DARLINGTON, S.C. – With the new Gen-6 racecar making its first appearance during the Goodyear Tire Test at Darlington Raceway today, a historic foundation was laid in anticipation for its racing debut at the track Too Tough To Tame during the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on May 11.
Today’s tire test drew several hundred fans to the track to see the new Gen-6 car, many which came from as far as Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
“We were running some really fast times today. I think you’ll see a good possibility of the qualifying record being broken here at Darlington in May,” Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion said during the lunch break. “I love this race track and being able to test out here today and see how well the new car handled is great for our team and Goodyear.”
With its annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend just under 100 days away, Darlington is looking forward to being just one of only two tracks in the sport to claim it has seen every generational style of race car compete on its oval since its inaugural season in 1950. Martinsville Speedway is the other.
The first generation of race cars that were introduced in NASCAR were from 1948-1966, which featured Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Hudson, Ford and Studebaker to name a few.
Many of these early models, like the famed Hudson Hornet which won the Southern 500 at Darlington in 1951 and 1952, competed at various other tracks during the early 1950’s but most are not in use on the current NASCAR schedule today and tracks such as Daytona and Charlotte were raced on the beach and on dirt, respectively. Other Generation 1 cars, like the 1956 Ford Convertible, made its last appearance in NASCAR competition at Darlington in 1962.
Darlington and Martinsville are the only two tracks still around today that hosted the original models of Generation 1.
“It’s amazing that there are only two tracks in NASCAR today that have hosted every generation of race car since 1949,” Darlington President Chris Browning said. “Darlington takes great pride in knowing that we are one of two facilities around today that hosted the first Generation 1 models back then and will now be racing the Gen-6 car in 2013. We’ve seen every make and model and every great NASCAR driver throughout the last 60-plus years of stock car racing!”