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Old 05-10-2012, 06:25 PM   #1
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Southern 500 Darlington 1965

Sunday September 5, 1965
Enterprise Sports Writer
DARLINGTON, S.C. — Tomorrow morning 44 tense men will join 90,000 others and listen to bands play "Dixie." Afterwards they will separate themselves from the throng and nestle down into brightly emblazoned stock cars and wait for four words: "Gentlemen . . . start your engines!" Bob Colvin. speaker of the house for that moment and president of the Darlington International Raceway, will leap into the pace car as these select 44 answer him with a ferocious bellow of roaring exhausts. Moments later, starter Johnny Bruner Jr., resplendent in his striped shirt, will greet the rainbow-colored field by feverishly waving the Confederate flag which signals the start to the Southern 500, the granddaddy of them all.

THAT SELECT 44 will answer again; this time by the pounding of accelerators and an awesome roar. This one instant—those few seconds when the green flag (but in this case the Confederate flag) is blown wildly by the onrush of tons of men and precision-tuned race cars —is one of sports' greatest moments. It's as thrilling as the clang of the bell in the opening round of a heavyweight championship fight, as exciting as the first kickoff in a pro football title game and as breathtaking as the final moments of a do-or-die World Series.

The Southern 500. Whether you call it the South's largest picnic, the biggest sports attraction in the South, a circus of people, four-odd hours of spine-tingling action or anything else, it is the most grueling 500-mile test of machinery, men and tires on the face of this earth.
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