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Tickets remain for Southern 500 weekend
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Darlington Raceway

Tickets remain for Southern 500 weekend

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – It’s the most wonderful time of year for Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp.

The Cook Out Southern 500 Weekend is almost here, and Darlington Raceway can host full capacity for the first time since 2019, when the track had a grandstand sellout (47,000).

“It’s very exciting. I left out of the track Sunday night at about 7-7:30 p.m. and the track really is shining right now,” Tharp said. “It just looks really good. There’s some activity on the property, and a few of the NASCAR trucks were moving in yesterday. And several other entities within the sport are moving in, and outside camping opens tomorrow.”

Although there won’t be a Darlington Car Hauler Parade or Southern 500 Parade for the second consecutive year, at least fans tailgating outside the track or on the campgrounds can have their own celebrations.

“It’s exciting,” Tharp said. “You put all this work and effort into planning something like this, and now you get to see it come to fruition. I’m most looking forward, though, to seeing our fans.”

Ah, the fans.

The return of fans was gradual after they were not allowed at the two Cup and one Xfinity race at Darlington in May 2000 to restart the sport after a pandemic-related hiatus.

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After last year’s Southern 500 hosted limited fans, as did May’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington, fans now are fully welcome back.

“It’s been two years since we’ve had a full-capacity opportunity,” Tharp said. “It’s going to be great to see the campgrounds full and see the fans back at full force. That will be very exciting. It’s a high level of anticipation.”

Tickets remain, according to Tharp.

“We’re continuing to sell tickets. We’re in a good place when it comes to consumer numbers. We haven’t sold as many corporate tickets or large-group tickets as we probably did two years ago,” Tharp said. “That might be a product of where we are and what’s going on with the pandemic.

“But we do still have tickets available, and we’re going to continue to sell tickets right up until the start of Sunday’s Cup race,” he added. “So, it will be a good crowd.”

Tharp said he doesn’t have an estimated number of tickets sold.

“I haven’t seen the latest report we have,” he said. “You look at the tickets that we’ve sold and who we’re going to have here on property with campers and things of that nature, we should have upwards of around 45,000 here on the property.”

Suites, meanwhile, sold briskly. Those watching from indoor suites are required to wear facemasks, per NASCAR rules for this weekend.

“All of our suites that we had available have been sold,” Tharp said. “We also have four full mobile hospitality suites that will be between Turns 1 and 2.”

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Prep Sports Writer

A nine-time APSE national award winner, Scott authored, "70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." Scott has received several SCPA awards, 8 for 1st place since moving to SC in 2010 from his home state of Georgia.

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