Darlington Raceway will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the 30th anniversary of his 1987 Southern 500 win in a special tribute: An Evening Honoring Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The event will be held Sept. 2., the night before the Southern 500.
The event will feature a panel sharing stories about the seven-time champion. The panel will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and car owner Richard Childress.
An Evening Honoring Dale Earnhardt Sr. will take place in the driver’s meeting tent in the Cup garage from 7:30 – 9 p.m. ET, following the conclusion of the Southern 500 parade. NBC broadcaster Rick Allen will emcee the event.
Tickets are $87, which includes two beverage coupons, light hors d’oeuvres and a 1:24 scale Dale Earnhardt Jr. throwback No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS diecast. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com or calling 843-395-8802. A grandstand ticket or infield admission to Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 is required for purchase.
“We are extremely grateful to Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and Richard Childress for supporting this tribute event and sharing Dale Earnhardt Sr. stories for our fans and industry stakeholders that will be in attendance,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said in a statement. “We look forward to honoring one of NASCAR’s most popular champions and Hall of Fame members. Dale Earnhardt Sr. had a fondness for Darlington Raceway, so it’s only fitting that one of the most intimidating tracks on the circuit would host an event recognizing ‘The Intimidator.’ ”
Earnhardt won nine Cup races at Darlington, second only to David Pearson’s 10 career victories there. Earnhardt also won three Xfinity races there.
The tribute to Earnhardt is a part of Darlington Raceway’s throwback weekend, which celebrates the 1985-89 era.
The following year, Harrold Annett was a promoter of the inaugural Brad Doty Classic, a benefit race for Doty and his family, at Attica (Ohio) Raceway Park. The event has been held 28 times since.
“I’m very humbled and honored that they would do something like that,” Doty said in a press release. “I’ve never been to Darlington, just seen it on TV, but it looks like they’ll be rubbing the TMC off the quarter panel from what I’ve seen!”
But the team’s winning ways began with Geoff Bodine.
Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne will honor Bodine by using his Levi Garrett paint scheme from the 1985 season in the Sept. 3 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Kahne and his No. 5 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Great Clips.
Bodine raced for Hendrick Motorsports from 1984-89 and won seven times. Among those was his victory in the 1986 Daytona 500, which was Hendrick Motorsports’ first of eight wins in the “Great American Race.”
Kahne’s paint scheme is the third throwback scheme in Cup to be announced for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, joining Ryan Blaney’s and Brad Keselowski’s.
Bodine made his first Cup start in the 1979 Daytona 500 and his last in the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the intervening 32 years, Bodine made 575 starts and earned 18 wins. His first, in the April 1984 Martinsville race, also was the first Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports.
Rookie Cole Custer will honor the memory and career of Sam Ard with a special paint scheme in the Sept. 2 Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.
Custer and Stewart-Haas Racing revealed the paint scheme Wednesday at Darlington.
A two-time Xfinity Series champion in 1983 and 1984, Ard passed away on April 2 at the age of 84. Custer, 19, drives the No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. Ard drove the No. 00 in all 92 of his Xfinity Series starts.
In those 92 starts in what was then the NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, Ard won 22 races and earned 67 top-fives, 79 top 10s and 24 poles.
Custer’s car will have the colors and lettering of Ard’s No. 00 Oldsmobile Omega that now sits on “Glory Road” in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ard’s name will also be on the roof of the car.
“The 00 number has been a part of my entire NASCAR career, and over the years I’ve gotten to know its history and met some of the people who worked with Sam and saw him race,” Custer said in a press release. “The more I learn about Sam and all that he accomplished, the more impressive it becomes. I feel like I’m driving his car, and I want to make him and his family proud. Guys like Sam Ard helped shape the sport into what it is today. Without him, I don’t know if the opportunity to drive racecars for a living would exist. I’m grateful for it and I’d like him and his family to know it.”
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Ard was was born in Pamplico, South Carolina, roughly 45 minutes southeast of Darlington. Ard worked on aircraft at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina, during the Vietnam War.
Ard made four starts at Darlington and never finished worse than sixth.
Darlington Raceway has begun to release some of the paint schemes that will be featured during the upcoming Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend.
It will mark the third “throwback weekend” at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track since it debuted in 2015.
This year’s era that will be featured for the throwback weekend at the Track Too Tough To Tame is 1985 to 1989, but cars slightly outside that range will also be included.
One outstanding paint scheme that the track revealed on Monday is Brad Keselowski‘s car, a homage to NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace’s Midnight scheme from 1992-1994, one of the sport’s most popular paint packages ever seen on a race car.
There are more schemes to come in the next few weeks, but this one should certainly bring back fond memories for Wallace fans: