Sons and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

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In 2005, Mother’s Day weekend gave birth to a new tradition at NASCAR’s most historic track. Collectively serving as grand marshal for the Dodge Charger 500 was a group of women well accustomed to giving commands to NEXTEL Cup Series drivers – their moms.

The participating mothers walked across the pre-race stage and were introduced to the fans along with their sons. Then, as a group, they uttered the most famous words in motorsports, with a bit of a twist – “Sons and gentleman, start your engines!”

The inclusion of the drivers’ mothers in pre-race activities proved to be so popular with fans that the track decided to make their participation an annual event, in honor of Mother’s Day.

“Mother’s Day weekend is a time to celebrate families,” said Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning. “NASCAR is frequently described as a family sport, so it just seems natural to include everyone and to create one very special weekend at Darlington Raceway. The staff loves hosting the moms, and the fans love seeing them, and their continued participation indicates to us that the moms enjoy it, too. Darlington is all about tradition, and this is one tradition that we will definitely continue.”

The list of mothers who will serve as grand marshals for the 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 includes (so far):

  • Carol Bickford (Jeff Gordon)
  • Mary Lou Hamlin (Denny Hamlin)
  • Ramona Vickers (Brian Vickers)
  • Marline Gordon (Robby Gordon)
  • Carol Mears (Casey Mears)
  • Linda Reutimann (David Reutimann)
  • Meredith Bowman (Jeff Burton, Ward Burton)
  • Becky Sorenson (Reed Sorenson)
  • Sue McMurray (Jamie McMurray)
  • Pam Boas (Tony Stewart)
  • Judy Gordon (Jeremy Mayfield)
  • Jana Bowyer (Clint Bowyer)
  • Martha Nemechek (Joe Nemechek)
  • Gaye Busch (Kurt and Kyle Busch)
  • Bell Sadler (Elliott Sadler)
  • Diane Newman (Ryan Newman)

The 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 weekend at Darlington Raceway will include practice for the USAC Silver Crown Series and the NASCAR Busch Series on Thursday, May 10, followed by USAC qualifying and the “Silver Crown Showdown at Darlington” under the lights. Tickets are priced at only $10 each; kids 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

Friday, May 11, will include NASCAR NEXTEL Cup practice, and NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, followed by the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race under the lights that evening. Denny Hamlin is the defending champion.

On Saturday, May 12, Darlington will host Cup Series racing for the 58th consecutive season as Greg Biffle attempts to join the short list of drivers to win three events in a row at NASCAR’s most historic venue. The 2007 Dodge Avenger 500 will be run under the lights in its entirety.

Tickets for all events are still available. For more information, call the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 866.459.RACE, or visit

Contact:  Darlington Raceway public relations                  843.395.8892

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