DARLINGTON, S.C. – In a special ceremony on pit road at Darlington Raceway on Saturday morning, NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough was honored for his contributions to the sport. The garage area at the 1.366-mile track was named in Yarborough’s honor.
Yarborough, the honorary pace car driver for Sunday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500, grew up in nearby Timmonsville and decided he wanted to be a race car driver the first time he saw an event at the Lady in Black.
In fact, he sneaked into the garage that now bears his name to watch his first race at the track.
“I slipped under the fence when I came to see my first race, and now, here I’ve got a garage named after me, so it’s great,” Yarborough said. “This is a great honor. There’s no place like Darlington to me, and to have a garage area named after you from now on is just great.”
Team Penske driver Joey Logano is five victories short of the five Southern 500s Yarborough won during his career, but Logano remembers his first encounter with the three-time Sprint Cup champion during a winner’s circle appearance in 2009.
“He took me around in a ride-along car, and I sat in the passenger seat and he came out with his old race suit on, open-face helmet, bubble goggles, and I got to sit in the passenger seat with Cale Yarborough driving around Darlington,” Logano said. “I thought, ‘Man, this is the coolest thing.’
“Obviously, I wasn’t watching racing when he was racing—I wasn’t alive—but re-watching races and reading a lot about the history of the sport and what he’s meant to NASCAR racing, it’s neat that he’s still so involved and he still cares about the sport.”