Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Darlington Raceway

credit: NASCAR Media
Darlington Raceway is a unique speedway that is steeped in NASCAR tradition – so much so that the annual Southern 500 is now the place to show off throwback paint schemes that relive NASCAR history. Learn more about the South Carolina track in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Darlington Raceway – also known as the “Lady in Black” and the “Track Too Tough to Tame” – is a 1.366-mile asphalt track that opened in 1950. The brainchild of former racer Harold Brasington, construction on Darlington began in 1949, and the planned true oval became an egg-shaped oval after Brasington promised the previous landowner he would not upset the minnow pond on the property.
  • The first race at Darlington Raceway was the Southern 500, a 500-mile race on Labor Day in 1950 that was co-sanctioned by NASCAR and the Central States Racing Association and drawing more than 80 participants. The race was won by Johnny Mantz.
  • The minnow pond is now long gone, and the track was reconfigured in 1997, when the frontstretch became the backstretch and the turns were renumbered. From late 2003-early 2004, lights were added. The track has a seating capacity of approximately 58,000.
  • Darlington hosted two Cup Series races for a number of years, but in 2003 the Labor Day race was given to Auto Club Speedway in California and the Southern 500 was moved to the Chase in November. In 2005, the track’s only race was moved to Mother’s Day weekend and the Southern 500 name was dropped; it was renamed the Southern 500 in 2009. After holding the race in April in 2014, the Southern 500 returned to its rightful place on Labor Day weekend in 2015.
  • The Cup Series qualifying record at Darlington is held by Aric Almirola, who posted a speed of 184.145 mph (26.705 seconds) in April 2014. David Pearson leads the all-time wins list with 10 trips to victory lane, and also earned 12 poles at the track to lead that statistic. Richard Petty earned 25 top 10 finishes in his record 65 starts at Darlington, and Bill Elliott had a record 35 top 10 finishes there.
  • Learn more about this history track at www.darlingtonraceway.com

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