THE TRADITION RETURNS! DARLINGTON RACEWAY’S BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500 MOVING BACK TO LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN 2015
DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (August 26, 2014) – Darlington Raceway and NASCAR officials announced that stock car racing will return to the track Too Tough To Tame on Labor Day weekend in 2015.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 will compete on Sunday, Sept. 6. The NASCAR Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 5 (official start times TBA). Both races are scheduled to be broadcast on NBC.
The move back to Labor Day is a direct result of the tireless efforts by officials from Darlington Raceway, International Speedway Corporation (ISC - the track’s parent company) and NASCAR to return the track Too Tough To Tame to its traditional and historic weekend. The sport was built on its rich history with Darlington’s Labor Day weekend serving as a pillar of that foundation from 1950-2003.
“This is a true example of Darlington Raceway, ISC and NASCAR all working together to give fans what they have wanted for many years – the tradition of stock car racing on Labor Day weekend at the Lady in Black,” said track President Chip Wile. “We can’t thank our leaders at ISC and NASCAR enough for working with us to bring back such a historic date on the 2015 NASCAR calendar.”
“We raced the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend for 53 years. Returning to a date in 2015 that is filled with so much tradition and history is a historic moment for our fans and local community,” continued Wile.
Guests who purchased tickets or camping in 2014 will receive a renewal notice for 2015. Renewing customers will be guaranteed their seats and/or campsites for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Labor Day weekend. New fans who wish to purchase tickets now may do so, but only in non-renewing areas by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.
Labor Day 2015 will play an important role in the track’s strategic initiatives as Darlington is looking to celebrate its past history while looking forward to its future in the sport.
Many of NASCAR’s most historic moments occurred at the Lady in Black on Labor Day weekend including:
- Sept. 4, 1950: Johnny Mantz wins the inaugural Bojangles’ Southern 500 competing against a field of 75 other cars. An estimated 25,000 fans attended the event.
- Sept. 6, 1954: Herb Thomas becomes the first two-time winner of the Bojangles’ Southern 500. He won his first in 1951 and would add a third victory in 1955.
- Sept. 6, 1965: Ned Jarrett wins the Bojangles’ Southern 500 by a margin of 14 laps, a track record.
- Sept. 3, 1979: David Pearson posts his third Bojangles’ Southern 500 victory. He also won the Labor Day race in 1976 and 1977. He finished his career with a track-record 10 NSCS victories at the Lady in Black.
- Sept. 6, 1982: Cale Yarborough, a native from nearby Timmonsville, S.C., becomes the first driver to win five Bojangles’ Southern 500 races. It was his final Bojangles’ Southern 500 victory, following wins in 1968, 1973, 1974 and 1978.
- Sept. 1, 1985: Bill Elliott wins the Bojangles’ Southern 500 earning him the Winston Million. He had additional Bojangles’ Southern 500 wins in 1988 and 1994.
- Sept. 6, 1987: Dale Earnhardt wins his first Bojangles’ Southern 500. He would later add two more Labor Day victories to his resume in 1989 and 1990.
- Sept. 6, 1998: Jeff Gordon wins his fourth Bojangles’ Southern 500 in a row. He won the Labor Day race in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and added a fifth victory in 2002, tying him with Yarborough for most all-time Bojangles’ Southern 500 wins.
- Aug. 31, 2003: Terry Labonte wins the last Bojangles’ Southern 500 raced on Labor Day weekend. It was the final NSCS victory of his career to date.
- Sept. 6, 2015: The Bojangles’ Southern 500 returns to Labor Day weekend.
As fans celebrate the return of traditional Labor Day racing in Darlington, South Carolina, the date will also hold an important place on the 2015 NASCAR schedule.
With the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Labor Day weekend occurring just one week before the cut-off for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, drivers will be looking even harder for that elusive victory, which guarantees their place in the 16-driver championship grid.
“These are exciting times at Darlington Raceway. This move was made with the fans in mind because it is what they have been asking for,” said Wile. “We look forward to returning to our storied weekend and giving our fans the opportunity to create new Bojangles’ Southern 500 Labor Day memories in 2015.”
Fans are encouraged to post their Bojangles’ Southern 500 stories and memories at #TraditionReturns, #BojanglesSo500 and #SportClips200.