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NASCAR restores a beloved Labor Day weekend tradition

NASCAR is moving its Southern 500 race back to Labor Day weekend, USA Today reports.

The first Southern 500 took place on Labor Day in 1950 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. It turned into a beloved tradition, until NASCAR moved the date back in 2003. For the past 12 years, the race has been continuously moving around the calendar, with dates ranging from April to November.

This year’s Southern 500 is scheduled for Sunday, and Darlington residents are elated.

It’s their biggest and most anticipated event of the year, and Darlingtonians were nervous that moving its date was the beginning of the end. With racetracks popping up all over the Midwest, people were anxious that the town wouldn’t host any races anymore.

This return means a lot to Darlington. Frank Willis, whose father helped build Darlington Raceway, says,

Bringing the 500 back is somewhat of a statement from NASCAR that Darlington is still one of the more venerable sites…. For NASCAR to go back to Labor Day was a very positive statement that Darlington is going to be viable for a long time to come.