September 23, 2015
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By Miranda Major
Southeastern Grocers Community Connections
BI-LO East and Harveys

A renewed spirit came to Darlington, South Carolina this Labor Day as a half century of NASCAR racing tradition returned to Darlington Raceway after a more than 10-year absence. And a familiar Winn-Dixie race car was a big part of the tribute to that tradition.

The historic Labor Day Southern 500 race began there in 1950 and was a crowd-pleaser from the beginning. It remained there until 2003, after which the race was moved to another city. Since then, the city of Darlington and track officials have fought to get the Labor Day weekend race back, and this year it returned with great excitement.

Winn-Dixie’s interest in NASCAR spans over 35 years, and for “The Tradition Returns” weekend for the Bojangles Southern 500, Winn-Dixie joined forces with Richard Petty Motorsports to unveil a special throwback car that paid tribute to a Winn-Dixie car many NASCAR fans remember. The car, driven by Sam Hornish Jr., sported a retro black, gold and red Winn-Dixie paint scheme, like the car driven by champion NASCAR driver Mark Martin. Martin visited Victory Lane 39 times and finished in the top five 77 times and in the top 10 94 times in 128 races with Winn-Dixie as a sponsor. At Darlington alone, Martin won eight times and finished in the top five 14 times and in the top 10 18 times during the sponsorship.

“We were honored to partner with Richard Petty Motorsports and celebrate this historic NASCAR weekend by bringing the famous Winn-Dixie paint scheme back to the track,” said Southeastern Grocers Sales and Marketing Manager Rich Romano. “The classic paint scheme is a great representation of our 30-year history with NASCAR—a natural partnership as a passion for our customers and a culture in the Southeast.”Hornish finished 28 out of 43, finishing all 367 laps.

While Winn-Dixie was representing Southeastern Grocers at the track, BI-LO stores got things heated up throughout the week with show car appearances from Monster Energy and Armour Sandwiches. The stores held free sampling, giveaways, face painting, bounce houses and even had a hot dog stand for customers to grab a quick meal on the way in the store or on their way out to the races.

“Having the race back in Darlington on Labor Day weekend is great for our community,” BI-LO Store No. 5550 Director Eric Kimbrell said. “The community gets so excited for this race and it brings visitors from all over to spend the extended weekend in Darlington.”

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