Darlington, S.C. - It's not that Tim Fedewa had doubts about competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, he just needed a little proof that his hard work was paying off. He knew that racing was in his blood and that he...
Darlington, S.C. - It's not that Tim Fedewa had doubts about competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, he just needed a little proof that his hard work was paying off.
He knew that racing was in his blood and that he belonged. But when Fedewa entered Darlington Raceway in March of 1995 during the third year of his Busch Series career, Fedewa admits that he was tired of waiting for something to happen. He was ready to celebrate.
After two full years in the Busch Series, Fedewa had racked up two top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes. He had also started in seventh position on three separate occasions. For a relative newcomer, his statistics were pretty good.
But Fedewa was anxious to return to the winning ways that he had gotten used to in the Artgo and ASA series. As he prepared for his 59th career Busch race in 1995, Fedewa was hoping that Darlington would hold the answers to his prayers.
"I wasn't really doubting myself, but I was getting frustrated and anxious for something to happen," Fedewa said. "A pole, a win. I just needed something to celebrate, something that would prove to me and anyone who didn't believe out there that I belonged."
Fedewa can't remember all the details of that March day at Darlington Raceway.
He doesn't know if his car was the fastest in practice, and he can't remember how the car was handling on the 1.3-mile egg-shaped track. What he does remember is that he hadn't qualified well at Darlington in his four previous attempts. The "track too tough to tame" was holding up to its nickname in Fedewa's eyes. That's what made what happened next even more special.
Fedewa strolled out to pit road, climbed into his car and turned the quickest lap of the day.
"When I got the pole, it was like 'Wow, I've finally arrived,' " Fedewa said. "I think that's when I knew that without a doubt that I belonged and could compete in the Busch Series.
"I think capturing that pole position is really what gave me the confidence that maybe I was lacking. Just a few races later I recorded my first victory at Nazareth, and the rest is history."
Capturing that first pole was perhaps the first flash of brilliance that Fedewa showed in his Busch Series career. Fedewa is now in his eighth season. He's captured four poles and traveled to victory lane four times - his most recent coming this past May at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Fedewa doesn't rate any win or any pole more special than the other, but capturing that first pole at Darlington Raceway back in March 1995 will be something he never forgets.
"I'll never get tired of going to Darlington because I kind of relive that day every time I'm there in my mind," he said. "Darlington will always be a really special place to me because I think that winning my first pole there really gave me the confidence and the spark that my career needed."