NASCAR and the ...
NASCAR and the #88 Team reaches halfway at Loudon.
LOUDON, N.H., July 16, 2002 --- With 18 races completed, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series has officially reached the halfway point of the 2002 season. Only 18 races remain and the first of those 18 is the "New England 300" at New Hampshire International Speedway. Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team are the defending winners of the 2001 "New England 300" - the team's first win at the one-mile facility. Jarrett and his fellow drivers will take to the track this weekend with qualifying Friday, July 19th, at 3:05 p.m. EST. The green flag will wave on the "New England 300" on Sunday, July 21st at 2 p.m. EST with TNT providing live racing action.
Jarrett Hopes To Become Flat Track Specialist
The 2001 season was a year of firsts for Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team. They had first-time wins at Texas, Martinsville and New Hampshire. The team looks to capitalize on what it learned during the 2001 race in Loudon, and duplicate the performance.
"I think New Hampshire is going to be just as tough as it always has been," Jarrett said. "Track position is going to be the issue because it's basically a one-lane, one-groove race track without a lot of room for passing. The fast way around New Hampshire is the bottom groove. It takes the total package to have a good day there. You have to have a good racecar and a good race strategy. Even though it's only a 300-mile race, you can expect it to be a long day. It's just a difficult place to race.
During New Hampshire's off-season, the track was repaved along the bottom groove. The NASCAR Busch Series raced at New Hampshire in the spring and it appeared the results of the new surface benefited some teams.
"The track has changed a little bit where they repaved the bottom groove there, so that will probably change things up a little from last year," Jarrett continued. "But from talking to some of the Busch Series teams that raced there in May, it actually helped the track out. So, that should be a good thing for everyone."
Staying Sharp Through Second Half of 2002
It may seem like the 2002 Winston Cup season has already run its course, but there are still 18 races left to determine who will reign supreme as the Winston Cup Champion. It's still anybody's game, and less than 400 points separate positions one through 14 in the point standings.
"We have a long way to go before this season is over even though it feels like we've already run close to a full season," Jarrett said. "We have been running considerably better since the beginning of June - but we don't have the finishes to show it because of some late-race problems. We want to continue moving in the direction we're heading, win a few more races and get back into the top 10 in points. If we can end the season on that note, then it should give us momentum as we prepare for 2003 during the off-season."
Northeast Is Welcome Stomping Grounds For UPS
The race in Loudon, N.H., is the northeastern-most point visited by the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. UPS has a strong presence in New England with heavy business in the mega market of Boston, in addition to one of its regional air hubs that is located in Hartford, Conn. Just a short drive to Loudon, N.H., the Bradley Regional Air Hub in Hartford averages six daily flights and has an air sort capacity of 20,000 packages/documents per hour.