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If trying to find a NASCAR ride is like dating, then Regan Smith has been rejected, kicked to the curb and had his heart broken enough times to say, 'The heck with this – I'm going to become a monk.'
Somehow, though, he persevered. Smith kept knocking on doors and sending love letters to teams, asking for a chance. And, on Saturday night, his first NASCAR Victory Lane date came from an unlikely source: The 'Lady in Black.'
Smith's road to Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway has been frustrating and long, often with little light at the end of the tunnel. That he even got there at all after numerous setbacks is nothing short of incredible. He's had only a tenuous hold on every ride in his career, and more than once had his job yanked out from under him.
They say NASCAR is a sport of highs and lows, but forgive Smith if he was left wondering when exactly he'd stop falling off a cliff after climbing an ant hill.
It all started with his very first Cup opportunity when, in 2007, Smith was Mark Martin's young protegé at Ginn Racing. The veteran Martin and youngster Smith split the No. 01 car (the Army-sponsored ride that almost won the Daytona 500 that year) and when Sterling Marlin was booted from the Waste Management car that June, the team told Smith he would have a full-time ride starting the following week.
This whole moving-up-the-ladder business was easy. Life was good.
But then, before Smith even made his first start in the new "full-time" ride, Ginn suddenly merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. The points from Smith's car were assigned to Paul Menard, and the DEI bosses put Aric Almirola with Martin –which left Smith out in the cold.
It was a cruel turn of events. Smith had gone from being told he was promoted to a full-time Cup ride to being jobless – all within the span of a week.
A couple months later, though, things began to look up again. DEI signed Smith to a full-time ride for the following season, allowing him to race the 2008 season for Rookie of the Year honors.
But from the mid-point of the season, it was clear Smith's team was doomed. There was no sponsorship for the following year, and Smith was going to be out of a job again.
Suddenly, Smith put forth a great drive at Talladega Superspeedway that October and crossed the finish line in first place. It was perhaps going to be a job-saving move; maybe the team could suddenly get sponsorship after a dramatic win.
NASCAR, though, deemed Smith's last-second pass to be illegal. Not only was the win awarded to Tony Stewart instead, but the penalty dropped Smith to 18th place – denying him of his first career top-10 finish.
Incredibly, Smith never finished in the top 10 "officially" until this season; his first top-five ever was on Saturday night. And, quite frankly, there were no guarantees Smith would someday find redemption and get to Victory Lane for real.
So how did he end up doing burnouts at the track "Too Tough To Tame?"
After Smith's DEI ride went away, he accepted a part-time Sprint Cup job with Furniture Row Racing – a half-season deal in 2009. He hoped the Colorado-based team would return to a full schedule eventually, but that was no sure thing based on the trend of NASCAR teams cutting back their number of race dates.
Fortunately for Smith, he only had to wait a year. The team ran full-time in 2010, and Smith knew he finally had an opportunity to show what he could do.
But the team was without much success; Smith had only four top-15 finishes all season, and he privately wondered whether Furniture Row would fire him.
It didn't. Furniture Row stuck with Smith, and Smith stuck with Furniture Row. The driver showed more potential than ever this season – his qualifying average was the best in NASCAR heading into Darlington – and that potential finally turned into a sweet, euphoric, long-awaited win on Saturday night.
Now, no matter what other setbacks may await Smith in his career – and with his luck, you never know – the 27-year-old's perseverance and determination to succeed in NASCAR has resulted in at least one thing: Smith's face is on the Southern 500 trophy.
Related: Check out Regan Smith's SBNation.com driver diary
Carl Edwards used his second-place finish at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night to extend his lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Following the Southern 500, the Roush Fenway Racing driver is now ahead of Jimmie Johnson by 23 points.
There were no changes among the top five in the point standings, but there were a few big gains and losses elsewhere in the standings.
Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray each gained three spots after their solid evenings. The news wasn't as good for Jeff Burton and Joey Logano, who lost four spots apiece.
(Note: If you're looking for the Darlington race results, click the red link.)
Here are the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings following the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway:
Following a pit-road commitment line violation that doomed his chances of a top-10 finish at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night, Dale Earnhardt Jr. called a team meeting to apologize to his crew for his 14th-place finish.
"It sucks pretty bad," said Earnhardt Jr., who was running sixth at the time he attempted to pit. "We had good speed and we worked really hard to get into the top 10. We made a mistake on pit road last week, and this week the driver screwed it up. That's just the way it goes."
Earnhardt Jr. was heading to pit road for the final stop when he came in too hot and knocked the pit road commitment cone onto the track.
Since he wasn't all the way inside the cone, he had to serve a painful pass-through penalty under the green flag. He fell one lap down and dropped to 21st as a result.
Later, he got the free pass and was able to rally for a few spots, but he was still disappointed.
"I'm going to talk to the guys and see if I can't apologize to 'em and tell 'em how much I appreciate the car," he said. "I won't beat myself up too bad, I guess."
Earnhardt Jr. said the car had speed, but was "so, soooo hard to drive, man."
"We maintained track position just by being as good as the guys around us," he said. "I don't know what we're missing...but we just lacked a little bit.
"We would have finished solidly inside the top 10, and I gave up about eight spots today making my mistake. I'll try not to make it again when we come back."
Earnhardt Jr. remained fourth in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, 47 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
In the aftermath of Regan Smith's stunning victory at Darlington Raceway, it was Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who attracted the immediate attention from the NASCAR media.
Harvick, upset at Busch for what he deemed was an intentional wreck late in the race, tried to attack Busch on pit road following the race.
But as Harvick leaned in to punch Busch, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver hit the gas and shoved Harvick's unmanned car out of the way, sending it crashing head-first into the pit road wall.
Busch then roared into the garage and climbed from his car as angry No. 29 team members tried to get at him. The RCR crewmen pointed fingers and screamed at Busch as he ducked into the No. 18 hauler.
"There's people fuckin' walkin' down pit road, and he fuckin' run a car into the wall!" one livid Richard Childress Racing crewman yelled at the Joe Gibbs Racing crewmen who were guarding the path to the hauler.
"Everything's good! We're all friends here, OK?" a Joe Gibbs Racing crew member yelled back. "It's not our fight! It's not our fight! It's between them!"
Suddenly, Harvick showed up.
Without saying a word or changing his facial expression, Harvick brushed off the pleas from those in his inner circle to let it go and calm down, and walked with purpose toward Busch's hauler.
Harvick seemed intent on going into the No. 18 hauler, but two NASCAR officials blocked the entrance. Inside, JGR personnel scrambled in case of an invasion.
The RCR driver eventually realized he wasn't going to make it inside, and he turned and walked toward the NASCAR hauler on the other side of the garage – summoned by officials, as was Busch.
Busch took a few minutes to get dressed, then came out and did one pleasant-sounding interview with FOX.
"Clint (Bowyer) wrecked bouncing off Harvick," Busch said. "It was just uncalled for. Unacceptable racing."
He was referring to Harvick, who Busch said bumped the No. 18 car. Busch didn't mention the instance where he appeared to blatantly hook Harvick on the frontstretch after the caution came out.
Nor did Busch mention turning Harvick's car into the pit road wall as Harvick tried to lean in and punch Busch while the No. 18 was sitting at the entrance to pit road.
Busch then walked off in the direction of the NASCAR hauler, where he went inside to meet with Harvick and NASCAR officials over the post-race altercation.
When Harvick emerged into the throng of waiting media after a few minutes, Busch went out the other door and disappeared into the night.
Harvick, with a tight smile on his face, said "things happen."
What happened inside the NASCAR hauler?
"I don't have anything really to tell you other than, 'Not much,'" Harvick said.
Did Harvick expect any penalties?
"I have no idea," he said. "...I don't have any answers for you."
No one else had much to say, either.
Team owner Richard Childress said, "Things have a way of working out, and we'll just see where it goes from here." JGR President J.D. Gibbs said he didn't have any information on the meeting or a possible penalty, either.
"I didn't see it," he said. "I wasn't a part of the conversation inside (the hauler). I don't have a whole lot of information."
NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp offered few details about the hauler chat.
"It was a discussion where they both aired, both voiced their opinions," Tharp said. "For them to be able to do that after the race is a good thing. And for us to be able to go back Monday or Tuesday and look at it again (for possible penalties) is also a good thing."
Tharp added that NASCAR was specifically concerned with what happened between the two drivers after the race – not the on-track action.
It's likely that this issue isn't over – both in terms of the feud between the drivers and with NASCAR having its say on a potential penalty before Dover next week.
UPDATE (1:56 a.m.): Busch says he lost reverse gear and went forward to avoid what "wasn't going to be a good situation."
"My choices were limited," he said. "I was either going to get punched in the face and then wait for Harvick to get back in his car for me to go or just drive through his car and push it out of the way so I could get out of there and not try to get hit.
"I just made a judgment call there and it wasn't one of the best choices that I had. ... I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business."
Regan Smith stunned the NASCAR world late Saturday night, pulling off a wild Southern 500 upset as tempers flared at Darlington Raceway.
Smith didn't take any tires when most teams did, and was able to maintain his lead through the final two restarts. On the green-white-checkered, Smith shot out to the lead by the backstretch, with Carl Edwards in tow.
Edwards was stalking as the white flag waved. Smith bobbled down the backstretch on the final lap, tapping the wall but recovering to keep the lead. And as they came to the wire, Smith was able to hang on, taking the win at Darlington in the Southern 500.
Following the race, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick got into it at the entrance to pit road as both circled each other on the track before parking on pit road. Harvick got out of his car and went after Busch, punching through his window net as Busch drove off. At the same time, Harvick's car took off on its own – with a bump from Busch – making a turn and slamming into the wall on pit road. To say it was surreal would be an understatement.
Stay tuned for more post-Southern 500 coverage.
Full results from the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway are as follows:
This is going to be a long, crazy night. So stretch out your fingers and get ready – there's going to be plenty of time to chat.
The Southern 500 is a grueling, marathon event – where drivers race the track as much as each other.
Who's your pick? We've got Denny Hamlin tonight.
Start your chatting below (and make sure the "auto-refresh" box is checked so you can see the latest comments from other fans).
It's NASCAR race night at Darlington Raceway, and we've got the actual race start time, the starting lineup and some other facts about the Showtime Southern 500 for you below.
Start time: The command to start engines will be given by a group of NASCAR driver moms at 7:37 Eastern time. (The driver moms aren't technically the grand marshals, though – that honor goes to Showtime's Inside NASCAR stars Michael Waltrip and Brad Daugherty). After a few pace laps, honorary starter Randy Pemberton (another name from Inside NASCAR) will wave the green flag at precisely 7:45 p.m. Eastern. So if you want to skip the pre-race show and just tune in for the actual race, flip your TV on at 7:45.
Race name/distance: The Showtime Southern 500 is one of NASCAR's great names, but some would argue it's not the same now that the date is on Mother's Day Weekend instead of the traditional Labor Day Weekend. Still, it's a prestigious race to win – and a grueling one at that. The Southern 500 is 367 laps and 501.3 miles.
TV and radio: As for all of the races through May, FOX is televising the Darlington race. The radio broadcast can be found on your local Motor Racing Network (MRN) affiliate. Click here to see a list of MRN stations where you can listen.
National anthem: You know the first pre-race ceremony since the death of Osama bin Laden is going to be inspiring and patriotic – and who better to perform the national anthem than someone from the military? Sgt. John Norman from Pope Air Force Base is doing the honors tonight.
Tickets: There are still tickets available for the Southern 500 if you're thinking of making a last-minute trip to Darlington.
Last time: Denny Hamlin completed his sweep of the 2010 Southern 500 weekend with a dominant victory, leading 104 laps to become the first driver in 17 years to win both the Nationwide and Cup race in the same weekend at the track "Too Tough To Tame."
Starting lineup for tonight's Southern 500 NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway:
Kasey Kahne won the pole for Saturday night's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, breaking Jamie McMurray's year-old track record in the process.
Kahne, who went to Victory Lane in Darlington's Truck race in March, became the new track record holder with an average speed of 181.254 mph during his lap. He was more than a tenth of a second faster than Ryan Newman, who will start on the outside pole.
"Felt really good, to tell you the truth," Kahne radioed to his team immediately after the lap. "Felt really good."
The pole was the 21st of Kahne's Sprint Cup career and fourth at Darlington. Newman, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.
Gordon was on the provisional pole for awhile, and noted that driving around Turns 1 and 2 wide open in qualifying at Darlington is "an experience of a lifetime."
Marcos Ambrose, AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.
There were a couple incidents during the go-or-go-home portion qualifying session: Scott Riggs blew a motor and Andy Lally scraped the wall, earning a big Darlington stripe.
Not surprisingly, those incidents caused their drivers to miss the race. Riggs and Lally both went home, along with Brian Keselowski.
Here is the starting lineup for the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington:
As it turns out, Kurt Busch's explosive tirade on the team radio at Richmond last week did not fall on deaf ears.
Busch, who radioed that his team's performance made the Penske Racing cars "look like a monkey fucking a football," got some of the changes he wanted heading into Darlington and the Southern 500.
The driver of the No. 22 car said Friday that the team's communication has improved and said he has four engineers with him at the track this week who usually stay behind at the shop.
He wouldn't go into specifics about any other moves, though.
"It's been a productive week," he said. "There's been a lot of movement behind the scenes. ... Restructuring, moving some things around and getting a general idea of what the actual issues are. Instead of just talking about it, we're reacting to it."
Busch said his performance had been satisfactory one year ago, when he won the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, sweeping the Charlotte Speedweeks.
But when the team introduced a new chassis design in the late summer, Busch said things went sour. He tried to raise the issue several times – and in several different ways – but his contention that Penske "missed it" with the chassis didn't result in any changes.
Apparently, he blamed Penske Racing technical director Tom German for being hardheaded about the issue – a point he made clear in his Richmond rant.
"We're two laps down, our day is done," he said, according to motorsports writer Jay Pennell. "I'm sorry, our day was done when Tom German decided he was in charge."
Friday, Busch acknowledged that "it wasn't the best forum" to air his concerns publicly, but said he'd "seen things deteriorate – and I've held it in."
"Crossing the line and singling one person out? Well, he's the one person that's got us in this position," Busch said. "It's up to all of us to make sure we're better at the end of the day."
Another issue, Busch added, is Brad Keselowski's team isn't performing all that well. Busch said he needs the No. 2 car to improve so the drivers can help push one another.
"Brad hasn't beaten me all that much at Penske," Busch said. "I didn't get beat much by (David) Stremme. I didn't get beat much by Sam (Hornish Jr.). The last time I felt (there was) an equivalent was when (Ryan) Newman was there, and that was in '07."
But Busch ended on an optimistic note, saying he felt the communication within the team would now get better and that issues are "not just being pushed under a rug now."
Plus, the season is not lost. Despite everything, the team is still sixth in points – a fact Busch attributed to circumstance.
"The reason we're up there in points is because our worst finish of the year is 22nd," he said. "I've managed to dodge wrecks, bounce off walls, have bad pit stops or miss the setup, and still come away with what we call a salvageable finish."
Carl Edwards and his wife, Kate, became parents for the second time as they welcomed baby boy Michael Edwards on Wednesday afternoon.
Michael weighed in at eight pounds, six ounces and is healthy, the proud papa said Friday at Darlington Raceway.
"He's doing great, so it's just a great week," Edwards said. "It was unreal. We had a lot of fun. (Daughter) Annie is really excited about her little brother. I don't think she quite understands what is going on, but we're all doing really well."
Annie, the couple's first child, is 14 months old. Edwards said his wife was "an amazing woman."
"She's a great mom and I hope she enjoys this Mother's Day," he said.
Edwards, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing, is currently the Sprint Cup Series points leader. He enters Darlington looking for his first victory at the track nicknamed "Too Tough To Tame" after finishing second there in 2008.
Ryan Newman says an innocent racing incident at Richmond drew unnecessary retaliation from hot-headed Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya says he was tired of Newman wrecking him on purpose.
While their opinions on what happened last week at Richmond differ, they agree on one thing: They're both still mad about it.
The drivers' interview sessions with the media at Darlington Raceway were separated by 30 minutes on Friday, but their comments about the other person sounded similar.
"Unacceptable," Newman said.
"I didn't think I was being treated fair," Montoya said.
"Disrespectful," Newman said.
"I did what I had to do," Montoya said.
"I'm still not happy about it," Newman said.
Though the drivers eventually met in the NASCAR hauler prior to Friday's Sprint Cup practice, the issue may not get resolved anytime soon. (UPDATE: FoxSports.com's Lee Spencer that Newman hit Montoya during the meeting)
"I don't think once you have an issue that you've ever over it with someone else," Newman said. "Even if you think you're over it, it can re-flare really quick."
Montoya said he was treating things at Darlington as "business as usual," but also said "it gets to the point where too much is too much, and I felt like it had to stop."
Newman was perplexed, because he insisted it was unintentional and said Montoya ruined both of their nights for no reason.
"The way it worked out, it cost us a lot for what we didn't do," he said. "Getting caught up in a racing situation that turns into something else because of somebody's temper is unacceptable in my eyes. We'll move on."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat at home and thought about racing at Darlington all week long – and not because it's one of his favorite tracks.
Mostly, Earnhardt Jr. thought about Darlington because he was eager to forget his disappointing 19th-place result last week at Richmond.
"It was hard to get over what happened last week," Earnhardt Jr. said Friday. "It bothered me all week long, and I just couldn't wait to get to the racetrack to do something good and turn it around. We were on such a good (roll) there throughout the first part of the year. That kind of a deal (at Richmond) just really gets to you. You wanna get to the track and get it back like you were."
"I think I should have been frustrated," he said. "I know Steve was frustrated and the guys were disappointed. That's the way you're going to feel when you don't maximize your potential and you don't do as well as you can. We should have done better.
"We had a pretty good opportunity to do better, and we didn't."
Immediately after the race, Earnhardt Jr. met with Letarte and the two talked it out. By the time they left the track that night, Earnhardt Jr. said, the driver and crew chief were on the same page.
"I thought that was good," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I was upset how we finished. He took a lot of responsibility, but we're a team and we race together. I believe in his decision at the time we made it, and I'd do the same thing again if he told me to stay out. ... We believe in each other. It shouldn't hold us back, as far as how that all went down."
As for Darlington, Earnhardt Jr. has had mixed success and said, "I don't really know what my track record is here."
"Steve says they were real good last year, so I'm looking forward to getting in the car and practicing," he said.
As you know, it's Mother's Day Weekend (well, at least we hope you knew that...if not, run to the Hallmark store NOW!) – and that means it's Southern 500 Weekend at Darlington Raceway.
The Southern 500 used to mean Labor Day Weekend, of course. But times have changed – the track also used to have two races per season – and the "Lady In Black" now gets her moment under the lights on the Saturday night before Mother's Day every year.
Here's the NASCAR schedule for the 2011 Darlington Raceway weekend (all times Eastern):
8:30 a.m. – Nationwide Series final practice (2 hours, 30 minutes)
11:30 a.m. – Sprint Cup Series practice (2 hours)
2:15 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series final practice (45 minutes)
3:35 p.m. – Nationwide Series qualifying
5:10 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series qualifying
7:30 p.m. – Nationwide Series race (147 laps, 200.8 miles ... Television: ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series race (367 laps, 501.3 miles ... Television: FOX)
Apparently, Martin Truex Jr. was actually serious about firing his pit crew.
Truex will have new front and rear tire changers/carriers when his No. 56 team shows up at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night after what must have been the last straw in a series of mistakes this season.
Several times, Truex has been thwarted by loose wheels this year. And when it happened late in the race at Richmond, Truex lost his cool and screamed on the radio, "You're all fucking fired! Every goddamn one of ya!"
Looking back now, Truex said, "It was hard not to say anything when our night ended the way it did."
"NASCAR is an emotional sport," he said in a team release. "We go from taking the lead and me screaming, 'Hell yea!' on the radio to having a loose wheel and going several laps down. I got pretty upset."
Truex said drivers pour their entire lives into NASCAR and there's pressure on every member of a race team. To that end, he said, "If a job is not getting done, then a change needs to be made."
That's why he'll have four different guys on his pit crew this week.
"As we know, the No. 56 has experienced several challenges on pit road and we feel the need to intervene," Michael Waltrip Racing competition director Steve Hallam said. "Pit crews are professional sportsmen and as such, they understand that sometimes changes need to be made."
Two of Truex's new crewmen are from MWR's Nationwide program; two are from the team's back-up squad.
Truex said he appreciated that MWR addressed the issue.
"I want to win more than anything in this world, and that's why I got very upset," he said.
Denny Hamlin was starting to fall apart on the golf course Monday during a Pro-Am in advance of this weekend's Wells Fargo Championship.
After chipping past one of the greens at the gorgeous Quail Hollow Club, Hamlin slammed his pitching wedge into the ground in frustration.
Nearby, a young girl from the small gallery who followed Hamlin saw the NASCAR driver's reaction to his shot and wasn't impressed.
"Oh, Daddy!" she said to her father. "He's giving up!"
Hamlin heard the girl and laughed. She was right – in the moment, he was getting down on himself. But he regained his composure on some later holes and finished strong.
In other words, it's exactly what he hopes to do with this NASCAR season.
"Even my friends were saying while we had that bad stretch on the back nine: 'The holes are done. Just par the last two.' And we did," Hamlin said. "So you've just got to put out the bad stuff. Every time I go to Richmond or Martinsville, it makes no difference what I did the week before (or) the month before – when I go there, I know I can win."
Despite sitting 17th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings, Hamlin is hoping his second-place finish at Richmond last weekend will give him the needed confidence boost to turn his season around.
As he put it, the No. 11 team "needs to par" every race until the Chase cutoff to make it into the top 10. And that's very doable, he said.
"I still just feel like there's so much time left and there's so much potential for us, I'm confident we can go out and win every week," he said. "If all I knew we had was a 15th-place car every week and we had to finish there to make the Chase, I'd be sweating it. But I know we've got a team that can win any given week."
If there's any place where Hamlin can maintain his newfound momentum, it's Darlington Raceway – a place he considers one of his best tracks.
The stats back that up, too. Hamlin is the defending Southern 500 champion and has an average finish of 6.6 at Darlington. Amazingly, that's equal to his average finish at Martinsville – where he's known as a master.
In fact, Hamlin has the best average finish at Darlington of any driver in NASCAR.
"I love the place," he said. "There's something about the challenge of that racetrack that I just gravitate to. It's no different than playing golf. It's so hard that I like trying it. ... I like challenges, and Darlington is the biggest challenge on the circuit."
The driver is also picking up steam in his golf game. Though he writes right-handed, he plays golf as a lefty – and is getting fairly good at it. He broke 90 in his Pro-Am round on Monday afternoon and said his goal is to be consistently in the mid-80s by the summer.
And despite a handful of curious NASCAR reporters scrutinizing his swing, Hamlin said he wasn't nervous about his round at Quail Hollow.
"I'm playing with house money – what have I got to lose out here?" he asked, then added: "Other than my dignity?"
Below: Check out a video of Hamlin – a lefty – using a right-handed driver off the tee on his 18th hole of the day. Hamlin said PGA star Bubba Watson taught him to hit the driver reverse.
Watching the celebrations in Washington, New York and pretty much every college campus around the country on Sunday night was cool, but it would have been much cooler to actually be there.
The death of Osama bin Laden will go down as one of the most historic moments of our lifetime, and the wave of patriotism sweeping the country this week will undoubtedly recall memories of the post-9/11 feeling of togetherness.
That said, I can't wait for the pre-race ceremonies at Darlington Raceway before Saturday night's Southern 500. I'm sure I'll have goosebumps just from hearing the fans react to the moment.
Darlington says Sgt. John Norman from Pope Air Force Base will be singing the national anthem. Can you imagine how fired up the fans will be throughout the anthem and the flyover?
And on top of that, Darlington offered a half-price ticket to military members this year. When a ticket was purchased, the track also sent along a camouflage Darlington Raceway T-shirt.
The track is asking the military personnel who bought the tickets to wear their T-shirts to the race on Saturday night, and they'll be asked to stand for recognition during the pre-race ceremonies.
The atmosphere is going to be electric. In general, NASCAR fans are already some of the most patriotic people anywhere, and this will only add to the emotions.
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