Darlington is the county seat of Darlington County, located in the heart of South Carolina’s Pee Dee region. Chartered in 1835, it developed as an agricultural center, first for cotton, and later for tobacco. Today, is best known for its iconic stock car track, the Darlington Raceway.
In 1949, local businessman Harold Brasington gambled that the fledgling sport of stock car racing just might catch on, and despite ridicule from family and friends, he bought a former peanut field and built a 1 1/4 mile paved track. The track’s design had to be altered from a true oval shape to satisfy the owner of adjacent land who did not want his minnow pond disturbed. The west end of the track was narrowed to accommodate the fishing hole, and Darlington’s distinctive egg shape was born.
On Labor Day weekend in 1950, Brasington expected no more than 10,000 to attend the first race. Instead, over 25,000 fans crowded through the gates and scaled the walls to watch the action. After 60 years, Darlington Raceway is one of only a few tracks still in use today that helped to launch the popular sport of NASCAR.