BACKGROUND The association of preawake (difference between pre- and postwaking blood pressure (BP)) and sleep-through surge (difference between sleeping nadir and postwaking BP) with cardiovascular events is unclear. Examination of factors associated with surge may provide novel insights. We examined the association of race, which associates with nocturnal dipping, and plasma renin activity (PRA) with preawake and sleep-through surge among individuals on a controlled diet. METHODS We performed a post hoc analysis of 323 subjects from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension trial who had available 24-hour BP data and who ingested a control diet during a 3-week run-in period. Linear regression models were fit to estimate the association of race and PRA with preawake and sleep-through surge. RESULTS Of the 323 individuals, 55% were black, 53% were men, and the average age was 45 years. After controlling for other factors, black race was associated with a 3.2mm Hg lower preawake and a 3.7mm Hg lower sleep-through surge compared with nonblacks. In nonblacks, higher PRA was associated with greater preawake surge only. There was no association of PRA with either preawake or sleep-through surge in blacks. Additional adjustment for dipping status resulted in attenuation of the race-surge associations. CONCLUSIONS Black race is associated with lower preawake and sleep-through surge compared with nonblacks, but the effect is partially attenuated by dipping status. Higher PRA appears to be associated with a higher preawake surge in nonblacks only. Further research should address if morning surge is definitively associated with clinical outcomes in racial subgroups, independent of dipping.