This Week in Ford Racing July 27, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series A year ago at this time, the Robert Yates Racing duo of Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett were struggling, but their fortunes have changed for the better as both ...
This Week in Ford Racing
July 27, 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
A year ago at this time, the Robert Yates Racing duo of Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett were struggling, but their fortunes have changed for the better as both drivers find themselves in the thick of NASCAR's Top 10 battle.
Sadler finds himself in eighth place after a 15th-place run at New Hampshire. The driver of the M&M's Taurus is only 26 points out of sixth place while holding a 128-point advantage over 11th-place Jeremy Mayfield.
Jarrett posted a ninth-place effort at New Hamphire and remained in 12th place overall, but lost ground over 10th-place Ryan Newman. Jarrett, who trails Mayfield by only 21 points, is 127 points behind Newman.
As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series prepares to return to Pocono for the second time this season, team owner Robert Yates spoke about the improvement of both teams and his hopes for seeing Sadler and Jarrett qualify for the Chase for the Championship.
ROBERT YATES , Car Owner - No. 38 and No. 88 Ford Tauruses
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR SEASON SO FAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?
"This is a good subject. Our performance and teamwork and the things that we've done this past year with the changes we made in personal is something I'm extremely happy with. I think Eddie has done a great job. He took us really from rock bottom to the point where now we're climbing the mountain and seeing some good daylight. With this new top 10, which we had been used to being in the top five, if we can make it back in this top 10 with both of our teams, that would be pretty awesome."
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS NEW POINT SYSTEM WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED AND HAS IT CHANGED NOW THAT YOU HAVE A CHANCE FOR BOTH TEAMS TO MAKE IT?
"When I first heard it I certainly understood the reason behind it. We don't make the rules, so I just tried to look at it in a positive light and said, 'You know what, look at those years when you finished second so many times and had a big lead and had two or three things go against you,' or you had to have a perfect season all year long. This really breaks it up. It makes it a little more fun and makes it almost two races. You have the opportunity to stop, rest and re-group, so I think from that standpoint it's a good program. If you don't make the top 10, you can really get your stuff ready for the following season. You can go out and take chances. It's that season you get into where you get a little bit of a lead or sit on that cushion and you can't do anything new. You have to stay with what got you there and then sometimes you fall behind. Those are long years. This way it shortens it up, so I think it's more fun and a little more relaxed. It's not as long of a season. It's like if you don't make the playoffs, you can work hard for the next year and still have the opportunity to win 10 races. It's not all about the championship, so it breaks things up and puts a lot of the emphasis back on winning and not just the championship. I think it's a good thing. But it's only gonna be a good thing if we're both in the top 10 (joking)."
ARE YOU MORE NERVOUS ABOUT KEEPING ELLIOTT IN THE TOP 10 OR TRYING TO GET DJ IN THERE?
"As much as you want to say don't look behind you, you feel the heat coming. For Elliott, we can't look behind us. We've got to go for it and not worry about trying to sit on anything. For DJ, hey, go for it. Again, sometimes on Monday you wish you had made the more conservative call or you second-guess something, but you're always pushing the edge. I think in both of these cases we still have to push the limits. We can't get conservative on either one of them. DJ has more to win, but Elliott has everyone charging hard. It's a serious race from 12th to seventh or eighth place. That is a serious race right now, but being part of it is great."