DARLINGTON, S.C. (WBTW) — Race fans are headed back to Darlington for the Cookout Southern 500 over Labor Day weekend.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Grand Stands and infield are allowed fully back open.
Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp said the weekend was especially exciting for that reason.
“We’re the only sport that completed its entire schedule in 2020 on time,” Tharp said. “And I think there’s some things we learned along the way. We’ll put those into practice but it feels great to be able to have people back here at the racetrack.”
Businesses in the area were also to happy to have more fans in the area. Hotels, restaurants and everything in between were all expecting a boost. The economic impact is felt across the region and state.
“I know restaurants really look forward to that,” Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce president Murphy Monk said. “And really just put their best foot forward showing what we have to offer. Because you want Hartsville to be a place in Darlington County that race fans circle and they want to come back to every year.”
Most excited of all, of course, were the fans coming from all over the country.
“It’s one big family,” Sean Borger said, who was camping in the infield from North Carolina. “You meet people that are like minded to you. Even people that are different backgrounds to you, you all get together. Have a good time. Joint love of NASCAR. Pretty much it.”