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State of South Carolina

South Carolina governor gives NASCAR, Darlington shout out in inauguration speech

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is admittedly a big NASCAR fan. He’s attended numerous races at one of the sport’s oldest and most revered racetracks, Darlington Raceway, a major draw in The Palmetto State, pulling in an estimated $50-plus million in tourist dollars each year.

So it’s not surprising that the Republican state leader took time during his inauguration speech Wednesday to pay tribute to NASCAR (click here to see the video excerpt, courtesy WLTX TV), saying, “NASCAR racing in Darlington, if you haven’t been, you ought to go.”

While he stopped short of telling constituents how they can buy tickets for the Sept. 2 Bojangles Southern 500 throwback weekend (this year’s race will feature the 1990-1994 era), he fondly singled out the 2003 race that featured the closest finish in NASCAR history between race winner Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch.

“It is excellence in engineering, perfection, high speed, raw courage, brute force,” McMaster said. “It is something to see. In 2003, after 400 miles with average speeds topping 125 miles per hour, including yellow flags and pit stops, Ricky Craven in a No. 32 Pontiac beat Kurt Busch in a No. 97 Ford by two one-thousandths of a second.

“In distance, that would be the thickness of the paint on the front bumper. If one of Mr. Craven’s tires had been even a little bit flat, he would have lost, he would have lost the race, he would have lost the competition.”

McMaster also used the sport as an example when it came to promoting education in the state.

“Similarly, our state will never excel and succeed to its fullest potential if parts of our state are ‘flat’ – or not performing (education-wise),” he said. “If we are bold and we prepare for the race in front of us, South Carolina will beat the competition every time.”

McMaster was elected in November. He previously had served as South Carolina’s lieutenant governor and then ascended to governor in 2016 when then-governor Nikki Haley resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for President Donald Trump.

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Joey Logano donates to flood rebuilding, domestic violence shelter

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Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano has spent the week following his Charlotte win giving back.

The Team Penske driver made two different donations this week, to the flood rebuilding efforts in South Carolina and to a domestic violence center in Martinsville, Va.

With Jordan Anderson, a Camping World Truck Series driver from Forest Acres, S.C., Logano visited Columbia, S.C., to view flood damaged areas and thank rescue workers and volunteers for their efforts.

In addition to his visit, Logano and his foundation made a $50,000 donation to flood relief efforts.

“It’s important that we continue to be aware of what people are going through in Columbia and throughout the state of South Carolina,” Logano said in a release. “Just because the floods have receded and the rivers have crested, doesn’t mean there still isn’t work left to be done. Many people are still in need of food and drinking water. Facilities vital to the city are still in need of repair. That’s why Jordan and I are here. If we can bring attention to these needs, we’re happy to do it.”

The donation is paired with another Logano made in the town that’s home to Martinsville Speedway. The Joey Logano Foundation, as part of Logano’s Chasing Second Chances program, donated $7,000 toward the installation of a new roof at the Martinsville and Henry County Domestic Violence Shelter.

The donation, which also includes 100 personal hygiene kits, comes as October is domestic violence awareness month.

“When we found Citizens Against Family Violence (the program that runs the shelter) and learned about the shelter, we knew it was a great fit,” Logano said in a release. “The Martinsville community was hit hard during the recession and when a community has unemployment numbers over 20 percent, non-profits have a hard time raising the funds they need.”

Warren Rogers, the director of the program, said the new roof would not have been possible without the help of Logano’s foundation.

“It blew my mind. It was like a gift from God,” Rogers said. “Repairs like that are not funded by our state grant and require a considerable amount of fundraising.”

To make your own donation in support of the flood relief efforts, visit Citizens Against Family Violence offers a 24 hour hotline for any victim of sexual or domestic violence. To receive help, call 276.632.8701.


South Carolina declares Aug. 31-Sept. 6 as ‘A Week Too Tough To Tame’

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For the first time since 2003, Darlington Raceway is in its traditional Labor Day weekend spot on the Sprint Cup schedule.

South Carolina is showing its appreciation for what the 66-year-old track has done for growth in the state and in the sport of auto racing.

A resolution has passed the state legislature declaring the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6,  “Darlington Raceway Week, a Week Too Tough To Tame.”

The measure was introduced by Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville and is intended to “addresses the role the track played in building the foundation of what has become one of the largest spectator sports in the country.”

The week leads up to the Sprint Cup Series’ Bojangles Southern 500, which returns to the Labor Day weekend it occupied from 1950-2003 in NASCAR’s premier series. The race will be aired on NBC.

“We can’t thank our state government, led by Senator Malloy, enough for passing this Resolution declaring August 31-September 6 as Darlington Raceway Week, a Week Too Tough To Tame in South Carolina,” Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said in a release. “Our leaders recognize the economic importance that the track and NASCAR brings to the state every year. It is an honor to host one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most prestigious events in the Palmetto State, and in turn bring a tremendous amount of economic impact to the Pee Dee area.”