Darlington looks forward to big weekend as NASCAR is set to return

Pee Dee

DARLINGTON AREA, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington area is looking forward to a big weekend as NASCAR is set to return at the iconic track.

The NASCAR Cup Series will race Sunday, followed by two other events later in the week. There will be no fans in attendance.

The owner of a restaurant near Darlington Raceway said he was optimistic about getting some good crowds this weekend, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“We’re going to try to make up some lost business on that,” Raceway Grill owner Tony Baird said as he worked on picnic tables. “I got people calling for a week now wanting to know if they can come out and sit in the parking lot and be close to the action.”

Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee is also looking forward to the weekend. He owns South of Pearl with his family, which is providing catering to media members attending the events.

“I think it can only benefit Darlington in a huge way,” Hardee said. “I think people all over the world- people are tuned into their TV. They want to see racing.”

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons have been delayed since mid-March.

The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office says it is working with nearby agencies to keep the area secure during the events.

“We weren’t expecting these races,” President of Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce Harriet Hobbs said. “Our cup is overflowing.”

Hobbs said the area can expect longstanding benefits after the nation watches NASCAR’s return at Darlington.

“Darlington is going to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue nationwide,” she said. “As the small, southern, sweet city that we are and we are hosting NASCAR.”

The Cup Series May 17 race will start at 3 p.m. ET live on FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. It will be 400 miles.

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