JARRETT RECORDS FASTEST SPEED AS FORD TEAMS OPEN DAYTONA TEST DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9) -- Dale Jarrett, the defending Busch Pole Award winner for the Daytona 500, posted the fastest time of three Ford NASCAR Winston Cup stock car teams...
JARRETT RECORDS FASTEST SPEED AS FORD TEAMS OPEN DAYTONA TEST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9) -- Dale Jarrett, the defending Busch Pole Award winner for the Daytona 500, posted the fastest time of three Ford NASCAR Winston Cup stock car teams that opened a three-day pre-season testing session Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.
Jarrett, the 1993 Daytona 500 winner, was clocked at 48.363 seconds, an average speed of 186.093 mph, in one of three Robert Yates Racing Ford Thunderbirds that he drove on the day.
Several other teams had planned to attend the test, but they reportedly were kept away by severe weather conditions that blanketed the Carolinas. Reportedly, driver Mike Wallace's Junie Donlavey-owned team was battling the snowy conditions and trying to reach the "World Center of Racing" by Wednesday.
Team owner Robert Yates noted Jarrett's speed was "where we calculated we would be today, somewhere between 184 and 186 miles per hour. Now we have to get the other two cars we have here to run where we figure they should be."
Yates, who has built the engines for numerous Daytona 500 and Pepsi 400 pole winners, as well as the winners of both races, said the search for speed had a few days left in an attempt to up the ante for Busch Pole Qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. "I thought we brought the best of everything," said Yates, owner of the three Ford Quality Care-backed Fords. "We're four-tenths off the fastest of the Chevrolets (Terry Labonte, 47.949 secs, 187.699 mph) but they had three days to get up good numbers. Still, four- tenths is a lot to make up. But, at Daytona, you're always on a mission to find more speed."
Jarrett's lap compared favorably to the first day best posted by Jeff Purvis a week ago when Chevrolet teams opened their winter runs. Purvis was clocked at 48.109/187.075 in the Phoenix Racing Monte Carlo.
Jarrett actually posted the day's three best times with his T- birds -- at least one of which sported a header treatment heard last year on Sterling Marlin's Chevrolet and this winter on a Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo -- while Elliott and Bud Moore's new driver, Wally Dallenbach, each had a pair of Thunderbirds. Late Model driver Ron Barfield posted a lap of 181.521 mph in an Elliott-Hardy Racing Thunderbird that he will use in the Feb. 11 Daytona ARCA 200 Bondo/Mar-Hyde Supercar Series race and in selected other ARCA races.
"We had a productive day overall, although running three cars kept me and the crew spread pretty thin," said Jarrett, who departed immediately following Tuesday's practice to attend an Orlando Magic basketball game with crew chief Todd Parrott. "We learned some things that we needed to know. Our team's engines are as strong as any other team's in racing..."
Jarrett was scheduled to be interviewed at halftime of the Sunshine Network broadcast of the Magic/New Jersey Nets game.
The test will continue Wednesday. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open daily at no charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with access through the Visitors' Center. Guided tours of the Speedway are also available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a nominal fee.
FORD TEST SPEEDS -- Jan. 9*
NO DRIVER/CAR TIME SPEED 88 Dale Jarrett/Ford 48.363 secs 186.093 mph 15 Wally Dallenbach/Ford 49.090 183.337 94 Bill Elliott/Ford 49.241 182.775
* Electronic times taken randomly throughout the day.