South Carolina ETV

Carolina Stories weekly series highlights the rich cultural and historical landscape that is South Carolina. From the Upstate to the Lowcountry, the stories are as geographically diverse as their subject matter and they are all produced by ETV's production teams.

Watch on Thursdays at 8:00 pm on ETV. Carolina Stories also airs Mondays from 8:00 to 9:00 pm on the SC Channel.

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Carolina Stories

The Lady In Black



NASCAR's first paved track.  The first superspeedway.  The first Winston Million win.  The first 500 mile race.  The first track where doors were fitted with braces to absorb the impact of (inevitably) hitting the wall.  The birth of the infield camping tradition. The closest finish and also the largest margin of victory in NASCAR history.

These are just a few of the historic events that have taken place at the Darlington Raceway in its 60 year history.  It has become a pillar of the NASCAR circuit, and has been compared to such other sports meccas as Lambeau Field, the "House that Ruth Built," the Kentucky Derby and The Masters.

And to think, it all started over a game of cards in a shed next to a minnow-pond.

Using a blend of original and NASCAR footage from the archives, this fast-paced program tracks the history of the Darlington Raceway, as told by the true legends of the sport, including Cale Yarborough, Cotton Owens, Junior Johnson, and David Pearson as well as some of today's biggest names, such as Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Richard Childress, and the "Iron Man" of the Nationwide Series, Jason Keller.

  • Yarborough recounts how his life changed forever the day he snuck under a fence to see the second race at Darlington, and he knew what he wanted to do. He (and a few others) also tell of the 1965 race where his car completely flipped over the guardrail wall of the racetrack. Since emergency vehicles couldn't get to him, he had to pull himself out of the car.
  • Johnson talks about his transition from running moonshine as a bootlegger to racing professionally. 
  • Gordon talks about not backing down to Burton to win his fourth Darlington victory and the Winston Million in 1997.
  • Meanwhile Burton says of his two 1999 Darlington victories, "When I look at my trophies, the Southern 500 stands out."

And thanks to Baker Curb Racing, ETV gives fans a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, riding along in the big rig as the Number 27 car is brought through the tunnel, and then prepared for the big race.  Keller was driving for Baker Curb Racing in 2009 when the documentary was shot, and this year the Greenville native is closing in on his 500th start, which very well might take place at Darlington.Interviews with everyone from track officials to fans who have been returning to camp in the infield year after year, help define what makes Darlington so unique, and has become the single biggest weekend event in the Palmetto State. 

To order a DVD, visit the ETV Store or call 1-800-553-7752


Photos

Pit stop during a race at Darlington.

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