BUSCH: Darlington rookie Jimmy Foster

Darlington on the minds of all drivers, including rookies Foster focuses on "Too Tough" track DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 18) -- Have you ever been doing something, but your thoughts are somewhere else? Any day of any...

Darlington on the minds of all drivers, including rookies Foster focuses on "Too Tough" track

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 18) -- Have you ever been doing something, but your thoughts are somewhere else? Any day of any year, you can bet that NASCAR drivers are thinking about Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's original superspeedway, which will play host to the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 and TranSouth Financial 400 this weekend. It's not just the veteran drivers who have competed at the historic landmark. Rookies, too, can't wait for their first time to test their ability on the track "Too Tough To Tame." Such is the case for NASCAR Busch Series rookie Jimmy Foster, who competed last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will try to make his first race at Darlington's 1.366-mile oval during Busch Pole Day Friday. "We were flying out to Las Vegas at 30,000 feet and my thoughts should have been on that Las Vegas race track," said Foster, the 1996 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year, "but I just couldn't get Darlington off my mind. I've heard all my life how tough Darlington is and I have been fortunate to test there once." "Everyone said I did okay," Foster said, laughing at the memory. "I didn't get a 'Darlington Stripe,' and everybody tells me that's half the battle." The Florida native, grandson of Jim Foster (a 30-year executive of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation), tested last fall and ran a respectable lap of 158.122 mph, short of the NASCAR Busch Series record of 166.337 mph. "I've never been to a tougher place than Darlington," says the driver of the Key Motorsports/Speedvision/Outdoor Life Ford. "I'm in awe of the track. I can't wait to get on the track with other cars to learn the line. It'll be a big learning experience for me. "I keep looking ahead to the next challenge in my life. Darlington is a driver's track. If I can get into the field, I will have accomplished something. What a thrill it will be just to say 'I raced at Darlington.'" Foster will be one of seven rookies trying to make the field for the Diamond Hill Plywood 200. Others include two South Carolinians, Batesburg's Lyndon Amick and Rock Hill's David Hutto; Steve Park (driving Dale Earnhardt's entry); Jeff McClure; Stanton Barrett; and Johnny Chapman. Amick, the 1996 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series champion, tested for the first time at Darlington last week and came away with a fast lap of 163.756 mph. The Diamond Hill Plywood 200 gets the green flag at 1 p.m. Saturday. Busch Pole Award qualifying for the 147-lap event is set for 2 p.m. Friday. For tickets for either the Diamond Hill 200 or Sunday's TranSouth Financial 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, call (803) 395-8499.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Steve Park , Lyndon Amick , Stanton Barrett , Johnny Chapman