BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. — Pee Dee residents can cheer for the home team ahead of the Steakhouse Elite 200 Xfinity race May 8 — Mother’s Day Weekend at Darlington Raceway.
And that team will be the colors team from Marlboro County High School’s Junior Army ROTC, which will present the colors for the national anthem ahead of the race.
Master Sgt. Wayne Chapman said the school didn’t solicit the gig, but the school’s state title boys’ basketball team may have played a role in the email the school received with the offer.
“Certainly we agreed to participate,” Chapman said.
The enthusiasm carried over to the student body and leadership, who came and went Friday as the track’s pace car sat outside, on display, in front of the school.
Photos with the car were the order of the day as people exchanged phones and positions to make sure they got a picture of themselves and a friend or two with the car.
The track hasn’t yet announced who will deliver the national anthem for the race crowd.
“It’s an exciting time, exciting opportunity,” said Dr. Jamane Watson, principal. “Kids come from a small, rural community. Darlignton is right up the road but our kids probably don’t even know what a race track is, but with the track providing us with this opportunity to expose our kids to something different I think it’s great.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s something I really look forward to doing. I think this will be great for our school, our battalion and it’ll be a new adventure,” said JROTC Battalion Commander Brandon Shaw.
Shaw will be one of five ROTC cadets (six if you count the alternate) out front on that Saturday.
Watson said the track remains alien to many in the community.
“I was born and raised in Bennettsville and I’ve never been to a race at Darlington and I’m excited,” Watson said.
“This is the first time I can remember the school has received this honor,” Watson said. “The school is taking great pride in this and they’re excited, I’m excited and the community is excited.”
The JROTC is selling tickets for $25 each for the Wallace Grandstand. People interested in purchasing tickets can contact a cadet.
“Hopefully a lot of Marlboro County residents will be attending and supporting Marlboro County.
We’re collecting ticket sales at this point,” said Chapman.
“Come see and cheer for the home team.” Watson said.