets for this weekend’s events, please visit www.darlingtonraceway.com or call 866-459-7223. Hope to see you at the track this weekend!