Get used to the Cook Out Southern 500. Burgers and BBQ are sticking in NASCAR

Alex Andrejev
·2 min read

NASCAR’s race names are typically a mouthful to spotlight sponsors. This year’s Cup schedule includes the “Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard powered By Florida Georgia Line.” The Xfinity Series raced the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner 300” at Daytona last month. The Truck Series had the “BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 At Daytona Presented by O’Reilly.”

But a shorter and more savory name — the Cook Out Southern 500 — will stick around for at least the next few years. Quick service restaurant Cook Out and Darlington Raceway have agreed to a multi-year extension on entitlement for NASCAR’s Southern 500 race on Sept. 5.

Cook Out served as the title sponsor for last year’s Southern 500 and was named the “official quick service restaurant” of Darlington Raceway, located in Darlington, S.C. Charlotte-based restaurant chain Bojangles did not renew its title sponsorship for the 2020 race, allowing Thomasville-based Cook Out to grow its presence in the sport.

“We are thankful and honored to renew our partnership with NASCAR and Darlington Raceway for the famed Cook Out Southern 500,” Cook Out CEO Jeremy Reaves said in a statement. “Our fans responded when we partnered with Darlington Raceway for last year’s Cook Out Southern 500, so we look forward to returning for another thrilling fun race in South Carolina!”

Terms of the Cook Out deal include at-track signage during the season, additional sponsorship rights for collaboration between the restaurant and track for promotions, consumer sweepstakes and integrated digital campaigns. Cook Out will also become an official partner with Richmond Raceway, a 0.75-mile track located in Richmond, Va.

There are two Cup races scheduled at Darlington’s 1.366-mile track this season: A regular-season race May 9, which is also Mother’s Day and will serve as NASCAR’s official “Throwback Weekend.” The Cook Out Southern 500 marks the start of playoffs in September.

“Cook Out is a brand that can match the fierce competition of the NASCAR Playoffs at the track Too Tough To Tame, and we are proud to welcome the Official Quick Service Restaurant of Darlington Raceway back for the 72nd running of the Cook Out Southern 500,” Darlington president Kerry Tharp said. “Cook Out has been serving their quality burgers and shakes across the South for over 30 years, so we look forward to continuing to grow our partnership at The Lady in Black.”

Richmond Raceway is scheduled to host two Cup races this season as well: The Toyota Owners 400 on Apr. 18 and the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Sept. 11.