Darlington's Southern 500 moving to April

ashain@thestate.comOctober 11, 2013 

The crowd at the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway this May.

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com

Darlington Raceway's Bojangles’ Southern 500 will move a month earlier next year to April 12.

NASCAR held the race on the Saturday before Mother's Day since 2005 -- the first year the track lost its second race.

Darlington had races in March or April and Labor Day weekend for decades. Average temperatures are cooler in April than in May, the track noted.

The average daily high in Darlington in mid-April is 75 degrees, compared to 83 degree in mid-May, according to historical records from the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Lows average 49 degrees in April 13 versus 58 degrees in May.

Average rainfall in Darlington is about the same between mid-April and mid-May.

Darlington also hopes to lure more college students from the 10 schools within a 100-mile radius of the track on the weekend before Easter.

“College students always enjoy the atmosphere we provide at our racing events, but it could be sometimes tough for them to attend in May with finals and graduations taking place at that time,” new track president Chip Wile said in a statement. The race weekend schedule will remain the same from recent years with both Nationwide and Sprint Cup races running at night.

The Nationwide race will run on Friday, April 11, and the Sprint Cup race on Saturday night, April 12. Tickets go on sale Nov. 29.

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