Welcome to Darlington Race Day May 9, 2009Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
Tags: claire b lang, Darlington, Darlington Raceway, Diamond Hill Plywood 200, Greg Biffle, matt kenseth, NASCAR, Sirius NASCAR Radio, tony stewart, www.claireblang.com
The Southern 500 Returns in a Blaze of Glory
It’s an absolutely beautiful and sizzling hot day here. I think about the traditions of this race track and the history that made it what it is today. I think about all the true racers who never gave up on this place including the man who had the idea to build a race track here. When it comes to tenacity – the name Harold Brasington comes to mind.
A local Darlington business man, Brasington returned from the Indy 500 in 1933 and told some of his friends that he wanted to build a paved superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. His buddies likely laughed at him. Imagine your friend is sitting at the local restaurant or bar here in Darlington that many years ago and he tells you of this giantic race track plan.
There were not many paved speedways anywhere in the world let alone the tiny town of Darlington. They were still racing on the beach in Daytona when Darlington was finished
But Brasington proved to be a stubborn man. In 1949 he set out to build his dream on land that once grew peanuts and cotton and here we are today.
Today we celebrate the tradition of the Southern 500 and the fans here are wild over this event! Tony Stewart said of driving here, “It’s like driving down a bad alley.” After practice Friday the buff machine Carl Edwards said his “forearms hurt, because I was squeezing the wheel so tight,”
Matt Kennseth won the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 – and has the pole for today’s race. I told him after the race about Carl’s forearms hurting after practice from gripping the wheel. Kennseth had just battled the lady in black for one hour 47 minutes and 33 seconds. He was soaking wet and fresh from the win. He joked with me that he was in better shape than Carl –so no problem.
All of the drivers have been talking about the surface here and how much it changed since a year ago and the repaving.
Greg Biffle’s crew chief Greg Irwin is cranked up — he thinks that Biffle is so good here that we’re sure to see something spectacular from him today.
Tony Stewart has never won here. It’s one of few tracks that Stewart cannot claim yet. “I’d win on my roof and on fire here,” he said. “I’ll take it any way I can get it here.”
Dale Jr used to not like this track at all. It was so abrasive…..and not one of his favorites. “It’s my job weather I like it or not,” he said yesterday of racing here. He called the track “this is the hardest place to pass on on the circuit,” he said.
This will be a long, physical race.
I can’t wait.
Enjoy the day