Seduction By The Lady In Black at Darlington Raceway

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IMay 4, 2010

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 08:  The #14 Old Spice Chevrolet, driven by Tony Stewart, shows the 'Darlington Stripe' on the side of the car after hitting the wall during for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 on May 8, 2009 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Lady in Black has a date with 43 men for the Showtime Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C.  She marks her favorites with the famed Darlington stripe.

The lady will persuade the drivers to do wrong as she offers herself to the one man able to survive her charms.

When the call is made for the gentlemen to "start their engines," the shiny cars with the crisp, colorful logos will take to the track appearing perfect for all to see.

The narrow, egg-shaped 1.366-mile track presents unique problems in as much as each end of the track requires different strategy.

Qualifying and track position is especially important because of the difficulty passing and the need to run high on the track.

Driving to the edge of where the car has grip without losing it is a talent not all can master. It is tough to find a line that doesn't put you in the fence.

Darlington's famed Lady in Black has three paramours who have won her favor more than any other drivers.

David Pearson had 10 wins at Darlington Raceway, considered a home track for the South Carolina native.  His last NASCAR Cup win was there in 1980.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. had nine wins and showed his dominance at the track "too tough to tame" in grand style.

Jeff Gordon had seven wins at Darlington. He won the Winston million twice at this track as well.

The Lady in Black tends to favor Hendrick Motorsports drivers.  Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin each have two wins, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to make it to the winner's circle at Darlington.

Drivers are seduced lap after lap as the lady begs them to come closer to the wall for a caress.

Sometimes it is a gentle brush and other times a violent strike that sends them reeling.  The prolonged sound of smashing metal and screeching tires ensues.

As the season builds toward the midpoint before the Chase, this track can rally a driver or further their descent out of the top 12 in points.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. learned how quickly that descent can be at Richmond International Speedway as his 32nd-place finish took him to 13th position in the standings.

Jeff Gordon may be favored to win with his recent bridesmaid finishes.  His car has been strong and with seven wins to his credit, an eighth is likely.

Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin are the other Hendrick drivers apt to do well.  Dale Jr. really needs to get it together with a win or top-five finish, though.

Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, and Kevin Harvick are likely candidates capable of satisfying the whims of the lady.  One of them certainly could be allowed to prevail.

Darlington Raceway, the 60-year old track with historical significance like no other, promises excitement as the drivers have at it.  Few cars will escape the inevitable stripe down their right side.

With drivers placing special importance on this tough track, they are sure to battle one another right to the end.  The green-white-checkered finish is certain to come into play.

Those fortunate enough to attend this race in person need to just sit and soak in the history of Darlington Raceway.

The competition amongst the greats of the 60's, 70's, and 80's was perhaps some of the greatest NASCAR racing ever. 

The Lady in Black will allow one driver triumph.  She will seduce the other 42 men, but they will leave Darlington disappointed having not been chosen the one to win.