Cup Series Throwback Weekend at the historic Darlington Raceway

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Nothing better than honoring the past and paying tribute to the folks that paved the way for what we know as the NASCAR Cup Series today. This weekend at Darlington Raceway the NASCAR heroes of today and yesteryear will come together to celebrate Throwback Weekend at as the series competes in the 12th race of the season, the Goodyear 400 on Sunday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Many of the drivers will be paying tribute to the past this weekend with special paint schemes on their cars. For a full detailed list of the paint schemes and car participating select this link and visit’s 2021 Throwback Weekend Photo Gallery.

Darlington Raceway is the perfect stage for Throwback Weekend. The historic 1.366-mile egg-shaped paved oval has hosted 119 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to 1950. The raceway was built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-1950 and hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on Sept. 4, 1950. A total of 75 cars competed in the inaugural event and Curtis Turner won the pole at 82.034 mph, and the race was won by Johnny Mantz (Plymouth, 75.250 mph). The race took 6 hours, 38 minutes, and 40 seconds to complete.

Since then, Darlington Raceway has undergone some changes through the years. In 1953, the track was re-measured to 1.375 miles. Then in 1970, the track was re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race of that season. The track was repaved in 1995 and then again prior to the 2008 season. Over the years the historic facility has become known amongst its competitors as ‘the track too tough to tame’. 

In total, the 119 NASCAR Cup Series races has produced 51 different pole winners and 51 different race winners. Six of the 51 NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Darlington Raceway are active this weekend – Kevin Harvick (two poles), Kurt Busch (two), Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and William Byron (each have one pole). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in poles at Darlington with 12 (1967, ’70, ’72, ’73 sweep, ’75 sweep, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’78 and ’82). Kurt Busch (2001, 2013) and Kevin Harvick (2014, 2017) lead all active drivers in poles at Darlington with two each.

Of the 51 Cup winners at Darlington Raceway, six are active this weekend.

RankActive Race WinnersWinsSeasons
1Kevin Harvick32020, 2020, 2014
2Denny Hamlin32020, 2017, 2010
3Erik Jones12019
4Brad Keselowski12018
5Martin Truex Jr12016
6Kyle Busch12008

NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in victories at Darlington with 10 wins (1968, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 sweep, ’77, ’79, 80); followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine and Jeff Gordon with seven. Kevin Harvick (2020, 2020, 2014) and Denny Hamlin (2020, 2017, 2010) lead all active drivers in victories at Darlington with three wins each.  

This weekend’s Goodyear 400 will be 293 laps (400.2 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 90 laps, the second stage will be 95 laps and the final stage will be 108 laps. 

The starting lineup for this weekend’s Goodyear 400 was determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will start from the pole and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, the defending winner of this race last season, will join Keselowski on the front row.

Mother’s Day rare extravaganza

This weekend’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will be just the eighth time in NASCAR Cup Series history the series has competed on Mother’s Day. 

The most recent winner on Mother’s Day in the NASCAR Cup Series will be in the FOX Sports booth this weekend, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who won the 2007 rain delayed Darlington Raceway race on May 13, 2007.

NASCAR Hall of Famer inductee Buck Baker holds the record for the most wins on Mother’s Day at two (1956, 1954).

Race WinnerDateTrackHoliday
1Jeff GordonSunday, May 13, 2007Darlington RacewayMother’s Day
2Cale YarboroughSunday, May 14, 1978Talladega SuperspeedwayMother’s Day
3Benny ParsonsSunday, May 9, 1971South Boston SpeedwayMother’s Day
4Bob WelbornSunday, May 11, 1958Greensboro FairgroundsMother’s Day
5Buck BakerSunday, May 13, 1956Orange SpeedwayMother’s Day
6Tim FlockSunday, May 8, 1955Arizona State FairgroundsMother’s Day
7Buck BakerSunday, May 9, 1954Wilson SpeedwayMother’s Day

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