Five hundred miles at Darlington Raceway. It’s a challenging, exhausting endeavor – and on Saturday night, the Southern 500 needed overtime. Of course it did.
In a busy storybook weekend of NASCAR and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship racing, that was the necessary outcome.
Seven races were run in three countries and on two continents for a total of 989 laps and 1,169 miles. Victory belonged to 10 different drivers during the weekend, yet there was one clear winner above all: The fans.
They saw a little bit of everything during this memorable weekend…
- In a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race seven laps past its scheduled distance of 367 laps, Kevin Harvick became the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season’s first two-time winner – not to mention the first to virtually lock-up a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His two wins guarantee him a place on the 16-driver Chase Grid, provided he finishes in the top 30 after race No. 26 and attempts to qualify for every race.
- Rising star Chase Elliott won his second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series race, becoming the youngest winner in Darlington history. The 18-year-old’s navigation of the egg-shaped track reminded many of his championship-winning father, Bill Elliott, who himself won five times at Darlington.
- Scott Pruett, arguably the greatest sports car driver in North America right now, won his second consecutive Prototype race of this TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut season. With teammate Memo Rojas, from Mexico City, the pair followed its win at Sebring with a victory in Long Beach, Calif. It was Pruett’s 58th career victory, extending his lead on the all-time North American professional sports car racing win list.
- In the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR Championship at Long Beach, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia teamed to capture the first win for the recently unveiled Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
- Ander Vilarino, who took home the championship in each of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ two years of existence, was victorious in the second Elite 1 race of the Valencia NASCAR Fest weekend in Spain. Yann Zimmer, a 23-year-old and last year’s rookie of the year, won Saturday’s Elite 1 season opener in Valencia.
- George Brunnhoelzl III scored his first victory in this “Drive for Five” season. The four-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion led a race-high 69 laps Saturday at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
- Daniel Suárez continued his two-country success story, scoring his second win of the 2014 NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series season. Suárez, who also has two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victories, won at the Súper Óvalo Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
And now, a break – sort of. Engines will silence for much of NASCAR and the TUDOR Championship this weekend, in observance of the Easter holiday.
But, there will be some on-track action for those needing a fix. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will race at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C., on Saturday. For live updates throughout race day, log onto NASCARHomeTracks.com.
And for continuous coverage of the first portion of this storyline-rich season, visit NASCAR.com and IMSA.com.