Darlington (S.C.) Raceway is an egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles in length – the odd shape stems from a promise track founder Harold Brasington made to Sherman Ramsey, the neighboring farm owner, that he wouldn’t disturb his minnow pond when the track was built in 1949. As a result, the western half of the track features a tighter radius in the turns.
The odd shape means that, to find the fast way around the track, drivers run extremely close to the outside walls in each turn. They sometimes brush up against them and thus earn what has affectionately become known as a “Darlington Stripe” on the right side of the car. And the black marks left on the walls by the tires rubbing up against them all race weekend have led to one of the track’s nicknames, “The Lady in Black.”
Given the difficulties the track presents, in the years since it was built, Darlington has been called one of the toughest of all tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, so much so that years ago it was also nicknamed “The Track Too Tough To Tame.”
When NASCAR teams return to the historic track for Sunday’s iconic Southern 500, the NASCAR industry will honor a part of the heritage of the sport by celebrating the era of racing from 1975 to 1984 with a throw-back theme. As part of the celebration, Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will feature a special retro paint scheme that incorporates the traditional blue, white and brown colors of Nature’s Bakery, along with a touch of woodgrain finish rounding out the vintage look.
In four Sprint Cup starts at “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” Patrick has earned a few “Darlington Stripes.” Her best Sprint Cup finish at the track is a 22nd-place result she earned in 2014.
In last year’s race at Darlington, Patrick was relegated to a 42nd-place finish after contact with the outside wall left the No. 10 Chevrolet with damage that was too significant to repair.
In her lone Xfinity Series start at the track, Patrick started 15th and took home a 15th-place finish.
As Sprint Cup teams return to Darlington for Sunday’s Southern 500, Patrick and her No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS team will be looking to conquer “The Track Too Tough To Tame” in an effort to improve upon her record at the track.