Locals excited about new Southern 500 race date

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The Bojangles' Southern 500 brings millions of dollars into the area. Local business owners and locals said they are excited the race is moving back to Labor Day.

"We actually went on top of the mound when they were building the track," said Peggy Ruthven of Darlington.

Don and Peggy Ruthven said they remember back in the day when Darlington's big race was held on Labor Day, instead of being held in the Spring.

"Labor Day was good for us and I think it was something the track wanted, because it was good for them too," Ruthven said.

It wasn't until after 2004 the race was held on Mother Day, but after today's announcement, The Southern 500 will officially go back to its roots starting in 2015 – racing day on Labor Day.

"It's one of the best weekends for hotels here in Florence, but changing the date makes it difficult to book reservations," Rakesh Shah said.

Shah is the manager at the Howard Johnson Hotel, just one the businesses in the area that cashes in during the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Shah said the difficulty with the new date change is that rooms have already been blocked for the previous May date.

Pricing and major room adjustments will have to be made because of the date change.

"But overall, I think it's going to be good because they changed it to Labor Day weekend, so it's more holiday. I think it's going to attract more people than in April," Shah said.

The Ruthvens agree: "September - Darlington Raceway - Darlington itself - it all goes together."

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