|NASCAR Cup Series|
|Location||Darlington, South Carolina, United States|
|Distance||501.322 miles (806.800 km)|
|Laps||367 (Stages 1/2: 100 each|
Final stage: 167)
|Previous names||Southern 500 (1950-1988)|
Heinz Southern 500 (1989-1991)
Mountain Dew Southern 500 (1992-1997, 2001-2004)
Pepsi Southern 500 (1998-2000)
Dodge Charger 500 (2005-2006)
Dodge Avenger 500 (2007)
Dodge Challenger 500 (2008)
Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com (2009)
Showtime Southern 500 (2010-2011)
Bojangles' Southern 500 (2012-2019)
|Most wins (driver)||Jeff Gordon (6)|
|Most wins (team)||Hendrick Motorsports (11)|
|Most wins (manufacturer)||Chevrolet (27)|
|Length||1.366 mi (2.198 km)|
The Southern 500 is a NASCAR Cup Series stock car race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, United States. The race distance is 501 miles (806 km) and consists of 367 laps. From 1950 to 2003, and again since 2015, the race has been held on Labor Day weekend. The Southern 500 is largely considered one of the Crown Jewels of the NASCAR calendar, and has been nicknamed NASCAR's "oldest superspeedway race." For decades, the race has been considered by competitors and media as one of the more difficult and challenging races on the NASCAR schedule, owing much to the track's unusual, asymmetrical egg-shape, rough pavement, and overall unforgiving nature. Darlington Raceway itself has a long and storied reputation as the "Track Too Tough to Tame."
The race is held on Labor Day weekend and is the first race of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, in the Round of 16.
The Southern 500 has a storied history, including Bill Elliott famously winning the Winston Million in 1985, and Jeff Gordon doing the same in 1997. It is also the site of Darrell Waltrip's final career victory (1992).
Through 2004, Darlington held two Cup series races annually, the Southern 500 in the fall, and a 400-mile event in the spring. In 2004, the Southern 500 was moved to November and was run as the second-to-last race in the inaugural Chase for the Championship. The following year, as the result of a settlement in the Ferko lawsuit, Darlington lost one of its two dates. The 500-mile race was moved to the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend in May, and renamed for the sponsorship of Dodge. The race was held as a night race under-the-lights during this period.
The event re-assumed the Southern 500 name in 2009, and in 2015, moved back to its traditional Labor Day weekend date. Since 2015, the race weekend has been themed "NASCAR Throwback," with many cars fielding "Throwback" paint schemes.
The trophy features photos of all the past winners of the race.
The race began in 1950, as NASCAR's first 500-mile race, and it was the only race of such distance until the Daytona 500 debuted in 1959. Through most of its history the race was one of NASCAR's premier events, and was known as one of four majors on the NASCAR circuit. From 1985-1997, it served as the fourth race of the popular Winston Million. Two drivers, Bill Elliott (1985) and Jeff Gordon (1997), clinched the Winston Million with victories in the Southern 500.
The Southern 500 was one of the last races on the circuit to embrace naming rights in its title. In 1989, the race added Heinz as a title sponsor, but kept the traditional "Southern" moniker in its official name. From 1992 to 2004, it was sponsored by PepsiCo products (Pepsi or Mountain Dew).
For the 2004 season, a realignment of the NASCAR schedule saw the race move to November. Track management believed the November date would allow for cooler, more comfortable weather for fans, who had increasingly voiced concerns about the hot, humid, weather. In addition, it meant the race would be part of the new Chase for the Championship. Rockingham lost its fall date to Fontana, and the Pop Secret 500 was moved to the prestigious Labor Day weekend date.
In 2004, Francis Ferko, a shareholder of the company that owned Texas Motor Speedway, sued NASCAR, saying they had violated antitrust laws by refusing to have a second race at Texas Motor Speedway, as many other tracks had. The case was settled in his favor, and NASCAR was forced to give up one of its Darlington dates so that a second race could be held at Texas.
Starting in 2005, Darlington was forced to contract down to one race per year. Officials replaced Darlington's two events with one 500-mile race. In addition, the event's traditional moniker "Southern 500" was dropped for the time being. The race was situated on the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend in mid-May. Mother's Day weekend was a date that was mostly avoided by NASCAR. In recent decades, the Nashville 420 had used the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend for a time until it was discontinued in 1984. Moving the Darlington race to May loosely mimicked the period in which the spring race, once known as the Rebel 500, was held on or around Confederate Memorial Day.
Dodge, which had been sponsoring Darlington's 400 mile spring race at that point, took over sponsorship of the 500-miler. The title of the race was based on various Dodge models through 2008, including the Charger, Challenger, and Avenger. The race would be held under-the-lights, and proved to be well-attended.
Without a title sponsor for 2009, the race tentatively re-adopted the generic moniker of "Southern 500." Track officials and fans were anxious to revive the traditional name. GoDaddy was signed as presenting sponsor, and it became known as the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com for 2009.
While enjoying renewed success in attendance and popularity in May, there was still desire by some fans, media, and others to move the race back to its traditional Labor Day date. Especially after replacement races (Fontana and Atlanta) failed to gain any foothold on the desirable Labor Day weekend holiday slot. Bruton Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports even offered to buy the Darlington track in order to return it to Labor Day weekend and "get it back where it belongs."
In 2014, the race switched dates with the spring Kansas race, and ran in the second weekend in April. This change, like the one ten years earlier, would only last a year. The 2014 race was still run at night, whereas the Kansas race on that date had been run during the afternoon.
A revived interest in moving the Southern 500 back to Labor Day grew over the summer of 2014. In August 2014, it was announced that the 2015 Southern 500 would return to its traditional Labor Day weekend slot, the first time since 2003. To combat the issue of heat and humidity that had resulted in the race originally being moved, the race is currently run Sunday night of Labor Day weekend, under the lights, with temperatures being cooler than they are during daytime hours.
To celebrate the return of the race to its traditional weekend, a concerted and highly publicized effort among NASCAR, the track, and teams was made to theme the weekend a "NASCAR Throwback." Thirty-two cars in the 43 car field ran throwback paint schemes during the event, with various other throwback aspects planned throughout the weekend. It was announced days before the race that legendary broadcasters Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett would announce part of the race. Some hour into the broadcasting, Squier, and the Jarretts called the race lap-by-lap for about an hour. NBC, which also utilized its logos from the 1970s during the broadcast, was widely praised by many for bringing back old memories in the sport. The success of the event led to a nomination for Sports Event of the Year.
Due to the success and popularity in 2015, the "Throwback" theme for the weekend has been made a permanent fixture of the event. The Labor Day weekend races (1950-2003) and the November race (2004), have been combined with the ten May/April races (2005-2014) and the Labor Day weekend races since 2015, to create a continuous lineage of the Southern 500 dating from 1950 to present.
Bojangles' ended its title sponsorship of the race after the 2019 race.
While still being held on Labor Day weekend, the Southern 500 became the first race of the Round of 16. The race was previously held in the playoffs when it began in 2004.
|Year||Day||Date||No.||Driver||Team||Manufacturer||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|1950||Monday||September 4||98||Johnny Mantz||Hubert Westmoreland||Plymouth||400||500 (804.672)||6:38:40||75.25||Report|
|1951||Monday||September 3||92||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Hudson||400||500 (804.672)||6:30:05||76.906||Report|
|1952||Monday||September 1||14||Fonty Flock||Frank Christian||Oldsmobile||400||500 (804.672)||6:42:37||74.512||Report|
|1953||Monday||September 7||87||Buck Baker||Bob Griffin||Oldsmobile||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:23:19||92.881||Report|
|1954||Monday||September 6||92||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Hudson||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:16:01||95.026||Report|
|1955||Monday||September 5||92||Herb Thomas||Herb Thomas||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:25:25||92.281||Report|
|1956||Monday||September 3||99||Curtis Turner||Charlie Schwam||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:15:33||95.167||Report|
|1957||Monday||September 2||46||Speedy Thompson||Speedy Thompson||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||5:00:01||100.094||Report|
|1958||Monday||September 1||22||Fireball Roberts||Frank Strickland||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:52:44||102.585||Report|
|1959||Monday||September 7||7||Jim Reed||Jim Reed||Chevrolet||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:28:30||111.836||Report|
|1960||Monday||September 5||47||Buck Baker||Jack Smith||Pontiac||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:43:34||105.901||Report|
|1961||Monday||September 4||29||Nelson Stacy||Dudley Farrell||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:54:45||117.787||Report|
|1962||Monday||September 3||66||Larry Frank||Ratus Walters||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:14:34||117.965||Report|
|1963||Monday||September 2||22||Fireball Roberts||Holman-Moody||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:51:23||129.784||Report|
|1964||Monday||September 7||3||Buck Baker||Ray Fox||Dodge||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:15:01||117.757||Report|
|1965||Monday||September 6||11||Ned Jarrett||Bondy Long||Ford||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:19:09||115.878||Report|
|1966||Monday||September 5||16||Darel Dieringer||Bud Moore Engineering||Mercury||364||500.5 (805.476)||4:21:31||114.83||Report|
|1967||Monday||September 4||43||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:50:15||130.423||Report|
|1968||Monday||September 2||21||Cale Yarborough||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||364||500.5 (805.476)||3:58:05||126.132||Report|
|1969||Monday||September 1||98||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||230*||316.25 (508.955)||2:59:40||105.612||Report|
|1970||Monday||September 7||6||Buddy Baker||Cotton Owens||Dodge||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:55:03||128.817||Report|
|1971||Monday||September 6||21||Bobby Allison||Holman-Moody||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:48:55||131.398||Report|
|1972||Monday||September 4||12||Bobby Allison||Richard Howard||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:46||128.124||Report|
|1973||Monday||September 3||11||Cale Yarborough||Richard Howard||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:44:25||134.033||Report|
|1974||Monday||September 2||11||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:30:48||111.075||Report|
|1975||Monday||September 1||16||Bobby Allison||Penske Racing||AMC||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:17:28||116.825||Report|
|1976||Monday||September 6||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:09:33||120.534||Report|
|1977||Monday||September 5||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:41:48||106.797||Report|
|1978||Monday||September 4||11||Cale Yarborough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:17:46||116.828||Report|
|1979||Monday||September 3||2||David Pearson||Rod Osterlund Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:58:14||126.259||Report|
|1980||Monday||September 1||44||Terry Labonte||Billy Hagan||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:21:05||115.21||Report|
|1981||Monday||September 7||21||Neil Bonnett||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:57||126.41||Report|
|1982||Monday||September 6||27||Cale Yarborough||M. C. Anderson Racing||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:21:00||115.224||Report|
|1983||Monday||September 5||22||Bobby Allison||DiGard Motorsports||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:03:52||123.343||Report|
|1984||Sunday||September 2||33||Harry Gant||Mach 1 Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:02||128.27||Report|
|1985||Sunday||September 1||9||Bill Elliott*||Melling Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:02||121.254||Report|
|1986||Sunday||August 31||25||Tim Richmond||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:45||121.068||Report|
|1987||Sunday||September 6||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||202*||275.932 (444.069)||2:23:19||115.52||Report|
|1988||Sunday||September 4||9||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:54:27||128.297||Report|
|1989||Sunday||September 3||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:42:03||135.462||Report|
|1990||Sunday||September 2||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:04:16||123.141||Report|
|1991||Sunday||September 1||33||Harry Gant||Leo Jackson Racing||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:45:18||133.508||Report|
|1992||Sunday||September 6||17||Darrell Waltrip||DarWal, Inc.||Chevrolet||298*||407.068 (655.112)||3:09:10||129.114||Report|
|1993||Sunday||September 5||6||Mark Martin||Roush Racing||Ford||351*||479.466 (771.625)||3:28:34||137.932||Report|
|1994||Sunday||September 4||11||Bill Elliott||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:55:05||127.952||Report|
|1995||Sunday||September 3||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:07||121.231||Report|
|1996||Sunday||September 1||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:41:34||135.757||Report|
|1997||Sunday||August 31||24||Jeff Gordon*||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:08:17||121.149||Report|
|1998||Sunday||September 6||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:36:21||139.031||Report|
|1999||Sunday||September 5||99||Jeff Burton||Roush Racing||Ford||270*||368.82 (593.558)||3:25:15||107.816||Report|
|2000||Sunday||September 3||18||Bobby Labonte||Joe Gibbs Racing||Pontiac||328*||448.048 (721.063)||4:08:20||108.273||Report|
|2001||Sunday||September 2||22||Ward Burton||Bill Davis Racing||Dodge||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:05:00||122.773||Report|
|2002||Sunday||September 1||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:13:35||118.617||Report|
|2003||Sunday||August 31||5||Terry Labonte||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:09:08||120.733||Report|
|2004||Sunday||November 14||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:00:33||125.044||Report|
|2005||Saturday||May 7||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Racing||Ford||370*||505.42 (813.394)||4:06:29||123.031||Report|
|2006||Saturday||May 13||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:42:36||135.127||Report|
|2007||Sunday||May 13*||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:01:50||124.372||Report|
|2008||Saturday||May 10||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:34:19||140.35||Report|
|2009||Saturday||May 9||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:11:19||119.687||Report|
|2010||Saturday||May 8||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:35||126.605||Report|
|2011||Saturday||May 7||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||370*||505.42 (813.394)||3:53:51||129.678||Report|
|2012||Saturday||May 12||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||368*||502.688 (808.997)||3:45:25||133.802||Report|
|2013||Saturday||May 11||20||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:32:45||141.383||Report|
|2014||Saturday||April 12||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||374*||510.884 (822.188)||3:53:37||131.211||Report|
|2015||Sunday||September 6||19||Carl Edwards||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:28:35||111.993||Report|
|2016||Sunday||September 4||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:54||126.437||Report|
|2017||Sunday||September 3||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:46:34||132.761||Report|
|2018||Sunday||September 2||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:48:54||131.408||Report|
|September 1-2||20||Erik Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:44:46||133.825||Report|
|# Wins||Driver||Years Won|
|6||Jeff Gordon||1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007|
|5||Cale Yarborough||1968, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982|
|4||Bobby Allison||1971, 1972, 1975, 1983|
|3||Herb Thomas||1951, 1954, 1955|
|Buck Baker||1953, 1960, 1964|
|David Pearson||1976, 1977, 1979|
|Dale Earnhardt||1987, 1989, 1990|
|Bill Elliott||1985, 1988, 1994|
|2||Fireball Roberts||1958, 1963|
|Harry Gant||1984, 1991|
|Terry Labonte||1980, 2003|
|Mark Martin||1993, 2009|
|Greg Biffle||2005, 2006|
|Jimmie Johnson||2004, 2012|
|Denny Hamlin||2010, 2017|
|# Wins||Team||Years Won|
|11||Hendrick Motorsports||1986, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998,|
2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009,
|7||Joe Gibbs Racing||2000, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015,|
|4||Junior Johnson & Associates||1969, 1974, 1978, 1994|
|Roush Racing||1993, 1999, 2005, 2006|
|Wood Brothers Racing||1968, 1976, 1977, 1981|
|3||Herb Thomas||1951, 1954, 1955|
|Richard Childress Racing||1987, 1989, 1990|
|Richard Howard||1972, 1973|
|Melling Racing||1985, 1988|
|Furniture Row Racing||2011, 2016|
|Team Penske||1975, 2018|
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|27||Chevrolet||1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1972,|
1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1984,
1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992,
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002,
2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011,
|15||Ford||1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965,|
1969, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1993,
1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2018
|7||Toyota||2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016,|
|5||Mercury||1966, 1968, 1971, 1976, 1977|
|4||Oldsmobile||1952, 1953, 1978, 1991|
|3||Dodge||1964, 1970, 2001|