Simply The Best: Darlington Raceway Tops Several of NASCAR Illustrated Magazine's "Best of NASCAR 2011" Awards

Kevin VS Kyle

It’s a new year, but the memories made during the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway are still resonating among fans and media alike. Most recently, NASCAR Illustrated gave kudos to many of those memorable moments in its “Best of NASCAR 2011” awards, which were handed out in its January 2012 issue.

Darlington Raceway received honors in the “Best Feud, Best Quote and Best Finishes” categories.

Darlington Raceway lived up to its legend last season as one of the toughest tracks to race on the circuit, causing some tempers to flare following the 500-mile event. Indeed, those memorable moments during the 2011 Southern 500 have still not gone unnoticed.

With the combination of the feud on pit road by Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch and the historic first-ever victory by Regan Smith, the 2012 edition of the Southern 500 will bring those memories to the forefront of racing when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Darlington Raceway on May 11-12.

The Harvick-Kyle Busch controversy, which escalated at Darlington with Harvick exiting his car on pit road to confront Kyle, which in turn caused Busch to push Harvick’s car into the pit wall, carried on throughout the 2011 season. NASCAR Illustrated ranked that as the “Best Feud” with the confrontation at Darlington setting the tone for the rest of the season between the popular drivers.

The altercation with Busch caused Harvick to state afterwards: “I was getting ready to knock the p**s out of him.” (which also was honored by NASCAR Illustrated as one of the “Best Quotes” for 2011).

Additionally, the Southern 500 victory by Smith, which occurred just minutes before the Harvick-Busch pit road altercation, was ranked as the fifth “Best Finish” in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2011.

Smith was one of five Sprint Cup Series drivers to earn their first career Cup victory with Smith setting the bar at one of NASCAR’s toughest racing venues. His victory was earned not by fuel-mileage or restrictor plates, but just good hard racing (as stated by NASCAR Illustrated).

Smith’s Sprint Cup victory at Darlington was the second of the first-time Cup winners of 2011, following the Daytona 500 victory by Trevor Bayne.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to open up a popular publication like NASCAR Illustrated and see that the memorable win and controversies at Darlington Raceway made a large impact on the 2011 Sprint Cup racing season,” Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning said. “Winning and being competitive at Darlington has always been important to the drivers because of the historic significance of this great race track.”

Round 2 of the Harvick-Busch feud and Smith defending his race win at Darlington Raceway will take place on May 11-12, making the 2012 season at the track “Too Tough to Tame” a must-see spectacle on Mother’s Day weekend.

“The storylines that were made in 2011 at Darlington will carry on into the 2012 season and offer fans who attend the races this May another chance to see great racing action, on and possibly off the track!” Browning said.

Tickets for events at Darlington can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at

Darlington Raceway, or the track Too Tough To Tame as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Gatorade Victory Lane. On Mother’s Day weekend, May 11-12, 2012, NASCAR’s biggest stars return to battle the track Too Tough To Tame in the Sprint Cup Series Southern 500® and Nationwide Series Darlington 200.

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