Those fortunate enough to be in Darlington's fan hospitality area during the Dodge Charger 500 weekend are in for a real treat thanks to the stars of NASCAR¿s past, present and future. Drivers scheduled for appearances in the Darlington Stripe Zone on Saturday, May 13 include 2005 championship contender Greg Biffle, 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers, and legendary driver Ned Jarrett.
Biffle, the NEXTEL Cup Series¿ second-place points finisher in 2005, earned his first victory at Darlington last year, winning the Dodge Charger 500, the track¿s inaugural night race. He called the win one of the highlights of his career. He will return to defend his title in the 2006 Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 under the lights on Mother¿s Day weekend.
"Before I ever raced at Darlington, I had certainly heard all about it. This track has quite a reputation," Biffle said. ¿I will never forget winning here last year. I would say that wins at Darlington and Daytona mean the most to any driver, because of the history at both tracks. Now I can say that I¿ve won at both, and I consider that a huge accomplishment in my racing career.¿
While Vickers has yet to visit Victory Lane in the NEXTEL Cup Series at the track ¿Too Tough To Tame,¿ he won the 2003 Diamond Hill Plywood 200 on his way to the Busch Series championship.
Vickers is quick to point out that Darlington is his favorite place to race. With teammates and former Darlington champions Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson serving as mentors, Vickers says he feels confident when racing at notoriously difficult Darlington. ¿Jimmie and Jeff have given me plenty of good advice, which I try to put into practice when we come to Darlington to race,¿ he said.
¿Gentleman¿ Ned Jarrett has the distinction of winning at Darlington by the widest margin of victory in NASCAR history. Jarrett took the checkered flag in the 1965 Southern 500 14 laps ahead of Buck Baker, the second-place finisher. He is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the National Auto Racing Hall of Fame, the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Jarrett was the Cup Series champion in 1961 and 1965 and the winner of 50 races and 36 pole positions. He personifies the history of NASCAR.
Located in the Wachovia Hospitality Village outside Turn 3, the Darlington Stripe Zone gives fans an opportunity to eat, relax and interact with NASCAR personalities on race morning. Stripe Zone admission is limited in number and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Darlington Stripe Zone admission includes: food and beverages (including four beer tickets); live entertainment; a pre-race pit pass; and question-and-answer sessions featuring defending race champion Greg Biffle, 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers, and racing legend Ned Jarrett.