MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway delivered the expected amount of excitement Saturday night. For some fans the atmosphere of the track was combined with the comforts of home as they enjoyed the race from their recreational vehicles (RVs) on the track's infield.
"It's the only place to be," commented Joann Curtis of Darlington. "I've lived here all my life and I've been in the stands, and when you come in here it's a totally different experience."
Curtis has been enjoying the Darlington race on the infield with her family and friends for 30 years. April June and Delaine Hodges were part of the group enjoying Curtis's hospitality Saturday. They happily divulged a long list of perks associated with taking in the race from the infield.
"You get to hang out with all your family and friends," they said. "You don't have to stand in line to use the bathroom. We get to bring as many coolers as we want. We get to mix cocktails any time; eat as much food as you want; be shaded from the heat."
For Murphy Andrews of Lamar the fun was in the excitement of having everyone together before, during and after the race. She said she enjoyed being able to watch the race in a tailgate atmosphere while everyone else was watching from seats in the stands.
"I like Clemson football games, and this is a lot like it because everybody's just so into it and they're so excited to be here," Andrews explained.
For many fans being in the infield means not having to leave anything behind in the parking lot to get to the track. The view from atop an RV in the middle of the track is also unique, however it can be a bit obscured.
"We got turn three and four right here, but we're hoping we can see a little on the sides and the back turns," explained Chris Johnson of Fayetteville as he point to the track from on top of an RV.
Johnson, his friend Graham Alexander and more than a dozen other friends in their group were perfectly content with their view.
"We're right in the thick of it," Alexander said. "We're right in the center of the action. So this is the place to be."
However, for some fans not being able to see the entire track is the only drawback to the infield. So fans like David Blackwell of Hartsville decided to enjoy the race from both places.
"Yep, it's hard to see in here, but you party in here and go see the race in the stands," Blackwell said.
Curtis said there are sometimes dozens of people on top the RV where her family and friends watch the race. She chooses to watch the race while relaxing in a lawn chair and looking at a large flat screen television hooked up outside the RV. When everything is finished she said she makes sure the fun is not spoiled.
"We take care of all the people and make sure they can get home or spend the night," she explained. "Safety is a priority for the family."