LAS VEGAS, Nev., February 26, 2002 --- The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series makes its first stop of the year along the west coast of the United States. Forty-three cars will compete amidst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas in the upcoming "UAW - ...
LAS VEGAS, Nev., February 26, 2002 --- The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series makes its first stop of the year along the west coast of the United States. Forty-three cars will compete amidst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas in the upcoming "UAW - Daimler Chrysler 400" at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Team look to one up their performance in the 2001 event at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Team UPS started from the pole and finished second in 2001 and look to turn the second into a first Sunday, March 3. The race will air live on FOX at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Jarrett Looks Forward To Racing In The Desert
"Las Vegas is a great track for racing. It's wide and has room for lots of two and three-wide racing. It's a real competitor's track and a lot of teams run well there, which makes it difficult to pinpoint one guy that's the person to beat. We've put together a couple of good runs there during the last two races, so we're hoping to put together a good run and contend for the win this weekend."
Team UPS Does Its Homework During Las Vegas Test
Prior to the start of the 2002 Winston Cup Season, the #88 team spent two days testing in the Nevada desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The #88 team was one of several NASCAR teams to use one of the allotted seven test sessions teams receive during a Winston Cup season. Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge explains the value of using a test at one of the biggest paying races of the year.
"It was a good test session and we learned a lot," Elledge explained. "We did a lot of long runs because there typically aren't a lot of cautions at Vegas because there's plenty of room for racing. We figured out some things that should work in our favor and hopefully, with a little luck, we'll be able to get a good finish."
Single Engine Rule Gets Second Test In Vegas
The big question mark for the 2002 Winston Cup season has been the single engine rule that requires teams to practice, qualify and race with the same engine. Because of the numerous practice sessions during Speedweeks at Daytona, the single engine rule was first enforced at Rockingham last weekend. Team UPS' day at the "Rock" ended early when the engine broke on the #88 giving the team a 42nd - place finish. Jarrett explained how he thought the incident on Sunday was unrelated to the new rule.
"I don't think it had anything to do with the single engine rule," Jarrett explained. "It happened too early for that to be a problem. Something just let go. As hard as we race, pieces and parts break sometimes, it just doesn't happen much in our camp."
"The past couple of races we've run at Rockingham we've run about 550 miles total through the weekend, so Rockingham typically doesn't tax the engine too hard," explained Doug Yates, engine builder for the #88 UPS Ford. "When we go to Vegas I'm sure it's going to be a little different story because that place is a lot harder on the engine.
"We've tried to create a balance between the qualifying engines and race engines of last year. I don't think we'll know for a couple of weeks, especially until we get to tracks like Vegas and Atlanta, what the competition is doing and that's going to drive people to probably make some adjustments. Hopefully, we're the ones driving people to make those adjustments."