Bojangles' Southern 500
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
|Distance||501.322 miles (806.799 km)|
|Previous names||Southern 500 (1950–1988)
Heinz Southern 500 (1989–1991)
Mountain Dew Southern 500 (1992–1997, 2001–2004)
Pepsi Southern 500 (1998, 2000)
The 50th Pepsi Southern 500 (1999)
Dodge Charger 500 (2005–2006)
Dodge Avenger 500 (2007)
Dodge Challenger 500 (2008)
Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com (2009)
Showtime Southern 500 (2010–2011)
The Bojangles' Southern 500 is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, United States. The race distance is 501 miles (806 km) long, and consists of 367 laps. From 1950 to 2003, the race was held on Labor Day weekend. During this period, Darlington held two Cup series races annually, and the Southern 500 was largely considered one of the crown jewels of the NASCAR calendar.
In 2004, the race was moved to November, and held under the lights for the first time. The following year, the Ferko lawsuit left Darlington with only one race annually in the spring. The 500 mile race lost the "Southern 500" moniker and moved to Mother's Day weekend in May. Through 2008, there was no race named Southern 500 on the schedule, with Dodge sponsoring the Darlington race to promote its various models of cars. From 2009 to 2013, the Southern 500 moniker returned, returning the name to Darlington's 500-miler for the first time in 5 years. In 2014, the race was moved to April, swapping dated with Kansas. In 2015, after popular demand, the Southern 500 will return to its traditional Labor Day weekend date. However the 400 mile race, known last as Carolina Dodge Dealers' 400, will not return.
Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the race, after winning it in 2014.
The race began in 1950, as NASCAR's first 500 mile race, and it was the only race of such distance until the Daytona 500 debuted in 1959. Through most of its history the race was one of NASCAR's premier events, and was known as one of four Crown Jewels on the NASCAR circuit. From 1985-1997, it served as the fourth race of the popular Winston Million. Two drivers, Bill Elliott (1985) and Jeff Gordon (1997), clinched the Winston Million with victories in the Southern 500.
In 1989, the race added Heinz as a title sponsor, but kept the traditional "Southern" moniker in its official name. The Southern 500 was one of the last races on the circuit to embrace naming rights in its title.
From 1950-2003, this annual event was traditionally held on Labor Day weekend, and in most years before 1984, was held on Monday, Labor Day itself. For the 2004 season, a shuffling of the NASCAR schedule saw the race move to November. Track management believed the November date would allow for cooler, more comfortable weather for fans, who had increasingly voiced concerns about the hot, humid, weather. In addition, it meant the race would be part of the new Chase for the Nextel Cup. Rockingham lost its fall date to Fontana, and the Pop Secret 500 was moved to the prestigious Labor Day weekend date. A year later, unbeknownst to fans and competitors, the Southern 500 would disappear.
In 2004, Francis Ferko, a shareholder of the company that owned Texas Motor Speedway, sued NASCAR, saying they had violated antitrust laws by refusing to have a second race at Texas Motor Speedway, as many other tracks had. The case was settled in his favor, and NASCAR was forced to give up one of its Darlington dates so that a second race could be held at Texas.
2005–2013: Mother's Day weekend
Starting in 2005, Darlington was forced to contract down to one race per year. Officials replaced Darlington's two events with the one 500-mile race. The race was situated on the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend in mid-May, a date that was normally avoided by NASCAR over its history. The "Southern 500" moniker was dropped for the race.
Dodge, which had been sponsoring the Darlington's 400 mile race up to that point, took over sponsorship of the 500-miler. The title of the race was based on various Dodge models through 2008, including the Charger, Challenger, and Avenger. The race would be held under-the-lights, and proved to be well-attended.
Without a title sponsor for 2009, the race tentatively adopted the generic moniker of "Southern 500". Track officials and fans were anxious to revive the traditional name. Go Daddy was signed as presenting sponsor, and it became known as the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com for 2009.
In 2014, the race switched dates with the spring Kansas race, and ran in the second weekend in April. This change, like the one ten years earlier, would only last a year. The 2014 race was still run at night, whereas the Kansas race on that date had been run during the afternoon.
2015: Return to Labor Day weekend
A revived interest in moving the Southern 500 back to Labor Day grew over the summer of 2014. In August 2014, it was announced that that the Bojangles' Southern 500 would return to its traditional Labor Day weekend slot, the first time since 2003. To combat the problem of heat and humidity that had resulted in the race originally being moved, the race will be on held night before Labor Day, when temperatures are cooler.
- 1950 The very first running lasted over six hours and multiple cars blew tires. Johnny Mantz drove a conservative race and emerged with the win.
- 1960 In a race with 48 entries, numerous crashes occurred and the race proved tragic, first when Ankrum "Spook" Crawford was injured when a car crashed into the unprotected pit road area; later Bobby Johns crashed in the pits, killing three. Richard Petty led 106 laps but spun out with 50 laps to go. Pole-sitter Glenn Roberts broke an axle and finished ninth, 11 laps down. Rex White was flagged the winner, but a reexamination of scoring showed White was credited with one extra lap he hadn't run, giving the win to Buck Baker.
- 1965 Darel Dieringer broke with 39 laps to go after leading 199 laps, leaving Ned Jarrett alone by 14 laps en route to the win. The race saw a scary melee when young Cale Yarborough crashed with Sam McQuagg in Turn One and Cale's car flew over the guardrail and landed outside the speedway; he was uninjured and interviewed for ABC Sports by Chris Economaki.
- 1974 Cale Yarborough became a three-time Southern 500 winner, edging sophomore sensation Darrell Waltrip. Crashes thinned the field and eliminated the likes of Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, and Bobby Allison; singled out for criticism was Richie Panch, involved in three wrecks during the day. Allison accused Yarborough of wrecking him, a charge Yarborough angrilly denied.
- 1977 A huge fight between Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip ended in a crash and Pearson grabbed his second straight Southern 500. Following the race D.K. Ulrich, caught up in the fracas, asked Cale why he'd hit him; Cale replied "I didn't hit you, Jaws did; Jaws Waltrip"- creating a popular nickname for Waltrip.
- 1979 Pearson achieved vindication at the same track where earlier that year a pit accident cost him his ride with Wood Brothers Racing. Driving Rod Osterlund's Chevrolet while regular driver Dale Earnhardt recovered from late-July injury, Pearson made up a lap when Darrell Waltrip spun out of the lead with 70 laps to go, then spun again some 20 laps later; he lost 12 laps and finished 11th after leading 165 laps. Pearson edged young driver Bill Elliott for the win, his 104th career Winston Cup Grand National win.
- 1980 Once again Waltrip and Pearson were keys to a shocking Southern 500; this time Waltrip, embroiled in a contract fight with DiGard Racing, led 196 laps from the pole while Pearson once again had to make up a lap, this time driving Hoss Ellington's Chevrolet. But a timing chain broke on Waltrip, ending his race 39 laps from the finish. Benny Parsons grabbed the lead while Pearson got back on the lead lap. A late yellow for Cale Yarborough (who'd had a miserable day with a fuel fire and several earlier spins) set up a five-lap shootout between Parsons, Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt; Pearson took the lead on the restart, Earnhardt passed on Lap 364 but Pearson retook the lead on that same lap, but with two to go all three leaders crashed in Turn One on oil from a backmarker; Pearson limped to the line, but Terry Labonte caught and swung past at the white flag, grabbing his first career win.
- 1982 The most competitive running of the Southern 500 took place as the lead changed 41 times among 17 drivers. Bobby Allison in the Gatorade #88 led 88 laps before breaking, while Darrell Waltrip in Junior Johnson's Buick led 23 laps before blowing his engine. In all 14 cautions flew and helped set up a four-car shootout involving the cream of stock car racing's old guard (Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty) and the cream of its up-and-coming new guard (Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott). Cale edged Petty, Earnhardt, and Elliott for his record fifth Southern 500, and what would be his last victory with M.C. Anderson's race team.
- 1985 NASCAR's Winston Million program paid out when Bill Elliott took the win in the Southern 500, thus winning three of NASCAR's four biggest races (he'd won the Daytona 500 and Winston 500 earlier in the year). Challenges by Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough fell apart; Yarborough finished second despite breaking a power steering line. The million dollar program made Elliott's winnings the highest in NASCAR history to that point.
- 1986 Tim Richmond and Geoff Bodine swept the front row and combined to lead 330 laps. Intermittent rain pushed the four-hour contest to darkness. Bodine ran dry and finished eighth while Bill Elliott's attempt to stretch his fuel came short with six to go and he finished third behind Richmond and Bobby Allison. The win was the first at Darlington for crew chief Harry Hyde. Dale Earnhardt hit Richard Petty six laps in and Petty was eliminated; "His mind goes out of gear," said an angered Petty.
- 1987 Rain shortened the 1987 running after just 202 laps; the battle for the win turned into a showdown between Earnhardt and Richard Petty; Petty gunned past Earnhardt on a Lap 188 restart but Earnhardt retook the lead on lap 191 just before rain brought out what would be the race-ending yellow at Lap 198. Rookie sensation Davey Allison won the pole and led 86 laps but crashed in Turn Four at Lap 164; the crash swept up Lake Speed while Mike Potter spun behind them and was drilled by Benny Parsons.
- 1990 Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, and Geoff Bodine timed together in the top three and combined to lead 286 laps between them; Bodine faded to eighth while Elliott finished fourth and Ernie Irvan led 70 laps and grabbed second, but no one could catch Earnhardt en route to his third Southern 500 in his previous four starts. The race was famous for a vicious feud between Ken Schrader and Morgan Shepherd; Schrader crashed early in the race after an encounter with Shepherd, then after getting repairs he sped onto the track and rammed Shepherd in the third turn. Shepherd finished 21st while Schrader was parked.
- 1992 Davey Allison entered the race with a chance for the Winston Million, but rain interfered, and cut the race short. Harry Gant and Davey Allison combined to lead 163 laps. With rain approaching the area, the leaders cycled through a series of pit stops around lap 292, but a scant handful of drivers stayed out. Allison's Crew chief Larry McReynolds sent a crew member to the NASCAR hauler to look at the weather radar. The crew member's misinterpretation of the radar led to Allison coming in to the pits and changing four tires. Darrell Waltrip was among those who gambled and stayed out, inhered the lead just as the yellow came out for rain on lap 297. The skies opened up, and the race has ended after 298 laps. Davey Allison slid to 5th in the pit stop shuffle, and was denied his chance at the million dollar bonus. The victory would be Waltrips 84th and final career win.
- 1993 After an intense battle Mark Martin broke away from Dale Earnhardt and won the Southern 500, his fourth straight Winston Cup win. He and Earnhardt combined to lead 279 laps. Ernie Irvan finished fifth in his debut drive in Robert Yates after an acrimonious split from Morgan McClure Motorsports; Jeff Purvis finished 26th in the McClure Chevrolet.
- 2003 In the last Southern 500 held on Labor Day weekend until 2015, Terry Labonte led the final 33 laps and held off Kevin Harvick for his last win in the Cup series. The race has been labeled by many as the most popular win of 2003 as everybody was always happy to see Labonte win.
- 2011 Regan Smith stayed out on a late caution when the rest of the field pitted and sweated out a late crash involving Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to edge Carl Edwards for his first NASCAR win. The win was overshadowed as Harvick and Busch collided on pit road when Harvick tried to throw a punch at Busch inside his cockpit; NASCAR fined the two drivers and put them on probation after the race.
- 2012 Jimmie Johnson stayed out during the final round of pit stops on the advice of crew chief Chad Knaus. Johnson would later hold off Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart to score team owner Rick Hendrick's 200th Sprint Cup victory.
|Year||Day||Date||Driver||Team||Manufacturer||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|1950||Monday||September 4||Johnny Mantz||Hubert Westmoreland||Plymouth||400||500 (804.672)||6:38:40||75.25||Report|
|1951||Monday||September 3||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Hudson||400||500 (804.672)||6:30:05||76.906||Report|
|1952||Monday||September 1||Fonty Flock||Frank Christian||Oldsmobile||400||500 (804.672)||6:42:37||74.512||Report|
|1953||Monday||September 7||Buck Baker||Bob Griffin||Oldsmobile||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:23:19||92.881||Report|
|1954||Monday||September 6||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Hudson||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:16:01||95.026||Report|
|1955||Monday||September 5||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:25:25||92.281||Report|
|1956||Monday||September 3||Curtis Turner||Charlie Schwam||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:15:33||95.167||Report|
|1957||Monday||September 2||Speedy Thompson||Speedy Thompson||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:00:01||100.094||Report|
|1958||Monday||September 1||Fireball Roberts||Frank Strickland||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:52:44||102.585||Report|
|1959||Monday||September 7||Jim Reed||Jim Reed||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:28:30||111.836||Report|
|1960||Monday||September 5||Buck Baker||Jack Smith||Pontiac||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:43:34||105.901||Report|
|1961||Monday||September 4||Nelson Stacy||Dudley Farrell||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:54:45||117.787||Report|
|1962||Monday||September 3||Larry Frank||Ratus Walters||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:14:34||117.965||Report|
|1963||Monday||September 2||Fireball Roberts||Holman-Moody||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:51:23||129.784||Report|
|1964||Monday||September 7||Buck Baker||Ray Fox||Dodge||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:15:01||117.757||Report|
|1965||Monday||September 6||Ned Jarrett||Bondy Long||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:19:09||115.878||Report|
|1966||Monday||September 5||Darel Dieringer||Bud Moore Engineering||Mercury||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:21:31||114.83||Report|
|1967||Monday||September 4||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:50:15||130.423||Report|
|1968||Monday||September 2||Cale Yarborough||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:58:05||126.132||Report|
|1969||Monday||September 1||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||230*||316.25 (508.955)||2:59:40||105.612||Report|
|1970||Monday||September 7||Buddy Baker||Cotton Owens||Dodge||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:55:03||128.817||Report|
|1971||Monday||September 6||Bobby Allison||Holman-Moody||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:48:55||131.398||Report|
|1972||Monday||September 4||Bobby Allison||Richard Howard||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:46||128.124||Report|
|1973||Monday||September 3||Cale Yarborough||Richard Howard||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:44:25||134.033||Report|
|1974||Monday||September 2||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:30:48||111.075||Report|
|1975||Monday||September 1||Bobby Allison||Penske Racing||Matador||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:17:28||116.825||Report|
|1976||Sunday||September 5*||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:09:33||120.534||Report|
|1977||Monday||September 5||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:41:48||106.797||Report|
|1978||Monday||September 4||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:17:46||116.828||Report|
|1979||Monday||September 3||David Pearson||Rod Osterlund Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:58:14||126.259||Report|
|1980||Monday||September 1||Terry Labonte||Billy Hagan||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:21:05||115.21||Report|
|1981||Monday||September 7||Neil Bonnett||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:57||126.41||Report|
|1982||Monday||September 6||Cale Yarborough||M. C. Anderson Racing||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:21:00||115.224||Report|
|1983||Monday||September 5||Bobby Allison||DiGard Motorsports||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:03:52||123.343||Report|
|1984||Sunday||September 2||Harry Gant||Hal Needham||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:02||128.27||Report|
|1985||Sunday||September 1||Bill Elliott*||Melling Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:02||121.254||Report|
|1986||Sunday||August 31||Tim Richmond||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:45||121.068||Report|
|1987||Sunday||September 6||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||202*||275.932 (444.069)||2:23:19||115.52||Report|
|1988||Sunday||September 4||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:27||128.297||Report|
|1989||Sunday||September 3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:42:03||135.462||Report|
|1990||Sunday||September 2||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:04:16||123.141||Report|
|1991||Sunday||September 1||Harry Gant||Leo Jackson Racing||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:45:18||133.508||Report|
|1992||Sunday||September 6||Darrell Waltrip*||DarWal, Inc.||Chevrolet||298*||407.068 (655.112)||3:09:10||129.114||Report|
|1993||Sunday||September 5||Mark Martin||Roush Racing||Ford||351*||479.466 (771.625)||3:28:34||137.932||Report|
|1994||Sunday||September 4||Bill Elliott||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:55:05||127.952||Report|
|1995||Sunday||September 3||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:07||121.231||Report|
|1996||Sunday||September 1||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:41:34||135.757||Report|
|1997||Sunday||August 31||Jeff Gordon*||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:17||121.149||Report|
|1998||Sunday||September 6||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:36:21||139.031||Report|
|1999||Sunday||September 5||Jeff Burton||Roush Racing||Ford||270*||368.82 (593.558)||3:25:15||107.816||Report|
|2000||Sunday||September 3||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||328*||448.048 (721.063)||4:08:20||108.273||Report|
|2001||Sunday||September 2||Ward Burton||Bill Davis Racing||Dodge||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:05:00||122.773||Report|
|2002||Sunday||September 1||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:13:35||118.617||Report|
|2003||Sunday||August 31||Terry Labonte||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:09:08||120.733||Report|
|2004||Sunday||November 14||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:00:33||125.044||Report|
|2005||Saturday||May 7||Greg Biffle||Roush Racing||Ford||370*||505.42 (813.394)||4:06:29||123.031||Report|
|2006||Saturday||May 13||Greg Biffle||Roush Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:42:36||135.127||Report|
|2007||Sunday||May 13*||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:01:50||124.372||Report|
|2008||Saturday||May 10||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:34:19||140.35||Report|
|2009||Saturday||May 9||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:11:19||119.687||Report|
|2010||Saturday||May 8||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:35||126.605||Report|
|2011||Saturday||May 7||Regan Smith||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||370*||505.42 (813.394)||3:53:51||129.678||Report|
|2012||Saturday||May 12||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||368*||502.688 (808.997)||3:45:25||133.802||Report|
|2013||Saturday||May 11||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:32:45||141.383||Report|
|2014||Saturday||April 12||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||374*||510.884 (822.188)||3:53:37||131.211||Report|
- 1969 & 1993: Race shortened due to rain/darkness.
- 1985: Bill Elliott clinched Winston Million.
- 1987, 1992, 1999, & 2000: Race shortened due to rain.
- 1992: Darrell Waltrip's final Cup Series victory.
- 1997: Jeff Gordon clinched Winston Million.
- 2005, 2011, 2012 & 2014: Race extended due to a Green-white-checker finish. 2014 race extended to two attempts.
Multiple winners (drivers)
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|6||Jeff Gordon||1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007|
|5||Cale Yarborough||1968, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982|
|4||Bobby Allison||1971, 1972, 1975, 1983|
|3||Herb Thomas||1951, 1954, 1955|
|Buck Baker||1953, 1960, 1964|
|David Pearson||1976, 1977, 1979|
|Dale Earnhardt||1987, 1989, 1990|
|Bill Elliott||1985, 1988, 1994|
|2||Fireball Roberts||1958, 1963|
|Harry Gant||1984, 1991|
|Terry Labonte||1980, 2003|
|Mark Martin||1993, 2009|
|Jimmie Johnson||2004, 2012|
Multiple winners (manufacturers)
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|27||Chevrolet||1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014|
|12||Ford||1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1999|
|5||Mercury||1966, 1968, 1971, 1976, 1977|
|4||Oldsmobile||1952, 1953, 1978, 1991|
|3||Dodge||1964, 1970, 2001|
- ^1 — During the 1995 Pepsi 400 and Southern 500, ESPN ran a two-channel simulcast (similar to DirecTV's Hotpass). ESPN showed the normal race broadcast, while ESPN2 showed a simulcast featuring on-board cameras only and audio from team radios.
- Cain, Holly (October 11, 2013). "KANSAS, DARLINGTON TO SWAP SCHEDULE SPOTS IN '14". NASCAR. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Pockrass, Bob (August 22, 2014). "Sprint Cup schedule: Darlington gets Labor Day weekend back, Bristol moves spring race to April". Sporting News. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
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