Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp To Retire At The End Of 2023

Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp To Retire At The End Of 2023

by June 18, 2023 0 comments

DARLINGTON, S.C.  – After nearly two decades of accomplished leadership in the sport, NASCAR and Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp announced today (June 15) he’s retiring at the end of the year. The Cook Out Southern 500 will be his final race at the Track Too Tough to Tame, which he has guided with a steady hand since 2016.

“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve as president of this beloved South Carolina institution,” Tharp said. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into serving our fans, and they’ve in turn embraced my wife Debbie and our family as one of their own. I look forward to the remainder of this year and experiencing another exciting Labor Day Weekend with our fans during all of the Cook Out Southern 500 festivities.”

Tharp’s profound impact on Darlington Raceway and NASCAR cannot be understated. He was at the helm in 2020 when the track became the nation’s first venue to host a major sporting event following the COVID-19 shutdown. He also was instrumental in the return of a second NASCAR Cup Series race weekend to Darlington’s annual schedule, while also championing the wildly successful Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR concept he inherited when he became track president in 2016.

His tenure as track president followed a remarkable 11-year run leading NASCAR’s communications efforts across all three national series. That came on the heels of a 26-year career in intercollegiate athletics, which included two decades of service as Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations at the University of South Carolina.

“Kerry Tharp’s passion for Darlington Raceway and the state of South Carolina is without question and permeates everything he does,” said Chip Wile, Tharp’s predecessor as track president and NASCAR’s current Chief Tracks Operating Officer. “We’re beyond grateful for Kerry’s service to Darlington Raceway and NASCAR, and we wish Kerry and Debbie continued happiness and success as they embark on this hard-earned next chapter of their lives.  I look forward to the fans and industry celebrating his incredible career during the Cook Out Southern 500.”

Preparations are in full swing for the Cook Out Southern 500 Weekend, Sept. 2-3. Action begins Saturday, Sept. 2, with the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Sports Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200. That sets the stage for Sunday, Sept. 3, when the Cup Series Playoffs begin with the Cook Out Southern 500.

Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets now at darlingtonraceway.com so they don’t miss out on this historic weekend of NASCAR action.

About Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway, nicknamed The Lady in Black and the track Too Tough To Tame, is home to the award-winning Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR and annually hosts two NASCAR Cup Series race weekends, along with the NASCAR Xfinity Series and/or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Opening in 1950, Darlington Raceway is “A NASCAR Tradition” and NASCAR’s original superspeedway with its famed 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval, challenging the sports best in one of the most iconic NASCAR races, the Southern 500®. For more information about Darlington Raceway, visit darlingtonraceway.com. Stay connected to Darlington Raceway on FacebookInstagramTwitter and the NASCAR Tracks App.


Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2023, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR sanctions races in three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series™), four international series (NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series (Canada), NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and a local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races annually in 12 countries and more than 30 U.S. states. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).

Source: Darlington Raceway

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com

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