DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 24) -- The old saying is "practice makes perfect." In the case of Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Danny Pardus versus Darlington Raceway, practice and testing at the stubborn, old course is absolutely ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 24) -- The old saying is "practice makes perfect."
In the case of Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Danny Pardus versus Darlington Raceway, practice and testing at the stubborn, old course is absolutely essential.
This may have been a week off for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, but not for Midwest Transit Racing, which spent two days testing its Chevrolet over the egg-shaped, 1.366-mile oval.
Pardus grew up 15 minutes from Daytona International Speedway, but even as a little kid, followed the action at Darlington, which is celebrating its 50 year anniversary this season.
"I've been to Darlington before as a race fan," said Pardus. "I've known the tradition of the hard racing that's gone on here. And I also know how brutal of a place it can be. This place can reach up and get you. Knowing all the history of Darlington makes it really neat for me to come here and run around this place."
Pardus knows how valuable testing is for a rookie driver and a rookie team. The team failed to qualify for the Dura Lube 400 Winston Cup race at North Carolina Motor Speedway despite getting help in the 11th hour from veteran Billy Standridge.
"The team asked Billy to help us at `The Rock'," said Pardus. "He couldn't find any more speed out of the race car. That told us something. That told us we have to do more homework with our cars, and do more testing. To me, that's the key."
Pardus got a bonus at Darlington when he picked up some information from NASCAR legends Bobby Allison and David Pearson, who were helping with their Busch Series teams. The 35-year-old Pardus quickly learned what the wily old vets have known for years -- Darlington lives up to its billing as the track "Too Tough To Tame."
"I know what Darlington can do to you,'' said Pardus. "You carry a lot of speed through the corners, but if you don't stay up on the steering wheel, you'll get in trouble fast. You've got to stay with race car and concentrate and focus through each turn on each lap."
Midwest Transit Racing, owned by Hal Hicks and Mike Witters, will continue the test tour when Pardus attacks Atlanta Motor Speedway March 1-2.
"The more time we get on the race track, the more we'll be competitive," said Pardus. "The race for us is to qualify for the race. That's our race right now. For a Winston Cup Series rookie not to test would be treacherous. The team has put together a good race car for Darlington and they're behind me 100 percent."