Darlington II: Ford - Dale Jarrett interview

This Week in Ford Racing August 26, 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, has three NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway, but they have all come in the spring race. Jarrett is still looking for...

This Week in Ford Racing
August 26, 2003

NASCAR Winston Cup

Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, has three NASCAR Winston Cup Series wins at Darlington Raceway, but they have all come in the spring race. Jarrett is still looking for his first Southern 500 victory and would like nothing better than to do it this weekend, which could be the last time the race is held on Labor Day weekend.

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus:

THIS POSSIBLY BEING THE LAST LABOR DAY SOUTHERN 500, DOES IT TAKE ON MORE MEANING?

"Yeah, sure it does. I've known very little else on Labor Day weekend than the Southern 500. I've been going there every year since I was born and when you talk about tradition and how things got started in our sport, you certainly think of Darlington and the Southern 500. That would mean a lot to me to get that first Southern 500 win on the last time we'll race there on Labor Day, for right now anyway. That would be pretty special."

THE FACT YOU GREW UP IN THIS SPORT, DOES THIS RACE MEAN MORE TO YOU THAN MAYBE SOME OTHERS?

"Yeah, it does. I've been fortunate enough to win at Darlington, but not the Southern 500 and that would mean a lot to me. Knowing the history of this sport and being there with my dad when he won there in '65, yeah, this is the one on my resume that is not there right now that I'd like to have."

BONDY LONG AND THAT '65 TEAM ARE GOING TO HAVE A REUNION AT DARLINGTON THIS WEEKEND. WHAT KIND OF MEMORIES DO YOU HAVE GOING THERE DURING THAT TIME?

"Probably the biggest thing is I can remember being able to go there with my dad when I was very young and hanging out by the really big scoreboard that was in the middle of the infield. There was a play area underneath there, so I could go there all day while my dad was on the race track practicing and qualifying. It was myself and Kyle Petty and Larry and Ricky Pearson and we had a good time. Then you always remember the Family Grandstand that was in what was turn four then and is turn two now. That's where we watched the races from, and in '65 in particular when my dad won, the Camden High School Band was there playing, and we had a lot of people so it was a pretty special day."

ARE YOU A TRADITIONALIST? DO YOU LIKE SOME OF THE CHANGES GOING ON WITH THINGS LIKE THE LABOR DAY RACE MOVING AND LIGHTS GOING UP AT DARLINGTON?

"I know that there has to be change. If we would have kept things the same forever, then where would we be now? It wouldn't be nearly as exciting, but there are some things you wonder why we couldn't keep them the same. Since Darlington is keeping the race and we're still going to have the Southern 500, only on a different weekend, it looks like we could have switched things around a little bit better and made it happen. But, again, I understand where we're at because of the popularity of the sport and a lot of the popularity for this sport comes from the media and the networks and the opportunity that they've given us. They kind of tell us where to be and when to be there, but change sometimes takes a little getting used to and this is one of those that is gonna take some time to get used to. As far as the lights, I think it would be pretty cool to run the Southern 500 under lights, if it was on Labor Day weekend."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Kyle Petty