Dale Jarrett's and Todd Parrott's six-year relationship as driver and crew chief was always tumultuous. The one thing the pair could always rely on, however, was that it was a successful marriage. Under Parrott's tutelage Jarrett won 24 races,...
Dale Jarrett's and Todd Parrott's six-year relationship as driver and crew chief was always tumultuous. The one thing the pair could always rely on, however, was that it was a successful marriage.
Under Parrott's tutelage Jarrett won 24 races, including two Daytona 500 victories and the NASCAR Cup series championship in 1999. The pair parted at the end of the 2001 season, and so did Jarrett's frequent trips to the winner's circle.
Jarrett has only two wins in 2002 and hasn't been to victory lane in the No. 88 UPS Ford since the February race at Rockingham, NC in 2003. Ironically, it may have been at Dover earlier this year during a Busch series race that Jarrett and Parrott realized they are better together than apart.
Parrott was serving as crew chief of the No. 90 Yates CitiFinancial Ford with Jarrett driving. Parrott managed to coerce Jarrett to get up on the wheel and race to a fourth-place finish.
"A lot of things have happened since the past," said Parrott. "I came back in 2003 with Elliott and we have had a lot of success. There were some things leadership-wise, that the team was lacking and, hopefully, when I came back I made some changes there and did some good things.
"We won some races and had a lot of success. A lot of things have gone on since then. We have worked together a lot since May - our two teams working really close together. I think our relationship - mine and Dale's - as far as I am concerned is good if not better than ever. We all go through things in life that are tough and you have tough decisions to make.
"I think, like I said, when I came back in 2003 we talked about our differences and problems and I think we've been great since then."
Whatever beacons of hope have presented themselves through the season for the Yates teams all was lost post Richmond when both Sadler and Jarrett failed to make the Chase for the championship. It was an even greater blow considering that all five Roush teams made the final field; Yates supplies Roush with their horsepower.
"It's tough for me," said Doug Yates of the Roush cars. "But it answers a question that I feel like the engine program is pretty solid and it's always nice when you can take one part out of the equation and say 'Ok, that part is OK right now. Let's go work on the next part.' There's a long list of things that make up a good race team and whenever you can eliminate those variables then it makes it nice.
"I want to sit at the head table with Elliott Sadler or Dale Jarrett. I want to sit at the head table period. But, it means a lot to me that it's our own organization."
The Yates stable has been without a win since Fontana last Labor Day when Sadler steered his Ford into victory lane.
"I am actually pretty pumped up the next nine races," Sadler commented. I can't wait because I think Todd is definitely gonna get the 88 running better than its run this summer. I think we're gonna continue on the pace that we're running on and I think that with them being much better we can kind of leapfrog each other and kind of make our teams better. Instead of just one team going in one direction and the other following, I think now we can go our separate ways, learn some things, put it together and make both teams stronger. I really believe that."
Sadler may no longer have a high profile crew chief as the season closes out, but the team made it clear that Kevin Buskirk was an interim solution until an appropriate replacement can be found. Sadler eluded that his wish list was fairly short and has already been expressed to Robert Yates.
It is expected that the No. 38 Ford will garner another prestigious crew chief from another team. Sadler at one point this year was third in standings but a series of unfortunate events kept the No. 38 team outside the top ten.
"I think back in May we saw that we needed to change up how we did things, but we didn't have the people or the cowboys to do it at the time," said Robert Yates. "We were sitting third in points with Elliott and we couldn't make a change there. We really couldn't even make hardly an aero change. We felt like we'd tune on it a little bit and if we'd stick with that we'd get into the Chase.
"Just get it in the Chase and we would start working on stuff. I tell you what, I like this format but I'd just like to be on the inside of it. One year ago is when our problem started. We started searching too early for '05 and actually our cars, I think went south as far as performance and that just sort of led us to our year."
Yates and General Manager Eddie D'Hondt hope that now with personnel changes and other changes within the organization that they are positioning themselves to have a fruitful 2007 season.
"I think the quality of our sponsors we have in M&M's and UPS we owe it to them to go out and perform well," said D'Hondt. "Let's face it, our organization is one of the top five in all of what we do and we need to get out there and perform that way. So we've taken a hard look and need to make changes until we get there and we're going to keep doing that until we do."