Southern 500 to kick off NASCAR Playoffs in 2020

NASCAR to keep race in Darlington on Labor Day Weekend

Southern 500 to kick off NASCAR Playoffs in 2020
Denny Hamlin (11) leads the pack to start the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Terry Renna) (Source: Terry Renna)

DARLINGTON, SC (WIS) - NASCAR’s big race in Darlington just got bigger.

Officials with NASCAR released the 2020 schedule on Tuesday and the Southern 500 will be the first race of the playoff series for the race circuit.

“To be able to host our Labor Day throwback weekend as the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs will create tremendous excitement and enthusiasm for our fans,” said track President Kerry Tharp. “Darlington Raceway, considered one of the toughest tracks on the circuit, will definitely challenge the drivers right from the start of the postseason. To combine our throwback weekend, which celebrates the sport’s past, present and future, with the initial start to the championship run, should provide plenty of additional excitement, and energy to the entire weekend.”

The Southern 500 returned to Darlington back in 2014 on Labor Day weekend. Since its return, the race has provided teams with an opportunity to commemorate drivers of the past using the race as “Throwback Weekend.”

The move comes as part of several schedule changes made by NASCAR officials heading into next season.

“I feel like that race is historic by itself,” said Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney during the NASCAR schedule reveal show. “Now, it’s to get into the second round. You win that race, you’re automatically in the second round and I feel like that’s a really cool deal that they did. Darlington is such a historic track that it deserves to be in the playoffs. That’s a pretty cool deal.”

You can see the full schedule reveal show below.

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