Southern 500 at Darlington Features Throw-back Theme, Truex Jr. Wins


The Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sunday night at Darlington Raceway looked like the days of Petty, Pearson, and the Allison Brothers asdrivers piloted cars with paint schemes reminiscent of the good old days. Kevin Harvick led 214 of the 367 laps, but Martin Truex Jr. led the most important one, taking home his second win of the season. Truex Jr. followed up his May victory in the 600 Classic at Charlotte with a win on the “Track too Tough to Tame” giving him victories in two of the Jewels of the NASCAR circuit and he just missed winning the triple crown by a matter of inches with his loss to Denny Hamlin at the season opening Daytona 500.In keeping with the throw-back theme, NBC turned the broadcast booth over to Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett, and Dale Jarrett for 70 plus laps, even dusting off the old Peacock logo that adorned the network’s programs at the advent of color television. The crowd seemed to embrace the retro theme as the grandstands were packed, a bit of a throw-back for NASCAR too, considering the shrinking attendance at most tracks in recent years.Ford drivers Joey Logano (5th) and Brad Keselowski (9th) again delivered strong performances and look to be the Blue Oval’s best chance of winning a championship. Chris Buescher finished 17th and held onto the 30th position in the points, extending his playoff qualifying lead over David Ragan to 11 points. Buescher can wrap up his playoff spot by finishing no more than 10 positions behind Ragan in next Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It will take a victory by a Ford driver in the top 30 in points to crash the playoff party as Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne were officially eliminated from qualifying on points.