Darlington Raceway Dedicates NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Garage To Cale Yarboroughby Hunter Thomas September 3, 2016
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Darlington Raceway named its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage after Timmonsville’s Cale Yarborough, during a ceremony on Saturday morning.
Yarborough isn’t just a local to the Pee Dee area. He’s also a NASCAR Hall of Famer and a five-time winner of the Southern 500. His first victory at the Lady in Black came in 1968. He won back-to-back Southern 500 events from 1973 to 1974, and he also won in 1978. Yarborough’s final victory at the historic track came in 1982. On Sunday, prior to the green flag of the Bojangles’ Southern 500, Yarborough will serve as the honorary pace car driver.
“Darlington Raceway is a historic racetrack,” Darlington Raceway President, Kerry Tharp said. “In my mind and in the minds of the folks around this area, it is an icon in NASCAR. The gentleman sitting to my right is an icon in our sport. Cale Yarborough is a Timmonsville, South Carolina native and was elected into the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He has five wins at this hometown track of his, all coming in the Southern 500 on Labor Day.”
These days, Yarborough owns and operates a Honda dealership on West Palmetto Street in Florence. Although Cale is no longer competing behind the steering wheel, Darlington Raceway still means a lot to him. While he was born just one county over from the track, Too Tough To Tame, Yarborough says that he still gets goose bumps when he makes a visit. Yarborough has 49 career starts at Darlington Raceway.
“It means an awful lot to me,” Yarborough said. “I was born and raised just across a few swamps from here, and Darlington Raceway has always been my favorite racetrack in the world. To have this honor, it’s just great. It’s something that I will always remember, and I still get goose bumps when I come around this race.”
Yarborough saw his first race at Darlington Raceway in 1951. He didn’t have any money for a ticket, so the young South Carolinian walked around the track, searching for place in the fence that he could slip under. Once he and his friends located a prime location, they slipped underneath the fence and watched the race.
“This is a special racetrack, because it is the first superspeedway. Harold Brasington had a great idea, where he decided to build this race. I came over here in 1951, I believe with some friends of mine from school. I didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket to get in, so I walked around the racetrack and found a place in the fence to try enough I thought I could slip under, and that’s what I did. I slipped under the fence.”
Throughout the 77-year old’s career, Yarborough has amassed three championships, 83 wins, 69 poles, 255 top-five and 319 top-10 finishes in 560 starts. Yarborough’s legacy will always represent the hard-working persona that South Carolinians take to heart; however, the massive metal archway that hangs above the entrance to the garage area is now a permanent edifice at Darlington Raceway.
Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas