ETV Has a Hot Date with NASCAR's "Lady in Black"
Columbia, SC… NASCAR's first paved track. The first superspeedway. The first Winston Million win. The first 500 mile race. The first track where doors were fitted with braces to absorb the impact of (inevitably) hitting the wall. The birth of the infield camping tradition. The closest finish and also the largest margin of victory in NASCAR history.
These are just a few of the historic events that have taken place at the Darlington Raceway in its 60 year history. It has become a pillar of the NASCAR circuit, and has been compared to such other sports meccas as Lambeau Field, the "House that Ruth Built," the Kentucky Derby and The Masters.
And to think, it all started over a game of cards in a shed next to a minnow-pond.
On Thursday, May 6 at 9 p.m., just one day before drivers once again take to the track "Too Tough To Tame," ETV premieres its newest "Carolina Stories" documentary, "The Lady in Black."
Encore broadcasts will air on Sunday, May 9 at 4 p.m. on ETV and Monday, May 10 at 9 p.m. on the South Carolina Channel.
Using a blend of original and NASCAR footage from the archives, this fast-paced program tracks the history of the Darlington Raceway, as told by the true legends of the sport, including Cale Yarborough, Cotton Owens, Junior Johnson, and David Pearson as well as some of today's biggest names, such as Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Richard Childress, and the "Iron Man" of the Nationwide Series, Jason Keller.
• Yarborough recounts how his life changed forever the day he snuck under a fence to see the second race at Darlington, and he knew what he wanted to do. He (and a few others) also tell of the 1965 race where his car completely flipped over the guardrail wall of the racetrack. Since emergency vehicles couldn't get to him, he had to pull himself out of the car.
• Johnson talks about his transition from running moonshine as a bootlegger to racing professionally.
• Gordon talks about not backing down to Burton to win his fourth Darlington victory and the Winston Million in 1997.
• Meanwhile Burton says of his two 1999 Darlington victories, "When I look at my trophies, the Southern 500 stands out."
And thanks to Baker Curb Racing, ETV gives fans a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, riding along in the big rig as the Number 27 car is brought through the tunnel, and then prepared for the big race. Keller was driving for Baker Curb Racing in 2009 when the documentary was shot, and this year the Greenville native is closing in on his 500th start, which very well might take place at Darlington.
Interviews with everyone from track officials to fans who have been returning to camp in the infield year after year, help define what makes Darlington so unique, and has become the single biggest weekend event in the Palmetto State.
In this year's Nationwide Series Race on Friday, May 7, the ETV logo will be along for the 200 mile ride, zipping around the track on the doors of Baker Curb's Number 27 car, driven by two-time Darlington winner, Greg Biffle.
A preview of The Lady in Black can be seen at the Doctors Bruce & Lee Foundation Library in Florence on Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m. The screening is free and open to the public, and will feature an opportunity to ask producer/director Don Godish questions about the making of the program. The library is located at 509 S. Dargan St.
A sneak preview can also be seen at the Darlington Car Hauler Parade and Festival, which begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 6 at the Florence Civic Center, 3300 W. Radio Drive.
ETV is South Carolina’s statewide network with 11 television stations, eight radio stations and a closed-circuit educational telecommunications system in more than 2000 schools, colleges, businesses, and government agencies.