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Sunday, May 1 at 11 p.m. – Lady in Black: Super Speedway

(Rochester, NY) – NASCAR fans won't want to miss WXXI's presentation of Lady in Black: Super Speedway on Sunday, May 1 at 11:00 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). Using a blend of original and NASCAR footage, this fast-paced program tracks the history of the Darlington Raceway, as told by the true legends of the sport, including Cale Yarborough, Cotton Owens, Junior Johnson, and David Pearson as well as some of today's biggest names, such as Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Richard Childress, and the "Iron Man" of the Nationwide Series, Jason Keller.

The Darlington Raceway is home to the first paved track, the first superspeedway, the first Winston Million win, and the first 500 mile race. The first track where doors were fitted with braces to absorb the impact of cars (inevitably) hitting the wall is Darlington. The closest finish and also the largest margin of victory in NASCAR history is also recorded at Darlington. These are just a few of the historic events that have taken place at the Darlington Raceway in its 60 year history.  It has become a pillar of the NASCAR circuit, and has been compared to such other sports meccas as Lambeau Field, the "House that Ruth Built," the Kentucky Derby and The Masters.

Yarborough recounts how his life changed forever the day he snuck under a fence to see the second race at Darlington, and he knew what he wanted to do. He (and a few others) also tell of the 1965 race where his car completely flipped over the guardrail wall of the racetrack. Since emergency vehicles couldn't get to him, he had to pull himself out of the car.

Johnson talks about his transition from running moonshine as a bootlegger to racing professionally. Gordon talks about not backing down to Burton to win his fourth Darlington victory and the Winston Million in 1997. Meanwhile Burton says of his two 1999 Darlington victories, "When I look at my trophies, the Southern 500 stands out." Thanks to Baker Curb Racing, ETV gives fans a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, riding along in the big rig as the Number 27 car is brought through the tunnel, and then prepared for the big race. Keller was driving for Baker Curb Racing in 2009 when the documentary was shot, and this year the Greenville native is closing in on his 500th start, which very well might take place at Darlington. Interviews with everyone from track officials to fans who have been returning to camp in the infield year after year, help define what makes Darlington so unique, and has become the single biggest weekend event in the Palmetto State. 

Photo: Darlington Speedway
Credit: scetv.org

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