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Report: Darlington returning to Labor Day weekend on 2015 NASCAR schedule

Aug 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson AP

More than a decade ago, NASCAR chose to move Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 date from its traditional Labor Day weekend spot on the schedule to Auto Club Speedway in California.

The Southern 500 had been run at Darlington on that date for 54 years, and many longtime fans took this decision as a sign of the sport moving away from its roots.

But that date only lasted in SoCal until 2008 before it was shifted to Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Now, the storied Darlington is set to reclaim its legacy.

The 1.366-mile oval ran its Sprint Cup race in April this year after a period of running on Mother’s Day weekend, but it will return to its Labor Day weekend position as part of the 2015 Cup schedule.

The schedule will be officially announced on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA. However, Speedway Motorsports CEO Bruton Smith confirmed to reporters on Friday that Darlington will be going back to Labor Day weekend, while the race at Atlanta is shifting to March.

“I think we did them a favor and they did us one,” Smith said according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “I think they kind of needed that Southern 500 thing back in Darlington. So going back there, I thought that was a good thing.”

A spokesman for Atlanta Motor Speedway told USA Today said that “nothing has been signed” in regards to a date change.

Yesterday, SMI track Bristol Motor Speedway announced their own move on the 2015 schedule for its spring Cup race, which will now be run in mid-April.

The daytime Food City 500 has been situated in March since the 2005 season, but track officials had been hoping to secure a more proper spring date to avoid weather issues that have sometimes plagued the event (like it did this past March).

  1. gret9 - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Alright, I can start watching NASCAR on Labor Day weekend again. I have refused to watch since they took that weekend away from Darlington.

    Great move by NASCAR….now get a race back at Rockingham!

  2. manik56 - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    My wife will not be pleased when I tell her we will go down to Darlington for a race and then head up to Blacksburg on Monday to see the Buckeyes.

  3. matt33fl - Aug 25, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Here’s what I hope to see come out tomorrow:
    Feb 22—Daytona
    Mar 01—Phoenix
    Mar 08—Las Vegas
    Mar 15—Sonoma
    Mar 22—Fontana
    Mar 29—Martinsville
    Apr 11—Texas
    Apr 19—Bristol
    Apr 25—Richmond
    May 03–Talladega
    May 09–Atlanta
    May 16–All-Star
    May 24–Charlotte
    May 31–Dover
    Jun 06—Kansas
    Jun 14—Michigan
    Jun 21—Road America
    Aug 02—Indianapolis
    Aug 09—Pocono
    Aug 16—Watkins Glen
    Aug 23—Michigan
    Aug 29—Bristol
    Sep 06—Darlington
    Sep 19—Richmond
    Sep 27—Dover
    Oct 04—Loudon
    Oct 11—Kansas
    Oct 18—Martinsville
    Oct 24—Charlotte
    Nov 01—Talladega
    Nov 08—Texas
    Nov 15—Phoenix
    Nov 22—Homestead

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