The Real Heroes 400
|NASCAR Cup Series|
|Location||Darlington, South Carolina, United States|
|Corporate sponsor||The Real Heroes Project|
1957 (NASCAR Convertible)
|Distance||400.238 miles (644.121 km)|
|Laps||293 (Stage 1: 90|
Stage 2: 95
Final stage: 108)
|Previous names||Unknown (1952)|
Rebel 300 (1957–1965)
Rebel 400 (1966–1972)
Rebel 500 (1973, 1975–1978)
Rebel 450 (1974)
CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 (1979–1982)
TranSouth 500 (1983–1993)
TranSouth Financial 400 (1994–1999)
Mall.com 400 (2000)
Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 (2001−2004)
The Real Heroes 400 1st (2020)
Toyota 500 2nd (2020)
|Most wins (driver)||David Pearson (7)|
|Most wins (team)||Holman-Moody (7)|
|Most wins (manufacturer)||Ford (18)|
|Length||1.366 mi (2.198 km)|
The Real Heroes 400 was a NASCAR Cup Series race held at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, USA. A 100-mile (160 km) race was held in May at the track in 1952, however the event did not become a regular one on the NASCAR schedule until 1957, as a 300 miles (480 km) race in the Convertible Division, known as the Rebel 300. In 1966, the race was expanded to 400 miles (640 km), and in 1973 to 500 miles (800 km). For a time, the race was held on or around Confederate Memorial Day, which is observed on May 10 in the state of South Carolina.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR announced it would be running two Darlington races in May (the fall Southern 500 date still stood), replacing the Chicagoland Speedway event and the Richmond Raceway spring race and also marking the return of spring Darlington racing. The track hosted a 400-mile race called The Real Heroes 400 on Sunday, May 17 followed by a 500-kilometer race called the Toyota 500 on Wednesday, May 20.
- 1960: Johnny Allen goes up the race track and tears open the guardrail and then driving on the dirt banking on the outside of the track into a press grandstand. No one was seriously injured.
- 1970: Richard Petty hit the outside wall hard and then the inside wall even harder, causing his car to flip. The rag Petty would put in his mouth came out, and was mistaken by ABC as a gruesome death. Petty was seriously injured, but survived. During the roll, Petty's head hit the track surface several times, causing NASCAR to mandate the use of the Petty-developed door nets. These remain in use today.
- 1975: The finish shook into a bizarre sequence. In the final twenty laps Benny Parsons and David Pearson went after the lead; they raced side by side into Turn One and hammered the wall. Bobby Allison, who'd been a lap down, unlapped himself and raced into the lead with Darrell Waltrip and Donnie Allison hot on his heels. Bobby led them to the win, his second of the season and first at Darlington since 1972.
- 1977: A crash with five laps to go set up a wild finish. Darrell Waltrip shot past Bobby Allison, who was driving in relief of his brother Donnie, and Richard Petty charged into the fray; they hit the line three abreast and Waltrip was declared the winner as the final laps ran under caution.
- 1979: In a race that was seen on ABC's Wide World of Sports, Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty hooked horns in a memorable duel. The lead changed four times between them on Lap 365 and three times on the final lap; Waltrip prevailed over Petty when he cleared Petty in Turn Three and Donnie Allison tried to shoot the gap, instead getting hung alongside Petty. During the race, David Pearson made a pit stop, and thought the Wood brothers were going to change only two tires. With the lug nuts loosened all the way around, Pearson sped out of the pits after two tires had been replaced. The loose inside wheels flew off near the pit road, ending Pearson's day. A week later, Pearson and the Wood Brothers split, despite scoring 43 wins from 1972 to 1978 with the Virginia-based team.
- 1980: David Pearson was now driving for Hoss Ellington Racing's #1 car, replacing Donnie Allison for the 1980 season. Despite the fact that the race was plagued by constant rain, and incoming darkness (the track did not have lights installed until the 2004 Southern 500, which finished after darkness), Pearson dominated the race and won after the race was called five laps after it was an official race with 189 complete. However, this would be Pearson's 105th and final Cup Win, and his 10th at Darlington in his storied career.
- 1981: Darrell Waltrip beat Harry Gant by a car length for his third Rebel 500 win in the event's previous five runnings, while Gant finished second in his debut ride in a #33 Pontiac with car owners Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds.
- 1982: Dale Earnhardt, driving Bud Moore's #15 Ford, grabbed the first of nine Darlington wins when he led 181 laps but had to hold off a last-lap challenge from Cale Yarborough. Tim Richmond finished a lap down in fifth after a NASCAR penalty on pit road; Richmond was making his debut in Jim Stacy's #2.
- 1984 Darrell Waltrip led 251 laps as crashes galore thinned out the field. The crashing began when pole-sitter Benny Parsons hit the second-turn wall on the first lap; later there were back-to-back four-car crashes, and halfway through the race a multicar melee erupted involving Rusty Wallace, Dick Brooks, and D.K. Ulrich where Ulrich climbed another car; some 28 of 38 entries were involved in crashes.
- 1987: Bill Elliott ran out of fuel on the final lap, and coasted out of turn 4, allowing Dale Earnhardt to sweep by and take the victory. Two vicious crashes erupted; in one Terry Labonte was injured ion a hard hit by a spinning Ricky Rudd, while later rookie Davey Allison hit a guardrail and his Ford's fuel cell erupted in flame.
- 1988: Lake Speed escaped a multicar wreck in the opening laps and breezed to one of the sport's most dramatic upset wins. It was his only Sprint Cup win.
- 1990: Dale Earnhardt took the win, but the story of the race was a massive accident between Ernie Irvan and Ken Schrader; Irvan was ten laps down yet racing nose-to-nose with Schrader as if for the lead, and lost control in Four; several cars collided in the ensuring melee and Sterling Marlin spun off the wall and hammered Neil Bonnett; Bonnett suffered severe memory loss and was lost for three seasons as a driver.
- 2003: Before a national television audience, Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch fought a memorable duel that came down to the final turn, when Craven edged out Busch by 0.002 seconds (about 1-2 inches) in the joint closest finish in NASCAR history since NASCAR started using electronic transponders to determine scoring (along with the Aaron's 499 at Talladega in Spring 2011 where Jimmie Johnson edged out Clint Bowyer at the flag). The finish is thought to have saved the track from being eliminated from the Cup Series schedule. NASCAR did after the season move the prestigious Southern 500 from second before the new end of regular season cutoff to second from the end of the new playoff, but that race was eliminated a year later by litigation that many fans still despise to this day.
- 2020: This race on May 17 was the first race since March 8. NASCAR postponed multiple races in between the FanShield 500 and this one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race operated under heavy restrictions to follow social distancing guidelines, including fans barred from attending. Kevin Harvick won the race, his second Darlington win and 50th career Cup Series win.
|Year||Date||No.||Driver||Team||Manufacturer||Race distance||Race time||Average speed
|1952||May 10||120||Dick Rathmann||Walt Chapman||Hudson||80||100 (160.934)||1:11:35||83.318||Report|
|1957||May 12*||22||Fireball Roberts||Pete DePaolo||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:47:23||107.941||Report|
|1958||May 10||26||Curtis Turner||Holman-Moody||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:44:08||109.624||Report|
|1959||May 9||22||Fireball Roberts||Frank Strickland||Chevrolet||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:36:00||115.817||Report|
|1960||May 14||12||Joe Weatherly||Holman-Moody||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:56:01||102.64||Report|
|1961||May 6||28||Fred Lorenzen||Holman-Moody||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:31:10||119.52||Report|
|1962||May 12||29||Nelson Stacy||Holman-Moody||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:33:17||117.429||Report|
|1963||May 11||8||Joe Weatherly||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||2 x 110||2 X 151.25 (243.413)||Report|
|1964||May 9||28||Fred Lorenzen||Holman-Moody||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:18:51||130.013||Report|
|1965||May 8||26||Junior Johnson||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||219||301.125 (484.613)||2:41:32||111.849||Report|
|1966||April 30||43||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||291||400.125 (643.938)||3:01:53||131.993||Report|
|1967||May 13||43||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||Plymouth||291||400.125 (643.938)||3:10:56||125.738||Report|
|1968||May 11||17||David Pearson||Holman-Moody||Ford||291||400.125 (643.938)||3:00:54||132.699||Report|
|1969||May 10||98||LeeRoy Yarbrough||Junior Johnson & Associates||Mercury||291||400.125 (643.938)||3:02:28||131.572||Report|
|1970||May 9||17||David Pearson||Holman-Moody||Ford||291||400.125 (643.938)||3:05:07||129.688||Report|
|1971||May 2||11||Buddy Baker||Petty Enterprises||Dodge||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:03:46||130.678||Report|
|1972||April 16||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:13:00||124.406||Report|
|1973||April 15||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:04:14||122.655||Report|
|1974||April 7||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||330||450.78 (725.460)||3:50:06||117.543||Report|
|1975||April 13||16||Bobby Allison||Penske Racing||Matador||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:15:41||117.597||Report|
|1976||April 11||21||David Pearson||Wood Brothers Racing||Mercury||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:04:36||122.973||Report|
|1977||April 3||88||Darrell Waltrip||DiGard Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:53:18||128.817||Report|
|1978||April 9||72||Benny Parsons||L.G. DeWitt||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:55:50||127.544||Report|
|1979||April 8||88||Darrell Waltrip||DiGard Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:06:59||121.721||Report|
|1980||April 13||1||David Pearson||Ellington Racing||Chevrolet||189*||258.174 (415.49)||2:23:49||112.397||Report|
|1981||April 12||11||Darrell Waltrip||Junior Johnson & Associates||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:57:24||126.703||Report|
|1982||April 4||15||Dale Earnhardt||Bud Moore Engineering||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:03:27||123.554||Report|
|1983||April 10||33||Harry Gant||Hal Needham||Buick||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:50:05||130.406||Report|
|1984||April 15||11||Darrell Waltrip||Junior Johnson & Associates||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:18:16||119.925||Report|
|1985||April 14||9||Bill Elliott||Melling Racing||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:58:08||126.295||Report|
|1986||April 13||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:53:11||128.994||Report|
|1987||March 29||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:05:28||122.54||Report|
|1988||March 27||83||Lake Speed||Lake Speed||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:49:07||131.284||Report|
|1989||April 2||33||Harry Gant||Leo Jackson Racing||Oldsmobile||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:20:29||115.475||Report|
|1990||April 1||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||4:02:26||124.073||Report|
|1991||April 7||5||Ricky Rudd||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:41:50||135.594||Report|
|1992||March 29||11||Bill Elliott||Junior Johnson & Associates||Ford||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:35:50||139.364||Report|
|1993||March 28||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||501.322 (806.799)||3:33:29||139.958||Report|
|1994||March 27||3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:01:20||132.432||Report|
|1995||March 26||4||Sterling Marlin||Morgan-McClure Motorsports||Chevrolet||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:35:35||111.392||Report|
|1996||March 24||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:12:26||124.792||Report|
|1997||March 23||88||Dale Jarrett||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:18:12||121.162||Report|
|1998||March 22||88||Dale Jarrett||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:07:40||127.962||Report|
|1999||March 21||99||Jeff Burton||Roush Racing||Ford||164*||224.024 (360.531)||1:50:49||121.294||Report|
|2000||March 19||22||Ward Burton||Bill Davis Racing||Pontiac||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:07:30||128.076||Report|
|2001||March 18||88||Dale Jarrett||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:09:45||126.557||Report|
|2002||March 17||40||Sterling Marlin||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dodge||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:10:29||126.07||Report|
|2003||March 16||32||Ricky Craven||PPI Motorsports||Pontiac||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:10:16||126.214||Report|
|2004||March 21||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:30:39||114.001||Report|
|2020||May 17||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||293||400.238 (644.12)||3:27:21||115.815||Report|
|May 20||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||208*||248.128 (457.162)||2:42:23||104.984||Report|
- 1957: Race postponed due to rain.
- 1957–62: Race was for convertibles.
- 1963: Two 150-mile race format similar to motocross, best average score wins. Weatherly won the first race, Richard Petty won the second race. Weatherly (1/2) won the Rebel 300 with best overall finish.
- 1980 & 1999: Race shortened due to rain.
- 2020: Ran due to travel limitations from COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2020: May 20 race shortened from 228 laps due to rain.
Track length notes
- 1952: 1.25 mile course
- 1957–1970: 1.375 mile course
- 1971–2004: 1.366 mile course
Multiple winners (drivers)
|# Wins||Driver||Years Won|
|7||David Pearson||1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1980|
|6||Dale Earnhardt||1982, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994|
|4||Darrell Waltrip||1977, 1979, 1981, 1984|
|3||Dale Jarrett||1997, 1998, 2001|
|2||Fireball Roberts||1957, 1959|
|Joe Weatherly||1960, 1963|
|Fred Lorenzen||1961, 1964|
|Richard Petty||1966, 1967|
|Harry Gant||1983, 1989|
|Bill Elliott||1985, 1992|
|Sterling Marlin||1995, 2002|
Multiple winners (teams)
|# Wins||Team||Years Won|
|7||Holman-Moody||1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1968, 1970|
|5||Junior Johnson & Associates||1965, 1969, 1981, 1984, 1992|
|Richard Childress Racing||1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994|
|4||Wood Brothers Racing||1972, 1973, 1974, 1976|
|3||Petty Enterprises||1966, 1967, 1971|
|Hendrick Motorsports||1991, 1996, 2004|
|Robert Yates Racing||1997, 1998, 2001|
|2||Bud Moore Engineering||1963, 1982|
|DiGard Motorsports||1977, 1979|
|# Wins||Manufacturer||Years Won|
|18||Ford||1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1982, 1985, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2020 (1 of 2)|
|15||Chevrolet||1959, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004|
|5||Mercury||1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976|
|Toyota||2020 (1 of 2)|
From 1984–1995 and again in 1999 and 2000, this race opened ESPN's annual NASCAR Winston Cup racing coverage.
- Norris, Brad. "NASCAR realigns 2020 schedule, shifts events from Chicagoland, Richmond, Sonoma". NASCAR.com. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Norris, Brad. "NASCAR announces revised May schedule as racing returns beginning at Darlington Raceway". NASCAR.com. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
- "Here's what to expect at NASCAR's The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway". Fox News. Associated Press. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
- Cain, Holly (May 17, 2020). "Harvick claims career win No. 50 in NASCAR's return at Darlington". mrn.com. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Two Little Rebels, Hemmings Motor News, July 2011