Bright Outlook For Darlington

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They are being referred to as the "Night Riders," three legendary Darlington Raceway champions scheduled to run the first exhibition laps under the lights at the famed facility.

It is indeed a new era at NASCAR's most historic track. On Tuesday evening, August 24, the track "Too Tough To Tame" will throw open the gates and welcome the public for the very first look at Darlington's new facility lighting system.

The event is free and the public is invited.

Serving fans their first taste of cars on the track under the lights will be David Pearson, three-time Cup Series champion and Darlington's all-time winner with 10 Cup victories; Cale Yarborough, the only driver to win three consecutive Cup Series championships, who is currently tied for all-time wins in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 (5 wins); and Jeff Gordon, four-time Cup Series champion and the most successful active driver at Darlington, tied with Cale Yarborough for all-time Mountain Dew Southern 500 wins and third on Darlington's all-time win (6 career wins) list behind Pearson (10) and Dale Earnhardt (9).

The exhibition laps will be followed by question-and-answer sessions with Pearson, Yarborough and Gordon.

The first race to be completely run under the lights at Darlington will be the Darlington 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, kicking off the Mountain Dew Southern 500 weekend on Friday evening, November 12. Tentative start time for that event is 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 13 will feature the NASCAR Busch Series drivers in the South Carolina 200. Brian Vickers won that event in 2003.

On Sunday, November 14, the 55th running of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 will see its closing laps and checkered flag under the lights on Sunday, November 14, the next-to-last race of the 2004 Nextel Cup Series season and a pivotal event in the chase for the series championship.

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