Nazareth, Pa. - For Tim Fedewa, there's no place like Nazareth Speedway. In his eight years in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, Fedewa has been to victory lane twice at Nazareth Speedway - in both 1995 and 1998. The...
Nazareth, Pa. - For Tim Fedewa, there's no place like Nazareth Speedway.
In his eight years in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, Fedewa has been to victory lane twice at Nazareth Speedway - in both 1995 and 1998. The driver of the No. 36 Stanley car is the only NASCAR Busch Series driver in the track's history who is a repeat winner. He has also finished outside of the top 10 only once, and that was an 11th-place finish in 1997. With one win already under his belt in the 2000 season, Fedewa hopes that his good fortune at Nazareth Speedway will continue.
"I have been extremely fortunate at Nazareth," Fedewa said. "I complain about running into bad luck, but I haven't had that problem at Nazareth. The one-mile flat tracks like Nazareth really suit my driving style.
"I feel comfortable at Nazareth, but I have to admit that it is still hard for me to believe I'm the only driver to have two wins there." Perhaps Fedewa is surprised at his fortune at Nazareth Speedway because when he first saw the track in 1993 it was nothing like he had ever seen before. Nazareth Speedway, once called the world's fastest one-mile oval, confused the rookie driver. The D-shaped oval has an elevation change of 34-feet, a downhill backstretch, an uphill front stretch and four turns - although drivers debate that fact.
Fedewa wasn't sure how to approach the challenging track, and he wasn't real positive about how he would make the race until he got some help. Current Cicci-Welliver teammate Todd Bodine pulled Fedewa aside and offered him some advice.
On a napkin, Bodine sketched out the track for Fedewa, showing him which lines and grooves he would need to follow to perform well at Nazareth. Bodine explained that Nazareth wasn't the usual oval-shaped track. He even compared it to a road course where every turn is different and where there are varying degrees of banking along the way.
Nazareth was the type of track where the driver has to concentrate on how the car feels at one end of the speedway or the other, not both, Bodine
explained. That was difficult to understand, Fedewa said. "Todd first showed me how to get around Nazareth. I was really lost when I got there," Fedewa said. "Todd drew me a map of all the important parts of the track, and he showed me how to get through the turns and around the track. It was a huge help."
Obviously Fedewa was a quick study. He finished the 1993 race in seventh position after starting 15th. His teacher, Bodine, finished in 11th place after starting from the pole.
"I've always liked to help the kids, the rookies around the garage," Bodine said. "Timmy was really struggling there that first year. He hadn't been running well, and I wanted to help him out. I just told him about gassing and braking and what lines to drive because Nazareth is difficult.
"I didn't know that what I told him would help him get two wins there." Two years later, Fedewa captured his first Busch Series career victory at Nazareth Speedway.
"There's nothing like standing in victory lane with your team and all the fans cheering for you," Fedewa said. "I'll never forget my first trip there at Nazareth. That team, like the Stanley team now, was really close, and we all got along really well.
"When you win a race and get along that well with the people you work with, it just makes the win that much more special."
Now, each time that Fedewa returns to Nazareth he gets that tingly feeling as he remembers his first trip to the winner's circle. And he can't help smiling when he walks by victory lane.
The Stanley team hopes to bring the No. 36 into victory lane for the second time this year and Fedewa for the third time at Nazareth Speedway. Fedewa and the No. 36 Stanley team recorded their first win at New Hampshire International Speedway in May.
"Nazareth Speedway will always be a very special place for me because I got my first win there," Fedewa said. "I always look forward to our trip up there, and I'm grateful that I have had so much good luck.
"Hopefully that good luck will continue this year, and we can get the Stanley car up front at Nazareth once again."