The NASCAR season will resume on Sunday with a 400.2-mile event at Darlington Raceway. This is a major moment for the sport, and Darius Rucker will be setting the stage. The country star will be singing the national anthem prior to the green flag being waved.
Rucker previously performed a pre-race concert at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. However, the Charleston native is excited to take part in the time-honored tradition in his home state, although Rucker will not be at the actual track for this performance. NASCAR clarified that he will be singing the National Anthem virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm excited and honored to perform the national anthem for NASCAR's return to racing at Darlington Raceway in my home state of South Carolina," Rucker said in his announcement video. "Tune into FOX this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET to catch the high-octane action from the track too tough to tame. Please, stay safe and keep supporting each other in these tough times."
The focus on Sunday will be on the lack of fans and how NASCAR officials address any lingering health and safety concerns. However, there will be one interesting historic factor in play. According to NASCAR, Darlington Raceway has not hosted a May race since the 2013 season. The winner of this event was Matt Kenseth, who will be returning to stock car racing on Sunday.
The veteran driver has not taken part in the Cup Series since 2018, but he was called into action by Chip Ganassi Racing. He will be driving the No. 42 Chevrolet in replacement of Kyle Larson, who was fired after using a racial slur during a Twitch event. Will he secure a victory at Darlington once again?
"I think Matt gives us the best chance to win, run up front and compete for wins," team owner Chip Ganassi said to The Associated Press in April. "I've always gone with the mantra of trying to take the best driver available, and he's the best driver available right now. And he brings something to our sponsors that they need right now. Stability. No baggage. Family man. Daytona 500 winner. Championship winner."
The 2020 NASCAR season will resume on Sunday with the event at Darlington Raceway. Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy will be calling the action once again, albeit from the Charlotte studios. The race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX.