I Freakin’ Love Darlington

With Richmond in the rear view, we now focus our attention this week to night racing at Darlington.  The Nationwide Series will again race on Friday night, with the Cup cars taking to the “Lady in Black” on Saturday night.  And I can’t wait.

The 2009 season marks the 60th year of racing at the famed South Carolina race track, and with it comes a few tributes to the track’s history.

First, this year’s Cup race will be known as the Southern 500, a name that hasn’t been used since the track lost it’s traditional Labor Day weekend race a few years back.  I’ve heard some folks are opposed to the name change, being as how the race isn’t being run in September, but I’m cool with it.  I would rather the name return in a different form, then to have it lost forever to the history books.

Second, the track has brought back the traditional red and white paint for the walls surrounding Darlington.  According to the track’s president, Chris Browning, it will be the first time since 1989 that the walls will be painted anything but white. 

Ever since I can remember watching races at Darlington, it has been one of my favorite tracks.  It is old school to it’s very core, and the history at that place is unbelievable.  You can almost feel the ghosts of racing’s past walking around when you enter the track.

On top of the history, the track challenges the drivers every lap.  Turns one and two are very different from three and four, and even with the re-pavement last year, it’s tough to get a handle on the track.  And any slight mistake behind the wheel will result in the famous “Darlington Stripe” as those walls loom large, so close to the preferred line.

Just to give you an idea of how tough a race at Darlington is for the drivers, I once heard Dale Jr. say that 500 miles at Darlington seems to take twice as long as 500 miles at other tracks.

For the pit crews it means being mentally prepared for a long night, as tires wear out quickly and the drivers will be on pit road at every opportunity for fresh rubber and adjustments.  As a tire changer, I don’t know what could be better.

Looking towards the weekend, I don’t normally do predictions and many of you probably won’t want to hear this, but you’ve got to think the favorite for both the NNS and Cup races is Kyle Busch.  His teams are on a roll, he won the Cup race at Darlington last season, and his style fits perfectly to what it takes to be fast there.  But no matter who wins, you can sure both races will be exciting and filled with action, as the “Track Too Tough To Tame” doesn’t usually disappoint.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “I Freakin’ Love Darlington”

  1. Bobby#7fan says:

    I love Darlington as well. Ever since I became a race fan it’s been one of my favorite tracks. I was very upset when Darlington lost a race to California, especially since it was one of the “historic” events like the Southern 500. Nascar said it was a matter of ticket sales, when was the last time a California race sold out? If you are going to have empty seats anyway why not give Darlington 2 races again? At least with Darlington you will have people watching it on TV.

    I really hope Kyle Busch does not win this weekend, at all. Maybe if he were not such a smug little jackass I could get behind him. I just can’t stand his attitude. My 3 year old nephew acts more mature than Kyle Busch. Kyle seems to have a sense of entitlement that just ticks me off.

  2. Neon says:

    The only way…I say “the” only way Busch can get away with the antics is that he “can” back it up with “on-track” talent. Love him or hate him, he comes to table ready to deal.
    My only regret about Kyle (to no fault of his own) is the timing of his emergence on the Cup scene. Can you just imagine the anticipation of a Darlington night race featuring Busch vs Dale “Sr.” vs The Lady in Black?

  3. Zieke says:

    Good call on Kyle to win at Darlington. In my mind it’s a no-brainer. Barring trouble, Kyle will be very good as he is a real driver. We all know who the rest are, and Darlington demands skill and talent to win there. Too bad we don’t have another race there. It is a real joke to have replaced Darl. with a Calif. race.

  4. Deuce says:

    I find it a little interesting that the complaints and comments I hear about Kyle Busch; smugness, sense of entitlement, taking wins away from an Earnhardt, are all the same gripes I used to hear about Jeff Gordon 15 years ago.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no KyBusch apologist, it is just an observation I had.
    Do you guys agree?

  5. Neon says:

    I agree Deuce. And to take it back a few, the same feelings for one Darrell Waltrip and then Dale Sr.
    So have we learned here? NASCAR and the fans, whether they like to admit it or not, love a rebel rowser over a vanilla waffer. They sell tickets and give us something to talk about.

  6. Bobby#7Fan says:

    I was originally a Dale Sr. fan when I started watching Nascar. I loved everything about him. All of the recent comparisons between Kyle Busch and Dale Sr. just infuriate me. They are nothing alike. Shrub will never be half the driver Sr. was. He may win one championship, but I’ll bet that is all. He does not have the brains or patience to race smart and stay out of trouble.

  7. Jon says:

    :) I’m glad someone else feels this way, Darlington is awesome! IMO it produced two of the most dramatic race finishes ever… in 97 when gordon won the million banging it out w/ burton on the next to last lap, and in 2003 i think it was when ricky craven and kurt busch produced THE closest finish ever.

  8. AFMSgt says:

    AMEN, TC!! I love that place! I went to my first race at Darlington – the Southern 500 in Sep 1997… what a great place!

Leave a Reply

Designed by Oyun - For Green Hosting, Free MMO and Browser Games