The Lady in Black, as Darlington Raceway has been notably named for decades, will have a new face in 2013 as Paige Duke will serve as the track’s official “The Lady in Black” for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend on May 10-11.
Duke, a former Miss Sprint Cup and current model, will be present during the race weekend and other track events throughout the year proudly wearing a black fire suit and representing Darlington Raceway. Her local ties are in the state of South Carolina as she hails from nearby Lancaster, S.C. and is a graduate of Clemson University.
“I am honored to be “The Lady in Black” for Darlington Raceway. This is one of the most exciting opportunities I have ever had and definitely is the closest to my heart. I love Darlington Raceway,” Duke said. “I grew up going to races there with my Dad and we always pass the track on the way to the beach. There is just something special about this track. It just reminds me of the good ole’ days…real, exciting racing!
“There is so much history there and such a connection with many South Carolinians from Hall of fame drivers, to a Miss Sprint Cup, to the fans! My distant cousin is Harold Brasington, who built the track. It will always be the original crown jewel of racing!”
Besides her role serving as Miss Sprint Cup in 2010-11, Duke is the national spokesperson for Kruger Farms, an online outdoor outfitter in Minnesota, and was cast in the CMT hit show Sweet Home Alabama for two seasons in 2011 and 2012. She is also a model for various national campaigns and works as a veterinary technician in Lancaster.
The “Lady in Black” slogan was first used in the mid-1960’s when reporters covering the race from the press box referred to it as such, stemming from the black asphalt, which was considered “the dress” of a track known for being treacherously difficult to drive.
The fierce competition and the toughness that the track brings to the sport has made the Lady in Black what it is today, the track Too Tough to Tame.
“Paige Duke is the perfect fit to serve as our Lady in Black,” Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning said. “She is a local South Carolinian who is bringing the Lady in Black to life. Darlington Raceway is special in the sport of NASCAR racing and she is the best person to fulfill this unique role for us.”
Darlington Raceway PR