I love Darlington; and I the fans at Darlington. Much like Bristol, Darlington is the anti-major league location of the 21st Century. It's not in a major metropolitan area (or even that close to one), it's in a small TV market and, unless you're traveling up and down the east coast on I-95, you don't just happen by there.

What it is, is where the sport grew from. It's shaped like an egg because they had to squeeze it between the highway and a minnow pond at one end. If they were building it today, the drivers would HATE it.

There is not a lot of room for corporate hospitality; nor is it easy for corporations to get their clients there. As a result, it's been on the endangered list for years.

So, why hasn't it gone the way of Rockingham? Simply, the fans won't let it.

NASCAR took away one date and moved their traditional Labor Day date to California; giving Darlington Mother's Day weekend. The last time NASCAR tried running on Mother's Day weekend, the All-Star race drew more media to Atlanta than fans. I know, I was there.

Instead of resigning themselves to an empty future, Darlington's fans filled the place and dared NASCAR to take the date away.

This year, they moved it again; picking a weekend in the compact state of South Carolina that also featured The Masters (just across the state line in Georgia), and South Carolina and Clemson's spring football games.

Despite all that, the fans still filled the stands.

Darlington should always have a place on the Cup schedule. It shouldn't need the fans to insure that, but, to their credit, they're not taking that for granted.