As soon as I drive through Darlington Raceway’s Turn 3 tunnel, I feel like I’ve stepped back in time and entered another era. The walls feature a collage of the track’s historic moments through the decades and the legends that have conquered the unforgiving surface of the track “Too Tough to Tame.”
As the 1.66-mile track prepares to host the Throwback Weekend with all three national series competing, track President Kerry Tharp promises a weekend reminiscent of days gone by with special guests, activities and surprises.
I asked him what will put the biggest smile on his face when he steps outside and looks around on race day.
“I want the fans to enjoy it,” he said. “They can take a walk down memory lane and relive some great moments in the sport.”
The decision was made to move the Throwback Weekend to the May event because, Tharp said, “We wanted it to stand on its own.”
Along with the Throwback paint schemes, fans can enjoy a variety of events that will add to the nostalgic atmosphere.
The Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum and National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame will re-open after being closed since last spring due to the pandemic. It’s a must see for NASCAR history buffs and will be open on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The track will also have several merchandise trailers on site, there will be cardboard cutouts of past and current drivers that fans can take pictures with, and if you look up, Tharp said, “We’ll have the Goodyear Blimp; I can’t even remember the last time I saw it overhead.”
“You’ll see heroes and Hall of Famers this weekend,” Tharp added.
Greg Biffle, a three-time Darlington race winner, will drive parade laps before the start of the Camping World Truck Series race Friday night. Saturday afternoon before the Xfinity Series Steakhouse Elite 200, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take his father’s restored No. 8 Chevrolet Nova for a few laps around the track.
On Mother’s Day NASCAR and Darlington Raceway will hand out carnations to the first 1,000 mothers who enter the track for the Cup Series Goodyear 400. Mothers who are accompanied by their children will have an opportunity to take a photo together to commemorate the special day.
Look for more announcements from Darlington Raceway throughout the week on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And, don’t forget to visit the Darlington Raceway Virtual Fan Zone to vote for your favorite paint scheme.
Tickets for all races are still available.