DARLINGTON, S.C. —Bojangles’, the main sponsor of NASCAR’s Southern 500 since 2012, will not be the main sponsor of the 2020 event. On Darlington Raceway’s website, a new logo is associated with the promotion of the 2020 Southern 500, and it does not contain the word “Bojangles.’”
“Bojangles’ has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with the team at Darlington Raceway. While we will no longer be the title sponsor for the Southern 500, NASCAR remains an important part of our sports marketing strategy, and we look forward to announcing our plans for 2020 in the near future,” said Brian K. Little, head of communications for Bojangles’, in an email to the Morning News.
As for the Southern 500 itself next year, the race is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 on Labor Day weekend at Darlington. This has been the spot on NASCAR’s schedule since the race returned to Labor Day weekend in 2015. When the Southern 500 started in 1950, it was on Labor Day or Labor Day weekend from 1950 until 2003. There was a November Southern 500 in 2004. Then, it moved to the spring from 2005 through ’14.
“We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with Bojangles’ since 2012 and we look forward to their continued involvement in NASCAR for many years to come,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp texted the Morning News. “Like Darlington, they are truly an authentic Southern brand.”
Last week, NASCAR announced for 2020 its top series will be known as the NASCAR Cup Series and will feature four cornerstone brands as Premier Partners: Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO and Xfinity.
The Southern 500’s first main sponsor was Heinz, from 1989 to 1991. Mountain Dew had that role from 1992 to 1997, and 2001 to 2004, Pepsi from 1998 to 2000.
The Darlington races from 2005 through 2008 are counted as Southern 500s, but those events were then known by different names: In 2005-06, although those two races are counted today as Southern 500s, it was known back then as the Dodge Charger 500. Then, the Dodge Avenger 500 (2007) and Dodge Challenger 500 (2008).
In 2009, the “Southern 500” name officially returned in this form: The Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. And in 2010 and ’11, it was known as the Showtime Southern 500.