Facebook has Throwback Thursdays, but NASCAR has a throwback weekend each year at Darlington Raceway. The teams display paint schemes from years past with a few drivers saluting their car owners and even themselves from younger days.
In one of the most anticipated weekends in NASCAR, the Monster Energy Cup Series spends the Labor Day weekend running the Bojangles Southern 500 at the track that has been called too tough to tame.
During practice on Friday, Aric Almirola hit the wall hand to go to a backup car; as a result, he will have to start the race from the back of the field.
After failing the pre-qualifying inspection process twice the Leavine Family Racing number 95 car driven by Matt DiBenedetto has had their car chief Greg J. Emmer for the race. DiBenedetto will also lose 15 minutes of practice time next week at The Brickyard.
With a qualifying time of 28.510 seconds around the mile and a third track, William Byron puts his number 24 car on the pole for the fourth time and becomes the youngest driver ever to win the pole at Darlington at age 21. Byron is just the third driver in NASCAR history to win the pole at the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500 in the same year. Bill Elliott and Fireball Roberts were the other two drivers.
During his qualifying run Kyle Busch issues with his engine and after making an engine change he will have to start the race from the back of the field.
The starting lineup for the Bojangles Southern 500:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Martin Truex Jr
Stages one and two of the race are 100 laps each with stage three lasting 167 laps for a total of 367 laps around the mile and a third track.
The drivers cannot complete a stage without making a pit stop. While a fuel load is 65 to 70 laps, the drivers will be wanting tires long before that because the track is very abrasive and tough on tires.
After a rain delay of nearly four hours the drivers finally get into their cars and are ready to race.
After the rain has cleaned off the track, NASCAR has called for a competition caution on lap 35.
NASCAR is having the drivers make extra pace laps while the track driers work to get pit road dry.
Racing before a sell out crowd, William Byron brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the inside land and goes nose to nose with Brad Keselowski before Keselowski finally gets out in front to lead the first lap.
Lap three, Brad Keselowski is in the lead with William Byron and Kurt Busch right behind.
Lap six, Kyle Busch has moved up to 29th place with Brad Keselowski leading the pack.
Lap nine, Kurt Busch gets around William Byron to take second place; Kyle Busch is in 23rd.
Lap 10, Kurt Busch is the fastest car on the track.
Lap 12, Brad Keselowski has a half second lead on Kurt Busch and his bright orange number one car with little brother Kyle has passed nearly half field to take 20th place.
Lap 16, Kurt Busch has closed the gap on leader Brad Keselowski to less than a quarter of a second.
Lap 19, Kurt Busch has caught up to leader Brad Keselowski and has passed Keselowski to take over the lead of the race.
Lap 24, Kurt Busch has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second on Brad Keselowski with William Byron in third. There are 33 cars on the lead lap. Kyle Busch has moved up to 16th place and is in a battle for 15th.
Lap 30, Kurt Busch has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Brad Keselowski. Kyle Busch is in 15th place after starting the race in last place.
Lap 34, William Byron battles Brad Keselowski for second place; Byron takes second place with Kurt Busch leading the race.
The competition caution comes out on lap 36…just in time for Aric Almirola to stay on the lead lap in 31st.
The teams bring their cars down pit road for fresh tires and fuel.
Kurt Busch edges out William Byron in the race off of pit road.
Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 41 and goes nose to nose with William Byron for the lead but it is Kurt Busch who comes out on top and holds on to his lead.
Lap 43, Kurt Busch as a lead of nearly half a second on William Byron. There are 32 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 49, Kurt Busch has a lead of over half a second on William Byron with Kyle Larson in third. Kyle Busch is stuck in 16th place after starting the race in last place.
Lap 53, Kurt Busch has increased his lead to a second over William Byron.
Lap 58, William Byron has closed the gap on leader Kurt Busch to just over half a second with Kyle Larson in third.
Lap 61, Kurt Busch has pulled out to a one second lead on William Byron with 31 cars on the lead lap. Kyle Busch has moved up to 13th place.
Lap 65, the top five are Kurt Busch, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and Jimmie Johnson.
Lap 66, Kurt Busch as increased his lead on William Byron to nearly two seconds.
The caution flag comes out on lap 68 when Garrett Smithley spins out after making contact with David Ragan but keeps the car off the wall.
Many of the drivers are reporting a free condition.
Chase Elliott wins the race off of pit road with Kurt Busch coming out second.
William Byron had a slow pit stop after the tire changers had lug nut issues.
Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 72 but it is Kurt Busch with a little help from Kyle Larson who edges out in front for a short time. Chase Elliott gets out in front but Kurt Busch gives chase and challenges Elliott for the lead.
Lap 75, Chase Elliott is in the lead with Kurt Busch in second and Jimmie Johnson in third.
Kyle Busch is now in the top 10 after gaining six spots after his pit stop.
Lap 78, Kurt Busch challenges Chase Elliott and gets around Elliott for the lead. Jimmie Johnson gets around Elliott for second place.
Lap 81, Kurt Busch has a lead of over half a second on Jimmie Johnson.
Lap 83, Kurt Busch has increased his lead to over a second on Jimmie Johnson with Chase Elliott in third.
Lap 88, Kurt Busch has a lead of over a second and a half on Jimmie Johnson with 32 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 90, Kyle Larson gets around Chase Elliott for third place.
With 10 laps remaining in stage one the top five are Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch.
Lap 92, Kyle Busch is now in fourth place, over four seconds behind big brother, leader Kurt Busch.
Lap 96, Kurt Busch now has a second and a half lead on Jimmie Johnson as Kyle Larson closes in from third place. Fourth place driver Kyle Busch has closed the gap to just over three seconds behind the leader, Kurt Busch.
Kurt Busch wins stage one.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson wins the race off of pit road with Kurt Busch in second and Kyle Busch in third.
For stage two of the race, NBCSports has brought three of the most iconic names in the sport to broadcast the race – Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Petty, and Dale Jarrett.
Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the outside lane on lap 107 and edges out the Busch brothers for the lead.
Lap 110, Kyle Larson has a lead of only two tenths of a second on Kurt Busch. Kyle Busch challenges Jimmie Johnson for third.
Known for the drivers brushing the wall for the “Darlington Stripe”, the outside wall is pretty clean and clear of skid marks.
Lap 115, Kyle Larson has pulled out to nearly a half second lead on Kurt Busch; Jimmie Johnson holds on to third.
Joey Logano scrapes the wall for a “Darlington Stripe”.
Lap 117, Kyle Busch is now in third place behind brother Kurt with Kyle Larson leading the race.
Lap 120, all 39 cars are still on the track with Garrett Smithley in last place seven laps down. Kyle Larson has a half second lead on Kurt Busch. Chase Elliott and Joey Logano battle for position.
Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, and Erik Jones make it three wide in a battle for position.
Lap 129, Kyle Larson has a lead of over half a second on Kurt Busch with Kyle Busch in third over three seconds back. Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.
Kurt Busch has closed the gap on Kyle Larson to less than half a second.
Lap 133, team mates Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch encounter slower traffic as they battle for the lead.
Lap 136, Kyle Larson has a narrow lead on Kurt Busch with 30 cars on the lead lap.
The caution flag comes out on lap 140 when Ryan Newman makes contact with Daniel Suarez and spins out. Newman kept the car off the wall.
Kurt Busch wins the race off of pit road with brother Kyle right behind him.
Kyle Larson’s team had trouble on his pit stop and he came out in 13th place.
Kurt Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 145 but gets a challenge from brother Kyle.
Kurt Busch leads the race with brother Kyle is second and Jimmie Johnson in third.
Lap 149, Kurt Busch as a half second lead on brother Kyle with Jimmie Johnson in third a second back.
Lap 154, Kurt Busch holds on to the lead; Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.
Joey Logano and Chase Elliott are battling hard for position.
Corey LaJoie brings out the caution flag on lap 156 when he hits the wall and has a flat tire.
This time Kyle Busch beats brother Kurt off of pit road for the lead.
Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 163 from the outside lane and jumps out in front for the lead. Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch battle for second.
Lap 166, Kyle Busch ahs a quarter of a second lead on Clint Bowyer with Kurt Busch in third.
Lap 168, Kurt Busch battles Clint Bowyer for second place.
Lap 171, there are battles for position all through the field.
Joey Logano has a a flat tire – right rear – but gets down pit road and the track stays green.
Lap 175, Kyle Busch has pulled out to a lead of two seconds on Clint Bowyer; Kurt Busch is in third over two and a half seconds back.
Lap 180, Kyle Busch’s lead is now three seconds over Clint Bowyer. There are 29 cars on the lead lap.
Martin Truex Jr had to make an unscheduled trip down pit road with a loose tire and is now one lap down.
Lap 185, Kyle Busch is running away with it, he has a lead of over four seconds on Clint Bowyer and brother Kurt.
Lap 188, Kurt Busch has gotten around Clint Bowyer for second place.
Ten laps to go in stage two, Kyle Busch has a lead of over four seconds on Kurt Busch.
Lap 191, Kurt Busch is closing in on brother Kyle; he has cut the gap to the lead to three and a half seconds.
Lap 193, Kurt Busch has closed the gap to just over three seocnds on brother Kyle; Clint Bowyer is in third seven seconds back.
Kyle Larson has an issue on the track.
Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson battle for position when Erik Jones comes from behind them to take fourth place.
The caution flag come out with just four laps remaining in stage two for BJ McLeod who gets into the wall after making contact with Matt Tifft.
Kyle Busch wins stage two under caution.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road with Kyle Larson in second.
Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 205 and jumps out in front for the lead with Erik Jones in second.
The top five are Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Larson.
There are 26 cars on the lead lap with all 39 cars on the track.
Lap 212, Kyle Busch has a lead of over a second on Erik Jones.
Lap 216, Kyle Busch has a lead of over a second and a half on Erik Jones with Denny Hamlin two and a half seconds back in third.
Lap 219, Kyle Busch is beginning to pull away from the field, he has increased his lead to two seconds over Erik Jones.
Lap 222, Kyle Busch increases his lead to two and a half seconds on Erik Jones.
Kevin Harvick is reporting some battery issues and damage to the right front quarter of his car.
Lap 228, Kyle Busch continues to pull away; his lead is now nearly three seconds in front of Erik Jones; Denny Hamlin is in third over four and a half seconds back.
Lap 232, Kyle Busch is motoring despite his team trying to slow him down a bit. Busch has a lead of over two and a half seconds on second place driver Erik Jones.
Lap 237, Kyle Busch’s lead is down to just over two seconds on Erik Jones, with Denny Hamlin over four seconds back in third.
With Kyle Busch in the lead, Joe Gibbs Racing has the top three spots – Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, and Denny Hamlin.
Lap 247 – 120 to go – Kyle Busch has a two and a half second lead on Erik Jones with Denny Hamlin five seconds back in third.
Brad Keselowski brings his car down pit road for a pit stop as green flag pit stops begin. It took two tries for him to get down pit road.
Lap 255, Kyle Busch continues to lead the race with a two and a half second lead on Erik Jones.
Kyle Larson is reporting “a weird feeling” in the car.
Lap 258, leader Kyle Busch finally makes his green flag pit stop, giving the lead over to Daniel Suarez.
Lap 260, Kyle Busch retakes the lead as green flag pit stops cycle through. Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and William Byron round out the top five.
Lap 265, back out in front, Kyle Busch has a lead of nearly a second and a half on Erik Jones with 17 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 272, Ryan Newman’s car is smoking and he has a tire rub after hitting the wall.
The caution flag comes out for a crash involving William Byron, Michael McDowell, Daniel Hemnric, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Kurt Busch. McDowell has some serious damage to his car and reports that he has a flat tire. Daniel Hemric had a flat tire and could not get slowed down, causing some melee.
The wreck proved to be a good thing for Ryan Newman who was going to have to make a pit stop with the tire rub soon.
Kyle Larson wins the race off of pit road. Kyle Busch comes out in third place.
Denny Hamlin gets hit coming down pit road.
It’s 1am on the east coast and there are still 87 laps remaining in the race.
Erik Jones brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 282 with Erik Jones geeting out in front after a back and forth battle with Erik Jones.
Lap 284, the top five are Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Brad Keselowski.
Lap 289, Erik Jones has a narrow lead on Kyle Larson with Kyle Busch in third a second back.
Lap 292, Erik Jones is in the lead with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch right behind.
Lap 294, Kyle Larson challenges Erik Jones for the lead; Kyle Busch is looking to make it a three way battle as he closes in on the duo.
Lap 300, Erik Jones is in the lead but Kyle Larson is on his bumper and looking for the lead.
Lap 302, Erik Jones has a half second lead on Kyle Larson with Kyle Busch in third.
Lap 308, Erik Jones has a half second lead on Kyle Larson with Kyle Busch in third over a second back.
Lap 317, Erik Jones holds on to his half secxond lead over Kyle Larson with Kyle Busch in third over a second back.
Lap 320, drivers begin the final round of green flag pit stops.
Lap 325, Jimmie Johnson is in the lead with Kurt Busch in second.
Lap 327, Jimmie Johnson makes his pit stop and gives the lead over to Erik Jones with Kyle Busch in second.
Lap 331, Erik Jones has a lead of only two tenths of a second on Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson in third.
Only 30 laps remaining in the race; Erik Jones has a half second lead on Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson in third.
With 26 laps remaining in the race, the two Kyles – Busch and Larson – are slowly ctching up to leader Erik jones.
Lap 344, leader Erik Jones put the 15th place driver Joey Logano a lap down.
Lap 347, Erik Jones has pulled out to a one second lead on Kyle Busch.
Alex Bowman gets loose and hits the wall and caused some damage to his car. He has to make an unscheduled trip down pit road for repairs.
Fourteen to go, Erik Jones’ lead is down to under a second on Kyle Busch as Busch slowly cuts into Jones’ lead.
Ten to go, Erik Jones has a half second lead on Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson in third over a second back.
Nine to go, Kyle Busch is slowly catching up to leader Erik Jones, but with only eight laps remaining in the race, does Busch have enough time to get back out in front?
Five to go, Erik Jones brushes the wall but there is no damage and he holds on to the lead.
Three to go, Kyle Busch gets into the wall but the track stays green.
Two to go, Kyle Busch hits the wall again.
Erik Jones takes the white flag.
In a race that took two days to complete, Erik Jones wins the 2019 Southern 500 for his second career win and his first win of the 2019 season.
Thirteen of the 25 races run this season have been won by one of the drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The unofficial results of the Bojangles Southern 500:
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr