Monday, 14 September 2015

BoJangles Southern 500 at Darlington

Labor Day weekend we headed to Darlington, South Carolina for the NASCAR race.  This is the only race of the top tier to take place in South Carolina.  The track has 2 nicknames, 'The Lady in Black', and 'Too tough to tame'.  This was the first time in 12 years that the race had been held on Labor Day weekend.  In celebration, the organizers decided to go with a throw back scheme. 

This is an evening race, with the green flag being waved at 7.20.  We got there about 4, after battling the traffic, and trying to park as near as we could.  We did our own mini version of tailgating....

....Then headed down to the track.  It was only about a 15 minute walk, and we passed loads of R.V parking.

It wasn't super busy yet, but there were still plenty of crowds.  It was also pretty warm, but cloudy, which helped bring the temperature down.  

We headed into the pre race area.  Outside NASCAR tracks before races are loads of displays and chances for them to take your money  to purchase items and get involved.  I found one of the cars of my favorite driver i was supporting that night, the 22 of Joey Logano

The car above is his Sprint Cup car, and the one below in the Xfinity Series car.  This car is not always driven by Logano.

I love looking round the pre race area, you never know what you will see.  Not his occasion we were fortunate enough to get our photo taken with Ryan Blaney, an Xfinity series driver.

The kids love seeing all the different cars and NASCAR specialties in this area.

We headed in to the raceway itself to get our seats.  We certainly did well with them.  The people sitting around us were very pleasant, and there was a lovely atmosphere as we warmed up for the pre race ceremonies.  The majority of the cars were running throw back schemes, they looked awesome! 

Before each race, the drivers are introduced, and do a lap of the track in the back of a truck.  We then have an invocation, the national anthem, normally some planes, and some one of significance says 'Drivers Start your engines'

After this, the drivers roll out of pit lane, passing their pit crews.

They do a couple of laps behind the safety car, before that rolls on to pit road, they wave the green flag and the racing begins.

As I said, pretty good seats.  This is an awesome track.  Its a medium sized track, which is known for being quite hill-billy.  We didn't really see much of that.  There were quite a few cautions though, which really delayed the race.

Under caution, drivers typically make a pit stop, depending on their requirements and pit strategy.  The record at Darlington was 17 cautions.  This was broken that night.

We only had to step out once, because of the cautions, the intensity wasn't quite there.  

Our kids did so well.  But by 10pm, Sebastian was asleep on me, and Isaac was looking like he wanted to sleep too.  Oliver would have made it the whole race.  We decided to call it a night.  There was still over 150 laps to go, but these boys needed their beds.  We headed back to the car, and listened to the race on the way home.  Because we left early, we did manage to miss the traffic.  Still didn't get home till nearly 1.30am.....

Carl Edwards won the race, coming from 2 laps down to beat Brad Keselowski.

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