Kansas Speedway to host night race for first time
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While there is still a lot of buzz in anticipation of NASCAR's formal 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule release, an important and noteworthy change to a traditional race day was revealed Friday.
Saying it wants to diminish weather concerns and increase fan opportunity, Darlington Raceway announced it will change the date of the one of the sport's most historic races, the Bojangles Southern 500, from Mother's Day weekend to Saturday night, April 12, 2014.
Conversely, Kansas Speedway will race under the lights for the first time Saturday, May 10 -- taking the weekend previously held by Darlington -- and featuring a double-header with the Camping World Truck Series racing May 9 under the lights. Kansas will also host the fourth event of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Oct. 5 -- extending its Chase status to 11 years.
Both tracks are pleased with the swap and believe NASCAR fans are the true winners.
"We've always enjoyed the tradition of racing on Mother's Day weekend, but sometimes a change like this is necessary," Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said.
"We have the opportunity to get a fresh start and embrace a new date on the NASCAR calendar. This will give us a chance to implement many fun and exciting initiatives we'll be rolling out to celebrate our 65th year of racing at the track Too Tough To Tame.
"With the hotter temperatures and humidity in South Carolina in May, weather has always played a factor for our events," Wile noted. "Traditionally, April is a great weather month in our state and will potentially bring slightly cooler temperatures for our fans to enjoy."
And for Kansas Speedway, this is a prime opportunity to showcase its 1.5-miler in primetime.
"Fans continually ask me about a night race and I know that we will have tremendous support from our fans throughout the Midwest for our first Sprint Cup Series night race," Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren said. "Frankly, I look forward to seeing NASCAR under the lights at Kansas Speedway as much as our fans do!"
Night races have traditionally been popular events with fans and competitors. As with Kansas, Darlington's race weekend will be a NASCAR double feature with the Nationwide Series racing on Friday night, April 11.