Greg Biffle Returns For A Winner's Circle Appearance
Like the "blitzkrieg" style of strategic military maneuver or use of the "blitz" play in football, 2005 Dodge Charger 500 champion Greg Biffle scored another decisive victory at Darlington Raceway on Wednesday, April 5. Biffle's Winner's Circle appearance to promote the 2006 Dodge Charger 500 weekend consisted of a quick series of widely varied activities, giving birth to a new term at NASCAR's most historic speedway - "BlitzGreg."
The pinnacle of ticket purchases
Each year, NASCAR works with race winners from the previous season to help tracks promote their upcoming events. This promotional vehicle is known as the Winner's Circle program. Track officials structured Biffle's Winner's Circle appearance to generate maximum publicity and exposure in a minimal amount of time. Following his arrival on Wednesday morning, Biffle visited the Raceway administrative offices for a quick photo with Darlington's staff of sales agents and director of ticketing Norma Nesbitt.
Even when a plan goes sideways, its direction can remain true. An "unscheduled" fan who stopped in to purchase tickets for the Dodge Charger 500 got the thrill of a lifetime when Darlington's defending champion stepped in to help with his seating decision. "I'll do a burnout right in front of you," Biffle promised.
Gamecock Nation adds a new name to its roster
Biffle then spent some time with the University of South Carolina's motorsports marketing class, which traveled from Columbia to spend the day at Darlington. Comprised primarily of junior and senior sports management majors, the class is offered each year during the spring semester and taught by the staff of Darlington Raceway.
Questions for guest lecturer Biffle ran the gamut from merchandising and competitive concerns to how he likes to spend his rare days off. The newest member of the Gamecocks' professorial staff was presented a certificate of appreciation by department head Dr. Tom Regan. "Does this mean I have to take a test now?" asked Biffle.
The ultimate VIP parking spot
The most unique of all racetracks, Darlington continues to modernize her facilities while working to maintain the traditions that have made her a fixture on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for 57 years. One of those traditions, known as Winners' Alley, honors Darlington champions by providing them with an exclusive lifetime parking spot, literally on the front row.
Located on pit road, a driver receives a designated Winners' Alley parking place only after earning a win at the track "Too Tough To Tame." Biffle's spot, which was unveiled on April 5, sits between those of Buddy Baker and Jeff Burton, just east of former winners including Jeff Gordon, Ned Jarrett and David Pearson.
Meet the Press
The staff of NASCAR Café in Myrtle Beach made the short trip to Darlington to cater lunch for the media. During a press conference immediately following lunch, Biffle talked about getting his first win at Darlington, the challenges posed by the ornery track, and the season so far.
Old name for a new tower
To satisfy an increased demand for tickets at NASCAR's original superspeedway, Darlington Raceway has added a new 6,200-seat grandstand in Turn 1, which will be completed and open for business when NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup and Busch series return to the track on Mother's Day weekend, May 12-13.
Recent changes at the track, however, necessitated the removal of the historic Brasington Grandstand from Turn 2. Brasington, constructed in 1965, was one of the last remaining covered grandstands in racing until the roof was removed in 2004 to accommodate Darlington's facility lighting system. The entire grandstand was torn down in 2005.
The 3,300-seat wooden grandstand bore the name of Harold Brasington, the Darlington developer whose vision of a racetrack designed specifically for
stock cars ultimately became NASCAR's most venerable venue.
Continuing her reputation for upholding history and tradition, Darlington's new grandstand has been officially named the Brasington Tower. Raceway president Chris Browning, along with members of the Brasington family and Greg Biffle, Darlington's contemporary champion, cut the ribbon and announced the name on Media Day.
In keeping with Harold Brasington's commitment to the success of NASCAR racing in South Carolina, every seat in the new Brasington Tower has been sold, and a capacity crowd will watch race action at Darlington from an entirely new perspective when the green flag waves to signal the start of the 2006 Dodge Charger 500 on May 13.
May 2006 will usher in a new type of racing at Darlington when the first go-karts hit the gas. The kart track, which will feature World Karting Association (WKA) sanctioned events for kids and adults, is located in the Raceway's display area, behind the frontstretch grandstands. Promoter Ted Allred brought some karts for Biffle and the media to test-drive on Media Day. They were joined by a surprise guest with a familiar name. Lake Speed, the 1978 WKA champion, stopped by to offer a few karting tips. Speed already has a proven record of success at Darlington; he won the TranSouth Financial 500 NASCAR Winston (now NEXTEL) Cup Series race in March of 1988.
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