A Better Darlington

NASCAR Hall of Fame member Terry Labonte Wednesday afternoon talks about his experiences at Darlington Raceway during a press conference to announce planned improvements at the track.

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte will serve as co-Grand Marshals for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade, the track announced today.

The Labonte brothers, both NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees (Terry in 2016, Bobby in 2020), will be two of many former and current stars of the sport that will be participating in the annual event.

The parade, scheduled to approximately begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, will take a new route throughout the City of Darlington this year. A map of the parade route is attached.

The parade will begin on the city’s east side at Cashua and Spain Streets, continue through the downtown square and end at Fitness World Gym on the west side of town (similar to Darlington’s Christmas Parade route). The Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade will not end at Darlington Raceway like in year’s past.

Bojangles Southern 500 Parade Map

“It’s exciting that brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte will serve as grand marshals for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade. The parade is always a fan favorite for our local residents and fans,” track President Kerry Tharp said. “We altered the route a bit this year due to the lack of daylight for the parade. The Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race is beginning 30 minutes later then in year’s past, giving us a smaller window for adequate daylight. We felt that revising the route to remain in the city limits of Darlington would provide our fans with a greater opportunity to see the NASCAR Hall of Famers and legends up close and personal, while providing a safe and well-lit environment.”

Terry Labonte 2003 Southern 500 win

Terry Labonte celebrates the final victory of his Cup career, which was 15 years ago today.

The Labonte brothers have a rich history in the sport and at Darlington Raceway. Both are former NASCAR Cup Series champions (Terry in 1984 and 1996; Bobby in 2000) and both are former Bojangles’ Southern 500 winners. Terry won his first career NASCAR Cup Series race in 1980 at the Bojangles’ Southern 500 and his last career NASCAR Cup Series race in 2003 likewise at the Bojangles’ Southern 500. Bobby took the checkered flag at the 2000 Bojangles’ Southern 500.

Bobby Allison

Bobby Allison photographed in Richmond Sept. 10, 1971

Each also own a pair of NASCAR XFINITY Series victories at Darlington. The Labonte brothers will be joined by an all-star cast of participants for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade, including fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison, Leonard Wood, Ray Evernham, Dale Inman, Waddell Wilson, and Ron Hornaday Jr.

Current driver of the No. 38 Shriner’s Hospital Ford David Ragan is scheduled to attend, as are motorsports legends Ricky Craven, Larry McReynolds, Donnie Allison, Robert Pressley, Chuck Bown, Steve Grissom, Tommy Houston, and Jason Keller.

On-air talent from NBC and MRN have also participated in the parade every year since it returned to Darlington in 2015, and they will do so again in 2019.

“We appreciate the participation of so many of our NASCAR Hall of Famers, legends and current drivers in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade. It truly is a who’s-who of the sport’s stars,” Tharp said. “We thank NBC and MRN for also being involved in the parade. It’s nice to see the on-air talent from our broadcast partners enjoying themselves at this event. It should be an exciting event for everyone involved.”

The parade is slated to begin at approximately 7 p.m., one hour after the conclusion of the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 race.

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