NASCAR Returns to Racing with The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

NASCAR will be returning to racing after a two-month pause due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway will be dedicated to the brave frontline healthcare workers who continue to risk their lives in battling the virus. The event will be on Sunday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

The special NASCAR Cup Series race entitlement at Darlington Raceway follows the launch of The Real Heroes Project, a collaborative initiative by 14 sports leagues including NASCAR to recognize and pay tribute to medical professionals serving on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.

“As the coronavirus challenges our country in unprecedented ways, the frontline healthcare workers – the nurses, paramedics, emergency physicians and many others – continue to inspire us with their strength and bravery in caring for their fellow Americans,” said Jill Gregory, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing and content officer. “These men and women are the real heroes and the NASCAR industry is incredibly proud to honor their selflessness and service as we return to racing on Sunday.”

Through a collaboration with NASCAR, FOX Sports, and the race teams, each driver’s name will be removed above the driver-side window and replaced with the name of an individual healthcare worker currently on the frontlines battling the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, The Real Heroes Project logo will be displayed on the side panel of each racecar.

The healthcare workers honored on the cars, selected in part by local FOX affiliates from cities across the country, will serve as grand marshals for The Real Heroes 400 and appear in an on-air mosaic to simultaneously give the command for drivers to start their engines for the race.

“Real heroes” from the state of South Carolina include healthcare workers from St. Francis Downtown hospital in Greenville S.C., and McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C., located just south of Darlington Raceway.

The sports leagues behind the Real Heroes Project launched a public service announcement on May 6 that featured some of the biggest names in sports including a pair of NASCAR Cup Series champions in Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick. The PSA features more than 30 athletes sharing personal thank-you messages with their healthcare heroes and replacing the names on their own jerseys and uniforms with the names of individual medical professionals.

The campaign encourages all sports fans to pay tribute to the frontline healthcare workers in their lives on social media using #TheRealHeroes.

As NASCAR resumes the 2020 race season on Sunday, The Real Heroes 400 will be the first of three national series races at Darlington Raceway in the span of four days – all taking place without fans in attendance. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will return to action on Tuesday, May 19 (8 p.m. ET on FS1), followed by the second NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington on Wednesday, May 20 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

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About Ralph Guerra 32 Articles
Ralph Guerra is the associate editor for RacingJunk.com. Ralph grew up in Southern California's car culture and quickly became infatuated with anything and everything V8. Whether it was a 63 Fairlane with a 289 or a Gt500 with a supercharged 5.4, if it was a V8 he wanted to drive it--fast.

1 Comment on NASCAR Returns to Racing with The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

  1. “Real Heroes” …. that catchphrase has been pretty much watered down to include most of society… Lately it’s the dr’s and nurses etc, at least the ones that haven’t been laid off from no work. school teachers have held the title, firefighters, ems, police, blah, blah. All important tasks being done by folks that chose that line of work. Heck my girlfriend faces thousands of folks daily at the local Walmart as a department head. Customers bringing the whole family down as an outing to get out of the house…Might as well includes all these folks in the hero crown…you’re pretty much all invited in as far as I’m concerned.

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