One month out from race day, 'Lady in Black' seeks new audience

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - We are one month out from one of the biggest nights in NASCAR, when the pros will buckle up to take on the 'Lady in Black' for the Bojangles Southern 500 race.

Track President Chip Wile says NASCAR is urging race organizers to attract the millennial generation to become fans. Part of their strategy this year included moving the race from May to April.

"Moving the date gave us an opportunity to really market to that group because traditionally they're in exams or graduating," Wile says. "So this gives us a new market share to try to go after."

Wile says the number of college-aged students who have purchased tickets this year has already doubled the number from last year.

The other part of the strategy includes the ever-evolving world of social media. Just this week they're giving away tickets every day on Twitter. The Lady in Black has followers from all across the world.

Wile says the Darlington Raceway is paved in tradition- and that is why the Lady in Black has the best fans in NASCAR.

"I've heard people talk about how they've come over with their grandfather, and picked up Coke bottles," Wile says. "Or how they moved to the area because their grand father or grand parents were here to build the raceway. So, I think that's what make our race track unique, is that everybody in the community has a touch point and a personal relationship with the race track."

For a chance to win a VIP prize pack to the Bojangles Southern 500, go to this website:

You will have to register and "like" the WMBF News and Darlington Raceway Facebook pages. Then, you'll be entered to win two tickets to the Bojangles' Southern 500, two wristbands to the pre-race concert and two pit passes.

But for fans who are excited for the race now, there are plenty of ways to get involved starting Thursday.  One lucky Darlington Raceway fan will receive the opportunity of a lifetime when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon visits the track Too Tough To Tame on Thursday, March 13. The opportunity will go to a randomly drawn fan who visits Darlington Raceway's ticket office from 12:30-1:30pm Thursday.

Then, the Taste of Darlington has been a fixture in town for more than 30 years. The annual culinary event benefits the Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association and features some of the best cooks in the Darlington area. This year it will be held from 7 p.m. through 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Hospitality Village at Darlington Raceway. Tickets are $30 a piece and are available in Darlington at Darlington Raceway ticket office.

The tenth annual Darlington Car Hauler Parade & Festival, presented by Nationwide Insurance, will take place on April 9 at the Florence Civic Center.

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