A lot of NASCAR pros have earned their black Darlington Stripes since 1950. But some co-op help will yield green ones for drivers who will vie for the checkered flag at the fabled raceway on Labor Day weekend.
“We’re painting a green stripe along the wall at turn four,” said Jeff Singletary of Darlington, South Carolina-based Pee Dee Electric Cooperative. “That stripe represents the renewable Green Power used throughout the weekend by NASCAR fans, crews and drivers.”
The “Darlington Stripe” refers to body scoring that occurs when a race car scrapes a guard rail or barrier wall on an outside turn at the raceway.
“Darlington Raceway and Pee Dee Electric go the extra mile for their commitment to Green Power and environmental stewardship,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and CEO. “Innovative partnerships like this one allow us to continue to expand Green Power throughout the state.”
Raceway operators will use about 1,200 megawatts of electricity Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4. The Sports Clips Haircuts 200 is set for Sept. 2, but the co-op’s sponsorship with Santee Cooper’s is set for the longer Bojangles Southern 500, Sept. 3. Green Power signage will be on display throughout the weekend.
The narrow second turn of the 1.25-mile oval track will host the bright green paint, acknowledging that the raceway and the more than 60,000 fans expected to be on hand are using 100 percent green electric power throughout the events.
As vice president of marketing for Pee Dee Electric, Singletary has led the co-op’s branding efforts for Darlington Raceway’s most high profile weekend of NASCAR’s 2017 season.
“South Carolina’s Green Power is marketed through our state-owned power supplier Santee Cooper,” said Singletary. “It’s primarily methane gas from landfills, but it also includes some solar and some wind power.”
“Darlington Raceway takes great pride in being a facility that is powered by renewable energy,” said Kerry Tharp, track president. “We appreciate our strong relationship with our electric providers and look forward putting on a great race weekend for our fans.”
Known as the track “Too Tough to Tame,” Darlington’s NASCAR relationship began in 1950, one year after it was carved from South Carolina farmland. It is one of the oldest raceways on the NASCAR circuit.
The Darlington Stripe’s green facelift is part of NASCAR’S Throwback Weekend, which includes renaming of the track’s Turn-3 towers for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. The Earnhardt Towers will feature images depicting memorable career moments of both drivers. Earnhardt Sr. won the 1987 Southern 500 race. Earnhardt Jr. is making what’s expected to be his final Cup start of Darlington, Sept. 3.
“Earnhardt Towers will forever celebrate and recognize their achievements and be a lasting landmark at our tradition-rich facility,” said Tharp.
Santee Cooper now produces and distributes 28 MW of renewable Green Power from six landfill generation stations, a half dozen community and utility-scale solar arrays, and one wind turbine. Pee Dee Electric promotes Green Power participation to its 30,000 members and commercial account holders who pay a premium for participating.
Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.