NASCAR fans enjoy Darlington sunshine for Southern 500

Published: Sep. 5, 2016 at 12:49 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2016 at 12:51 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, SC (WIS) - Excitement for NASCAR fans started well before race time at Darlington Sunday afternoon.

Thousands were up early packing the fan zones around the speedway for pre-race festivities.

There was shopping, vintage stock cars, live music and games. Fans got a chance to see what it's like to be on a pit crew,  testing their time tightening lug nuts on tires.

While many traveled from out of state to see the Southern 500, there were plenty of South Carolina natives.  They said they're glad NASCAR still saves one date on the calendar to make a stop in Darlington.

"It can make or break a man here at Darlington," said Bubba Bradshaw of Gaston. "That Darlington stripe will get ya every time."

"The smells…the sounds…just to be able to see the race. It's awesome!" said Gilbert native Lisa Rudick.

Click here for a slideshow of race day photos.

"Darlington is Darlington….ya know, the Lady in Black…Too Tough to Tame…those names fit for a reason and it's exciting to be in this atmosphere," said Don Palmer of Eustis, Florida.

Fans also got a chance to get some autographs with former NASCAR drivers before the race.

Martin Truex, Jr. won the race, holding off Kevin Harvick in the final laps. 

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