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NASCAR WCUP: Geoff Bodine Likes 'Driver vs Racetrack' at Darlington

2 September 1998

HARRISBURG, N.C. - Over the years, Darlington Raceway has treated Philips Ford driver Geoff Bodine pretty well. In all, he owns three top fives, 15 top 10's and 720 laps led in 33 career starts. But even with that record, he still respects the track mo re than any other on the Winston Cup circuit, knowing it can reach out and ruin a great run in the blink of an eye. This week, Bodine and his Mattei Motorsports teammates go to Darlington loaded with respect and determination as they look for a good finish, heading toward the home stretch of the 1998 season.

Geoff Bodine on...

...the key to success at Darlington:

"You have to be really careful with your competition, but you have to be even more careful with the racetrack. You really race the track. You don't worry as much about passing your competitors as you do worry about hitting the wall. If you get in the wrong position at Darlington, there is not way out." to describe Darlington:

"It's not a fun track, it's a tough track. But that is what I like - tracks that are tough and challenging. Darlington is that kind of track. The racing groove is so narrow and the corners are different than most tracks. Turns three and four remind me of racing dirt . You just slide the car through the corner in a drift. It's a gutsy track. You have to go hard, but you have to know how hard you can go or you'll get yourself a 'Darlington stripe.'" to pass at Darlington:

"Very carefully."

...learning to drive Darlington from David Pearson:

"In 1982, I came to Darlington for the first time to run a late model race. I figured it would be pretty smart to follow someone that knew how to get around the track and David Pearson was the best at Darlington. So, I ended up following David around and he showed me how to drive that track. He taught me that day to race the track and not the competition, until you have to. He didn't know he was teaching me anything. There was no verbal communication between us - I just followed him around all day. But, he was a pretty good teacher, because I ended up beating him and everyone else that day."