(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Terry Labonte Named Grand Marshal of Southern 500

Next weekend’s Bojangles Southern 500 will have an old school feel, with many teams running throwback paint schemes and even Goodyear will have a retro look on the tires it will use for next Sunday’s race.

Darlington Raceway announced that the grand marshal for Sunday’s race will have a throwback feel as well.

2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Southern 500 champion Terry Labonte will give the command to start engines for next weekend’s Southern 500. Labonte will be standing alongside Bojangles CEO Clifton Rutledge when the engines fire on Labor Day weekend at Darlington for the first time since 2003, when Labonte won the then-last Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend.

Labonte’s history with the track dates back to 1980 when the Corpus Christi, Texas, native won his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at in the famed Southern 500. Labonte was running second in the event when leader David Pearson hit the wall coming off turn 4. The mishap allowed Labonte to pass Pearson and win his first of 22 career victories. It helped start a legendary career, one that led Labonte to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in 2016.

“Darlington is where I won my first race and my last, and I’m honored to serve as grand marshal for the first time at the Bojangles’ Southern 500,” said Labonte. “I love the Labor Day tradition, and Darlington always brings back special memories for me. I look forward to being part of such a historic weekend for NASCAR.”

The Bojangles Southern 500 returns to Labor Day weekend returns to Darlington Raceway on Sept. 6.

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Clayton has been writing NASCAR for the last seven years and has followed the sport for as long as he can remember. He's a Jersey boy with dreams of hoping one day to take his style south and adding a different kind of perspective to auto racing.

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One comment

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    Another guy who I’ll bet took a few fans with him when he retired. Long live the Iceman.