Track to celebrate its roots, looking forward to racing in 2015

DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer Published:

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- It all started in the fall of 1949, when a crisp breeze toyed with the loose soil of an old cotton field on the west side of rural Darlington, South Carolina. Harold Brasington saw more than just dirt dancing around that patch of land. He saw the future. He saw Darlington Raceway. Today, Darlington Raceway is a place of history, where fans reminisce about the past, while creating lasting memories of the present. Where NASCAR legends were born and the youth of NASCAR dream about making their mark on the famed walls of The Lady in Black.

Celebrating its roots and looking forward to the future of NASCAR at Darlington Raceway, track president Chip Wile unveiled plans today to honor the track's history and shape its future, as his team turns its attention to 2015.

"As the drivers, teams, fans and media leave here this weekend thinking about who visited Gatorade Victory Lane, focusing on the next race and looking towards the 2014 Championship, we're thinking about the future of Darlington Raceway, as we celebrate our past," said Wile during today's announcement.

"Our history defines us," added Wile. "Without history we wouldn't know where we've come from or where we're going. NASCAR legends and loyal fans have all played a role in defining Darlington Raceway. Together, we're celebrating where we came from and where we're going."

As part of the celebration, five-time Darlington Raceway winner and 1988 NASCAR Champion, Bill Elliott, as well as his son, Chase, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, a member of the NASCAR Next program, one of the sport's rising stars and the youngest winner at Darlington Raceway, will serve as the "face" of the 2015 platform. The father-son duo joined Wile to give media and fans in attendance a glimpse of what's to come, which includes a "throwback" ticket design for the 2015 Bojangles' Southern 500 and a Classic product line with merchandise through the decades that will be available for fans to purchase.

The track "Too Tough to Tame" will unveil elements of the 2015 platform throughout the season, as it celebrates the past and embraces the future as one of NASCAR's most famed tracks.

"We're excited about what the future holds for Darlington Raceway," continued Wile. "We have the most passionate, loyal fans in all of motorsports and we look forward to the role that they will play as we celebrate our past, present and future."

Fans can share their stories and submit celebration ideas at darlington1950@darlingtonraceway.com.

LIVE QUALIFYING

Live, from Talladega, it's NASCAR qualifying on network TV.

The May 3 Cup knockout qualifying session from Talladega Superspeedway will be aired on FOX -- believed to be the first time the session will be televised live on network TV other than the Daytona 500.

MUSTANG ANNIVERSARY

The Ford Mustang his hit the big 5-0.

The car went on sale for the first time on April 17, 1964, and was introduced at New York's World Fair.

The Mustang was featured in the recent movie "Need For Speed." It was billed in the film as the final car famed designer Carroll Shelby was working on at the time of his 2012 death. Shelby was working on a 50th anniversary edition of the Mustang when he died at the age of 89, but the car in the movie is fictionalized.

JADOTTE DEPARTS

Marcus Jadotte, who was vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, has left NASCAR. He will serve as a consultant.

as NASCAR continues to evolve its diversity and multicultural development initiatives throughout the organization.

Jadotte led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs. These initiatives focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR.

NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program will continue under Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell.

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