Well, I know I am a little late but now I finally get to share my trip to the 2016 Bojangles' Southern 500! Out of all the NASCAR races I have been too, this was the first race I have got to experience the pits! I don't even know how to describe the experience... the energy down there is incomparable! You can literally feel the roar of the cars as they are moving around preparing for the race! I arrived at the track around 11am. Before I went to the pits, I walked down the midway and checked out a bunch of throwback cars, snapped a lot of pictures and even got some merchandise from the enormous fanatics tent! One of my favorite throwback cars I saw would have to be Cale Yarborough's number eleven Busch car! After a few hours of checking out the midway, it was finally time to hit the pits! I went through the turn 1 pedestrian tunnel. If you have never seen the tunnels at Darlington, you're missing out! The tunnel honors NASCAR premier series race winners since 1950 who have won at the track, Too Tough to Tame. All down the left side of the "Walk of Champions" turn 1 tunnel is photos of legends who have tamed the track. Darlington's rich history and memorable moments are just another reason why Darlington is a track I love! Walking through the tunnel kind of gave me chills knowing that I was soon going to step foot onto the surface that many legends have raced on and the infield that is rich in history and memories. Once I made it in the infield I started looking at the many pit boxes. The first pit box I looked at was Kyle Larson's. The 42 crew were busy prepping the tires. I stopped and looked at EVERY pit box along pit road! It was so cool to see the differences in each one and also the the crew's throwback uniforms for the second throwback race weekend at Darlington since its move back to its original Labor Day weekend spot on the schedule. The teams, media and more celebrated the 1975-84 era of the sport with throwback paint schemes, uniforms and more. It was also interesting to see the crew hard at work completing there task to make sure everything was good to go before it was race time. While snapping pictures of all the action, I happen to run into one of my favorite journalist in the sport, Claire B. Lang as she was coming from the garage. We were able to get a picture together before she had to get to her next interview. If you have never listened to her, be sure to listen to her on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio! After exploring pit road and some of the pits, we then took a little stroll through the infield campgrounds to check out some of the hardcore fans unique homemade buses! After that, we stopped in victory lane to see where that nights winner would celebrate their win with the crew and media! We also watched several cars go through inspection. It was then time to head out onto the track again to get ready for the pre-race concert and driver introductions! After music from classic rock legends, Kansas, it was finally time for driver introductions to begin! Before drivers came on stage, Winston Kelley brought some true legends out on stage. After some more announcements were made and other people talked, it was time to announce the drivers by there starting position. I was able to get a picture of every single driver as they came across the stage! At the conclusion of driver introductions, it was finally time to head to our seats and get ready for the race, what we have all been waiting for all day! We had an incredible view from our seats near turn 4 in the Pearson tower! As the night progressed, the sun set was a beautiful background behind the track! From the first lap to the last lap, the action had be on the edge of my seat! In the last laps, I was on my feet anxious to see who would take the checkered flag! I was happy to see Martin Truex Jr. grab another win! Truex passed Ryan Newman for the top spot on lap 339 of 367. After watching Truex do burnouts and head to victory lane, it was time to head back to the car and reflect on the eventful day!
Until Next Time, Taylor Smith
Below are a few of my favorite pictures!