DARLINGTON, SC- (August 31)- In the game of football, it's often referred to as the "home field advantage," the extra boost of adrenaline and confidence that a team gets when competing on its home turf. The Darlington Raceway is the equivalent...
DARLINGTON, SC- (August 31)- In the game of football, it's often referred to as the "home field advantage," the extra boost of adrenaline and confidence that a team gets when competing on its home turf.
The Darlington Raceway is the equivalent of a "home track" to many members of Team Amick Motorsports, who will field the No. 35 POWERTEL / Mitsubishi Wireless Phones Chevrolet in the Dura Lube All Pro Bumper To Bumper 200 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division (NBS) race on September 2.
Driver Lyndon Amick hails from nearby Saluda, SC, while Crew Chief Ricky Pearson has lived in Spartanburg, SC, his whole life.
The home track designation is particularly appropriate for Pearson, whose family name is synonymous with the "Track Too Tough To Tame." Pearson's father, NASCAR Legend David Pearson, holds the record for the most Winston Cup victories at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval, having gone to Victory Lane there nine times.
Pearson says, every time he returns to the track that's so closely associated with his family, it always gives him extra incentive to turn in a good performance.
"I'd like to think we prepare just as much for other races as we do for Darlington," says Pearson, "and I don't put any added pressure on the team to do well here, but yeah, it's always in the back of your mind. You always want to perform well in front of the home crowd."
Another incentive for the younger Pearson to have a good day is to avoid a good-natured ribbing from his father, who will have a little fun at his son's expense.
"My dad always seems to watch us a little closer when we come here. He likes to give me a hard time when we don't run well at other tracks, but he steps it up a notch if I have a bad day at Darlington."
Amick says he also feels like he is being watched a little closer when he races at the South Carolina track. That feeling might be attributed to the huge collection of family and friends who visit the Darlington facility for every NASCAR race.
"We bring a lot of folks with us, that's for sure," Amick says. "I've got a lot of relatives and friends who don't get to watch me race in person very often, so Darlington is a chance for all of us to get together. It's kind of like a family reunion, it just happens to be in the infield of a stock car race."
While some might think that the additional friendly faces would be a distraction for the 23 year-old driver, Amick feels the exact opposite is true.
"Having all my friends and family around actually calms me down," says Amick. "They're here to support me regardless of how I do, and knowing that I've got that kind of goodwill backing me makes me that much more focused to have a great race. Having a lot of friends here is nothing but a plus."
Amick and Pearson hope their support systems will help them to a second top-10 finish this season at the Darlington track. In the March 18 Sun Com 200, Team Amick scored a 10th place finish, the first time Amick had cracked the top-10 in the four events he's competed in at the facility.
"When we finished 10th here in the spring, David Pearson came up and congratulated me, which was a huge thrill," Amick remembers. "But, he also told me what I could have done differently to improve. I'll use that advice this weekend. If I could get my first Busch Series win with David Pearson watching, at Darlington, in my home state, I don't know how much more we can improve over that."
The Dura Lube All Pro Bumper To Bumper 200 will air live this Saturday, September 2, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.