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Cale Yarborough named honorary pace car driver at Darlington
RELATED: See all the paint schemes " Vote for your favorite DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Cale Yarborough once again will be driving on the legendary high banks of Darlington Raceway . On Sunday, Sept. 4, Yarborough, a South Carolina native and NASCAR Hall of Famer, will pace the field as the honorary pace car driver for the 67th running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 . "This is quite an honor and I'm really looking forward to being the honorary pace car driver for the Bojangles' Southern 500 ," Yarborough said. "The Southern 500 is the reason I got into racing. When I saw my first one, I knew that's what I wanted to do. Darlington is a tough, ol' race track that can give you fits. When I was racing, I wanted to win the Southern 500 more than any other race. I still get goose bumps when I drive by the race track. I just may have to run a few laps and show those young folks how it's done." Yarborough has five career wins at his hometown track, all coming in the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend (1968, 1973, 1974, 1978 and 1982). Yarborough won three consecutive NASCAR premier series championships from 1976-78. He also won four Daytona 500 races and posted 83 career NASCAR Cup Series victories with 69 career pole awards. Yarborough also will be honored by Darlington Raceway with a special ceremony during the Bojangles' Southern 500 race weekend for his contributions to the sport . Additionally, he will participate in the Bojangles' Legends Breakfast Sunday morning (Sept. 4), along with other NASCAR Hall of Fame members. He was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016 (6 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90). The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90). You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame . Fans are encouraged to post their Bojangles’ Southern 500 stories and memories at #TraditionContinues, #BojanglesSo500 and #SportClips200. Darlington Raceway has been recognized by the following: • 2016 SportsBusiness Journal “Sports Event of the Year” Nominee • 2015 NMPA Myers Brothers Award • 2015 NASCAR Marketing Team of the Year • 2015 NASCAR Track PR Representative of the Year (Dennis Worden) • 2015 Community Pride Award (presented by the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce) &lt;/p&gt;
Trio of NASCAR Hall of Famers named Darlington grand marshals
Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin , all of whom will be inducted into the 2017 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will serve as Grand Marshals for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 4. All three will give the command to start engines accompanied by Bojangles' CEO Clifton Rutledge. Childress, Hendrick and Martin's involvement in the Bojangles' Southern 500 further enhances the track's throwback platform of celebrating the history and heritage of the sport . Childress and Hendrick are two of the most successful owners in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. " Darlington Raceway is one of my favorite racetracks. I remember going there when I was very young and seeing some of my heroes race there," Childress said. "Now, it's really neat to say that I'm going to be the grand marshal for the race, and I couldn't think of two better people to do it alongside of than Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick. The race weekend is already special enough with the 'throwback' theme, but this will make it that much more special." Childress and his team, Richard Childress Racing , have posted 105 NSCS wins since he founded the team in 1969. His team has recorded 472 top-five NSCS finishes and won 12 national series championships, which is second all-time in the sport's history. RCR is the first organization to win championships in all three of NASCAR's national series. Much of his success came with driver Dale Earnhardt, who won 67 career Cup races for RCR, including eight victories at Darlington Raceway . Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles -- six with Jimmie Johnson , four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte . Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, which is most in NASCAR history. His drivers have won 242 NSCS races with 1,000 top-five finishes. He has 14 NASCAR Cup wins at Darlington Raceway , including seven with Gordon. Johnson's victory at Darlington in 2012 gave Hendrick his 200th career NSCS win in the sport . "Darlington is very special to me, and I'm so grateful to the track for this honor," Hendrick said. "It’s still sinking in that I'm a part of such an incredible Hall of Fame class. Richard and Mark are great friends and competitors, and it means a lot to share these experiences with them." In a 31-year career, Martin won 40 career NASCAR Cup races, including the 1993 and 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . He also won eight NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Darlington, which is still the most in series history. "It is my honor to be co-grand marshal for the Bojangles' Southern 500 with two of my heroes," said Martin. "Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick are two of my favorite people in racing. I'm also looking forward to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with them, along with Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks in January." Rutledge, who has served as Bojangles' CEO for the past three years, will say the command alongside three of the sports legends. Rutledge gave the command with 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte before last year's Bojangles' Southern 500 . "I am blessed to represent Bojangles' and give the command to start the Bojangles' Southern 500 alongside three legends of the sport , Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin ," Rutledge said. "Bojangles' is proud to be the entitlement partner of the Southern 500, a partnership we've enjoyed since 2012." The Famous Chicken 'n' Biscuits restaurant chain has more than 680 locations throughout the Southeast. Bojangles' has the naming rights to the Southern 500 through the 2019 season. The NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies will take place in January of 2017 in Charlotte, N.C. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Tickets are still available for all events.
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 starting lineup
See the complete starting lineup for the Darlington Nationwide Series race
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 entry list
The Nationwide Series makes its seventh stop of the season at Darlington
Sadler goes for a spin at Darlington
Elliott Sadler makes a great save at Darlington Raceway during the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200
Ryan Reed's Darlington scheme honors Allison
RELATED: See the Sprint Cup Series throwback schemes CONCORD, N.C. -- Ryan Reed and Roush Fenway Racing today unveiled the throwback paint scheme that the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang will carry this September in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Darlington Raceway . The No. 16 Ford Mustang will feature a design similar to the No. 16 driven by Bobby Allison in 1975, on his way to three victories, including one at Darlington Raceway . "Bobby Allison is a true icon in this sport ," said team co-owner Jack Roush. "I'm beyond honored to have one of our cars carry a paint scheme that Bobby ran. I look forward to making him proud at Darlington Raceway later this season." In a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career that spanned 25 years, Allison, the 1983 NSCS champion, earned 84 victories, 58 poles and 335 top-five finishes. In addition, Allison led more than 27,000 laps in NSCS competition. For his success, Allison was nominated to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. "I can't wait for Darlington this year," said Allison. "It will bring back a lot of memories seeing that car out on the race track. I'm just so happy to be a part of this throwback weekend, and I wish Ryan and his Roush Fenway team luck heading into Darlington." Reed and Allison were at Roush Fenway on Monday to make the announcement, along with Sam Bass, who helped create the throwback adaptation of Allison's 1975 scheme. Like Reed, Bass lives with type 1 diabetes and has been a part of the Drive to Stop Diabetes program since its inception in 2013. Bass, the first officially-licensed NASCAR artist, will also play a special role for the team at Darlington Raceway . After inspection is complete on Friday of the race weekend, Bass will paint the Lilly Diabetes 140th Anniversary logo on the decklid of Reed's No. 16 Ford. "I've been honored to do some pretty amazing things during my time in NASCAR, but painting a logo "Old School" on a racecar at the track is new for me," said Bass. "What Ryan and his team are doing in the diabetes community is really special to me and I'm honored to be included with two things I'm so passionate about -- NASCAR history and diabetes awareness." Through the first 14 races of the NXS season, Reed has eight top-15 finishes and has led eight laps. He currently ranks 10th in the NXS point standings. In two starts at Darlington Raceway , Reed's best finish is 13th. "This is a really special paint scheme to me for a variety of reasons," said Reed. "First off, it's awesome to honor Bobby Allison -- someone who's done so much for NASCAR. But it's also special to have Sam [Bass] as a part of the program. I'm glad they have him painting the decklid, and not me." Catch complete coverage of the unveil on NBC's NASCAR America tonight, Monday June 20 at 6 p.m. ET. Darlington Raceway 's award-winning throwback event celebrates the history and heritage of NASCAR racing at one of the sport's most iconic tracks. The campaign focuses on specific eras, plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at the track Too Tough to Tame . The Tradition Continues throwback celebration will take place on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 is set for Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, airing on NBC.
Kyle Busch, Logano lead XFINITY practices
Practice 2 recap " Results Joey Logano led the final XFINITY Series practice at Darlington Raceway on Friday, posting a top speed of 166.676 mph on Lap 2 of 28. The Team Penske driver was fourth-fastest in the series' opening practice earlier in the day. Kyle Busch , who was fastest in the first XFINITY Series practice at Darlington, came in second-fastest behind Logano (166.642 mph). Ty Dillon (165.643 mph), Kyle Larson (164.556 mph) and Daniel Suarez (164.457 mph) rounded out the top-five fastest on the practice leaderboard. Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the final race in the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program and Suarez, Dillon, Brian Scott and Chase Elliott will compete for the final $100,000 cash prize. Elliott was ninth-fastest while Scott was 11th-fastest in Friday's final practice. Practice 1 recap " Results Kyle Busch led opening practice for Saturday's XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver completed his fastest time on Lap 2 of 19 at a speed of 167.379 mph. Closing in on Busch was JGR teammate Denny Hamlin who came in as second-fastest (167.015 mph). Paul Menard (166.304 mph), Joey Logano (166.034 mph) and Ty Dillon (165.788 mph) round out the top-five fastest drivers at the "Too Tough to Tame" track. Piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet, defending race winner and XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott was 11th-fastest in the first session (165.009 mph). The XFINITY Series returns to the track at 3 p.m. ET for the final practice before Saturday's race at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Hamlin tops field for Darlington pole
RELATED: Full lineup Denny Hamlin will start Saturday’s race at Darlington Raceway after earning his 20th career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver topped the leaderboard in the final round of qualifying with a best speed of 171.704 mph. Hamlin, who started and won from the pole at the track “Too Tough to Tame” in 2006, 2007 and 2010, has never finished an XFINITY event outside the top 10 at Darlington. JGR teammate Daniel Suarez will start alongside him on front row after running a lap at a 171.178 mph clip. Kyle Larson (170.970 mph), Joey Logano (170.815 mph) and Paul Menard (170.703 mph) -- who led the first two rounds -- round out the top five. Following a bit of a bizarre moment, XFINITY stalwart Kyle Busch will start 36th after failing to advance to the second round. His time was disallowed for a blend line violation. Defending race-winner Chase Elliott will start seventh after a best speed of 170.395 mph. Tune in to watch the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Additional coverage is on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Wisconsin native Menard wins at Road America
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- The decision to compete in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR XFINITY Series sixth annual Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America (Wisconsin) paid off in a huge way for Paul Menard , who scored his third career XFINITY victory at his hometown track. Menard, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, started eighth and saw a decision to stay out after pitting on Lap 24 work to his advantage as he edged out a relentless Ryan Blaney by 0.573 seconds at the 14-turn road course. After the contest, Menard said had the race extended a lap farther, he would not have collected his first XFINITY win since Michigan International Speedway last June. "I've been really fortunate to win at some of the coolest tracks, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Road America is right there," Menard said. "These guys called a great race. We didn't have the fastest car. We had a really good short run car. We really burned off the rear tires as we ran, but the Richmond Water Heaters/Menards Chevrolet was fast and (crew chief Danny) Stockman made a hell of a call at the end." If wondering about running out of fuel wasn't enough, Menard also had to fend off a hard-charging Blaney. "I was definitely concerned," added Menard on both circumstances. "I was saving as much as I could under caution, but then when we fired off I was just chattering the left rear tire really bad. It took a couple of laps for it to come in, then the (No.) 22 started burning his stuff up, but it just didn't fire off very good in the end, but it came to us." After inclement weather forced the cancellation of Coors Light Pole qualifying, Ben Rhodes earned the top starting spot based upon turning the fastest lap at the 4.048-mile road course in the first XFINITY Series practice session Friday afternoon. Rhodes, a NASCAR Next alum, would find himself under pressure from the drop of the green flag when JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott made the move for the lead in Turn 1. Quickly, though, the field would be under the first full-course caution of the day when Tomy Drissi found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 5. Racing resumed on Lap 4 with Elliott checking out from the field and before the first round of green-flag pit stops. The reigning champion stretched his lead to over 10 seconds, when he relinquished the top spot on Lap 11 for a routine pit stop. Championship contender Ty Dillon inherited the lead when Elliott pitted. Dillon, who finished 10th, stretched his fuel run an extra lap to earn a crucial bonus point toward the championship picture. When pit stops cycled through, Elliott reclaimed the point on Lap 16 and built a 13.7-second lead over second-place Brian Scott at the halfway mark. On Lap 22, the second caution waved for fluid on the track, erasing Elliott's substantial advantage. Despite half of the field electing to come to pit road for service behind them, Elliott and his JRM team stood firm on their plan and stayed out. On the restart, Elliott withstood a challenge for Brian Scott and Ryan Blaney , but in Turn 14 and through the frontstretch, Scott mounted the pressure and made the move on Elliott to take the lead on Lap 27. Unable to make it to the end on fuel, Scott pitted under green on Lap 29 handing the lead to defending race winner Brendan Gaughan . Three laps later, though, Gaughan pitted, handing the lead to hometown hero Paul Menard who pitted during the second caution with 13 laps remaining. Planning to stay out till the end, Menard in saving mode purposely gave up the lead to Blake Koch ,who led with 10 laps remaining when pole-sitter Rhodes found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 7 issuing the third full course caution. During the extended caution, Koch lost power, putting Menard back at the point. On the Lap 41 restart, Menard withstood challenges from Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blaney to seal the win in his 197th career start. Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a trip to the track dubbed "Too Tough To Tame" at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 on Sept. 5 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Denny Hamlin wins from the pole at Darlington
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings DARLINGTON, S.C. -- You could call polesitter Denny Hamlin 's victory in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway "dominating," but the NASCAR XFINITY Series event wasn't without its share of drama -- courtesy of a fuel shortage and Hamlin's own Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez . Hamlin Led 117 of 147 laps at the 1.366-mile speedway, but he didn't make the winning pass until Lap 145, when he surged past Suarez, who was stretching fuel after foregoing a final pit stop in hopes of stealing the victory. The win was Hamlin's third of the season (all from the pole), his fourth at Darlington (all from the pole) and the 14th of his career. In a 1-2-3 finish for JGR, Kyle Busch got past Suarez, who finished third, to start the final circuit and came home in the runner-up position. But Suarez secured a $100,000 bonus as the top finisher among eligible series regulars in the final XFINITY Dash 4 Cash event of the season. Suarez also won $100,000 for Kurt Kolstad, a race fan paired with Suarez for the Dash 4 Cash finale. When Hamlin brought his No. 20 Toyota to pit road under caution on Lap 72, he returned to the track after a lightning fast stop during which his team left the fuel cell slightly short of a full load. That meant Hamlin would have to pit before his primary pursuers, Busch and Kevin Harvick , and hope the race would run caution-free for the entire cycle of stops. Hamlin got his wish. After pitting on Lap 122 and gaining time on fresh tires, a relieved Hamlin saw the race run caution-free to the end, giving him just enough time to catch Suarez, who was saving fuel on old rubber, before the laps ran out. "I'm almost glad we didn't (get the car full of fuel)," Hamlin said after the race. "We didn't want a caution to fall and trap us there, but I had scraped the wall and kind of misjudged my line one time and got a little right-side damage, and the car just stopped turning. "I don't know if the right side would have made it or not (under the pressure of all-out racing)." Harvick led 16 laps and finished fourth, his chances thwarted when the race ran green to the finish. "The 9 ( Chase Elliott ) hit the wall or was blowing up or something, and we stayed out a few extra laps, thinking that the caution was going to come out, and got a little bit behind," Harvick said. "The 20 (Hamlin) had the best car. We were better in the long run -- we could run him back down and race with him, but on the short run, those guys were a little bit better than we were." Chris Buescher ran fifth and extended his series lead to 29 points over Ty Dillon , who finished 15th, and 35 over Elliott, who came home 24th, three laps down, after his engine soured late in the race. Joey Logano , Kyle Larson , Landon Cassill , Regan Smith and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.