Motorsport News

Has Darlington’s Throwback Weekend Lost Its Luster?

NASCAR Cup Series

1. Has the Throwback Weekend Lost its Luster?

Ever since NASCAR put a good balance of its weight behind the concept of a Throwback Weekend, it was even harder to think of a race weekend at Darlington Raceway without harkening back to, “the good old days of how racing’ used to be.” Walk the track on race day, and you can feel the history. The South Carolina track has, and always will be, racing’s version of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.

Whether it was the wardrobes by television talent, paint schemes of some sentimental value, logo branding or anything else, all efforts since 2015 at Darlington have been a step back to give a humble nod to the sport’s history.

That nod, however, has diluted a bit due to perhaps an unintended consequence of holding this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Perhaps nothing will feel like a throwback more than going back to a track that, until its shuttering in 1996, was one of the longest-running in the sport, hanging on until progress sped away from Wilkes County, North Carolina.

This week will be an avalanche of diving deep into the sport’s history, and that’s a great thing for fans that started watching in 1997 and going forward. Somehow in all of that, Darlington, now a race in the rear-view mirror of the season, feels like a bit of an afterthought thanks to this weekend.

If NASCAR is going to continue having Darlington in the spring, a small window of the schedule may not be big enough for two doses of nostalgia.

Which brings us to…

2. There’s a Race on Mother’s Day Because Why?

Ok, NASCAR is a national sport. The hometowns of drivers and venues of races from coast to coast prove that. But a strong core of NASCAR fans value family. More importantly – Mother’s Day.

Even though my late grandparents’ first date was at a stock car race somewhere in middle Georgia a long, long time ago, the women in my family are not what you would call diehard race fans. Sure, they have a basic understanding of what goes on, but it does not go further than that.

For a good segment of people, and that group includes race fans, seeing your mom on Mother’s Day, or at least calling them, is important. However, I’m sure that call will not go over well if it’s made while screaming from the grandstands in Darlington, S.C.

As the late Bear Bryant said, “Have you called your Mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.”

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