Darlington: From racing's restart to start of playoffs

Last spring, Clint Bowyer passed a packed drag strip on the drive to Darlington Raceway unsure of what he would find when he got to NASCAR's first race back during the pandemic. NASCAR's strict protocols to get back on track ordered drivers to travel alone in their car to the track. The May 17 race was without spectators and Darlington - the halfway point between NASCAR's home base in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - was empty.