Darlington Raceway: Then and Now (PHOTOS)

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Driving a Plymouth, Johnny Mantz won the inaugural Southern 500 for his only NASCAR victory in 12 starts. That day in 1950, 75 cars would start the race. Now the fields of Sprint Cup races are filled by a modest total of 43 cars.

The track has hosted 111 Sprint Cup races since 1950, with two being held each year from 1960 to 2004. Of the 13 tracks that were visited in the 1950 season for 19 races, Darlington is one of two NASCAR still visits, with the other being Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The series still raced on the beaches of Daytona and at a track that predated Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s a snapshot of Darlington and the sport it plays host to.

 

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An aerial shot of Darlington from its early days.
(Courtesy of Darlington Historical Commission)

 

source: Getty Images
A shot down the front stretch of Darlington Speedway in 1971, with an overhang covering the grandstand. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty Images)

 

NASCAR Testing - Darlington
How the grandstand looks at Darlington in 2015. The overhang is gone and a modern scoring tower tops it, adorned by the track’s “Too Tough to Tame” slogan. In 1971, about 70,000 fans attended the Southern 500. In 2015, the permanent seating capacity is 58,000.
Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

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Crew members work on the No. 66 of Dick Brooks in the Darlington garage area.
(Courtesy of Darlington Historical Commission)

 

Bojangles' Southern 500
Forty years later, the facilities are nicer and the cars are far less “stock,” but NASCAR teams still work out in the open under the watchful eyes of curious fans.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

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Richard Petty flies by the scoring table just inside a turn in Darlington’s infield in 1970.
Courtesy: Courtesy of Darlington Historical Commission

 

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The No. 98 spins out during one of the 1973 races at Darlington. Notice the exit of the turn. Instead of today’s tall catchfences that line all speedways, the only thing keeping drivers and their speeding cars from leaving the track were short walls of concrete or metal.
(Courtesy of Darlington Historical Commission)

 

Bojangles' Southern 500
Aric Almirola spins during the 2014 Bojangles’ Southern 500 in front of a painted wall with SAFER barrier and a modern catchfence.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

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Bobby Allison finishes a qualifying run for the 1972 Rebel 400. Allison, a five-time winner at Darlington, qualified second.
(Courtesy of Darlington Historical Commission)

 

Bojangles' Southern 500
Kevin Harvick takes the checkered flag to win the 2014 Bojangles’ Southern 500. Now the flag stand is much higher off the track surface and beginning in 2015, the flag person must wear a helmet for protection from flying debris.Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

Saturday Las Vegas Xfinity race: Start time, TV channel

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs get underway with the Saturday Xfinity race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The race is the first of seven to determine the champion.

Chase Briscoe is on the pole after his win last weekend at Bristol

Here is all the info for the Saturday Las Vegas Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 7:38 p.m by Cup driver Bubba Wallace. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:47 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 1 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 7:20 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:30 p.m. by Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain, Billy Mauldin. The national anthem will be performed by Mackenzie Mackey at 7:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: Coverage begins on NBCSN with Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. Race broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 7 p.m.. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the link.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for clear skies with a high of 98 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Chase Briscoe beat Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric at Bristol.

LAST RACE AT LAS VEGAS: Chase Briscoe beat Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg for the win in February.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Xfinity starting lineup

Results, point standings after Truck race at Las Vegas

race results
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Austin Hill won Friday night’s Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his second win of 2020.

He beat Sheldon Creed for the victory.

The top five was completed by Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith.

IndyCar driver Conor Daly finished 18th and Travis Pastrana was 21st.

Click here for the race results.

Point Standings

With his win, Austin Hill is the first driver to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Todd Gilliland is last in the playoff standings with 2,050 points. He is 13 points behind Ben Rhodes.

Click here for the standings.

Austin Hill wins Las Vegas Truck race

Austin Hill
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Austin Hill won Friday night’s Truck Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading the final 39 laps to score the victory.

Hill took the lead on a restart and held off charges from Sheldon Creed over the final 20 laps.

Creed’s progress was slowed with 11 laps to go when he got loose and scraped the wall in Turn 1. He was never able to get close enough to Hill to make a challenge.

Creed dominated the early portion of the race, leading 89 laps before he struggled to get going on the final restart and briefly fell to seventh.

The win is the second of the year for Hill. He’s the first playoff driver to win in the postseason and it come after he finished 25th at Bristol.

“We didn’t have the best truck tonight by no means,” Hill told FS1. “Pit crew did a hell of job on that last pit stop getting me into the position I needed to. I just had to go out there and get it. … Sheldon was definitely way faster than me. … I was probably looking in my mirror more than I was our front. I knew he was better than we were.”

The top five was completed by Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith.

More: Race results and point standings

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith all matched their best results of the season … While he was the first driver to finish one lap down, IndyCar driver Conor Daly placed 18th in his first career Truck Series start … Travis Pastrana placed 21st in his second start of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Rachael Lessard finished 20th after he had to pit early in the race following contact with the wall … Ben Rhodes finished 23rd after he spun from contact with Stewart Friesen and hit the inside wall on Lap 84 … Jordan Anderson’s engine expired on the ensuing restart. He finished 32nd.

NOTABLE: Natalie Decker, who was not medically cleared to compete Friday night, was treated and released from the infield care center.

WHAT’S NEXT: Race at Talladega Superspeedway, 1 p.m. ET Oct. 3 on FS1

 

Natalie Decker not medically cleared for Las Vegas Truck race

Natalie Decker
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NASCAR announced right before Friday night’s Truck Series race that Natalie Decker hadn’t been medically cleared to compete.

No details were provided about the issue that prevented Decker from being cleared. During the final stage of the race, NASCAR announced she had been treated and released from the infield medical center.

The Niece Motorsports driver would have started 23rd. Due to her No. 44 truck having cleared inspection and having been placed on the starting grid she was credited with a last-place finish.

Decker has made 11 starts this year. She missed the June 28 race at Pocono after she was hospitalized due to bile duct complications related to her gallbladder removal in December.

Decker provided this update Saturday morning.