Darlington Raceway received a visit from four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon on Thursday, March 13th, to help promote the upcoming April 12th Southern 500.

Gordon handed out commemorative tickets featuring his seven Sprint Cup Series victories at the track Too Tough to Tame that are part of an AARP Drive to End Hunger ticket package. He spent time thanking the numerous fans that showed up to purchase the packages and support the Drive to End Hunger.

He also gave one lucky fan, Clea Smith of Rockingham, N.C., a pace car ride around the egg-shaped oval. Smith was randomly selected from all the fans that attended the event.

“It was great to see all the fans show up today and support Darlington Raceway. It was a really fun event,” Gordon said. “Darlington is one of my favorite tracks. I always enjoy this place and have had a lot of success here in my career. I’m excited to come back here in a few weeks and hopefully get another Southern 500 victory.”

Gordon also paid a visit to the local food bank in Darlington, The Lord Cares, where his sponsor, the AARP Foundation, made a $5,000 donation. Darlington Raceway partner, Bojangles’, also donated a truckload of non-perishable food items, which Gordon helped unload.

“We can’t thank Jeff Gordon, the AARP Foundation, Darlington Raceway and Bojangles’ enough for what they did for our food bank,” said Kevin Cauley, president of the board for The Lord Cares. “I can’t express how much his visit meant to us and the volunteers that put in so much time to make this food bank a success.”

The event brought out numerous fans, several of which waited for over 12 hours, to the track to purchase the AARP Drive to End Hunger ticket package and see Gordon up close and personal.

The $89 dollar package includes a Pearson grandstand ticket, a scanner rental as well as a question and answer session with Gordon on April 12 in the driver’s meeting tent. Ten dollars from every ticket purchased will be donated back to the AARP Foundation.

Packages are selling fast, but can still be purchased by calling 866-459-7223 or by visiting

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