FORD RACING WINSTON 500 SATURDAY NOTES, October 16, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus: LOOKING AT THE RACES THAT ARE LEFT DO YOU FEEL THIS IS THE...
FORD RACING WINSTON 500 SATURDAY NOTES, October 16, 1999 Talladega Superspeedway
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus: LOOKING AT THE RACES THAT ARE LEFT DO YOU FEEL THIS IS THE ONE MOST PIVOTAL TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "No, personally I don't. Every one of them pays the same amount of points. Everybody talks about well this is the most dangerous one of them all. But anything can happen anywhere. So I don't look at it like that. This is the most important one right now because this is the one this week." DO YOU FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR CHANCES HERE? "Yeah. This is a car that has been awfully good to us and worked well for us. I that if we just make the right decisions throughout the day the first 400 miles here don't really matter. You just have to get yourself in a position to race that last 100 miles."
GIVE US A SENSE OF YOUR COMMUNICATION, YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS AND TALKING WITH YOUR SPOTTER AND WHAT YOU FEEL AS A DRIVE WHEN YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THREE-WIDE RACING. "When I'm there the spotter is nice to have, but ultimately it is up to me to know who's around me and what I need to do. You hear too many times of people getting out and saying the spotter didn't tell me that guy was there. It's not really his job. Most of the time, other than when you are traveling right by here on the tri-oval, we're so far away that they can't really make a good decision for you. I probably check my mirror more than I should and look around, but I like to know exactly what's happening. When you're in the middle of a three wide deal, that's probably the least amount of fun you'll ever have driving a race car, but the challenge is there to try to get of that and get back in line."
WITH THE PRACTICE YOU'VE HAD HERE, DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A CAR THAT CAN DRIVE BY TWO OR THREE AND TAKE THE LEAD? "With the proper help, yeah. I don think there is anybody here that can just pull out and go by themself. Our car seems to really draft well. You can tell the difference in the way it drives when it gets just a little push from behind and with that little bit of a push I can pass cars."
WITH THE POINTS LEAD YOU HAVE DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE A LITTLE MORE COMFORTABLE HERE TOMORROW? "No, I don't think you ever get comfortable here. You know that you are gonna be three-wide racing all day long so you have to get yourself prepared for that. I guess the one thing you hope is that everybody will show a lot of patience when we get into this and realize that basically what takes place in these first three or four hundred miles doesn't really matter. So there's not really big reasons to be taking a lot of chances at that point. I know that we've got a good racecar and I don't have to push the issue because we'll have plenty of time to get to the front. We'll see most every position that's out there throughout the day. It's just a matter of when it comes time to get ready to race and when we've got to have ourselves in the proper position then." MARK SAID YESTERDAY THAT LAST YEAR WHEN HE GOT CAUGHT UP IN A CRASH IT MAY HAVE COST HIM A SHOT AT THE TITLE. "You know that can happen, but it can happen at Rockingham and it can happen at Phoenix or Homestead too. You can't go into a race thinking about that happening. What you've got to do is go into a race with your equipment the very best you can get it. Then I have to make the right decisions on the racetrack. If you get caught up in something, it just happens. And we'll got to Rockingham next week and try to make it better then." HAS THERE BEEN MORE GIVE AND TAKE AT THESE RACES? "I've seen more patience being shown here recently I think. It only takes getting involved in one or so of those and you realize that's not something you want to do much, and so I think throughout the last couple of years everybody has had their opportunity to get involved in one of those wrecks. Then you come back and realize this type of racing is difficult on everyone and we just need to show a little more patience. And I've seen a lot of that, people backing out of the throttle at certain times of the race to let people in. Even at the end of races I've seen it happen so that shows everybody is doing a lot better job."
THIS CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARS TO BE REALLY EXCITING FOR YOUR FATHER. "Yeah, I'm sure he's excited. And it's exciting for us, but we realize we still have a lot of work yet to do, and if we are going to achieve the championship we have to work every week to make it happen. As I told the guys, we've got to have fun at this because hopefully we will have other opportunities at this but we may not have another opportunity to be a part of a championship like this and especially leading it for as long as we have. So let's enjoy it, but let's not forget that we have a lot of unfinished work to do."
IS THIS THE LAST REAL WILD CARD RACE YOU HAVE WHERE YOU COULD GO FROM FIRST TO 40TH, AND THEN THE OTHERS YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME FOR POINTS? "I think it can happen every week because the way the competition is. I think every race is the same way. You can get caught up in something at Rockingham as much as you can here. Sure, it seems to lend itself to having a big wreck where a lot of innocent bystanders get involved. But you have that at other places too. We just have to take it a week at a time. Right now this is the most important one and the one we have to get through tomorrow and it's not like you can play it conservative here. You have to get in and mix it up, but use your head and come out on the good side of it when it's all over." IS YOUR TEAMMATE GOING TO HELP YOU OUT AT ALL? "Oh, I'm sure he will whenever we get that opportunity. We've got Ricky there with one of our engines this weekend. I know that he's going to be willing to help. You'd be surprised at the number of guys who have told me, hey I'm with you this weekend. So hopefully if we've got a good car they can help. I think we've got a lot of support, and that will be something that we'll need."
HOW'S THE BACK? "The back's pretty good. This place doesn't help it any bouncing around out here. It's okay. It's not anything that's going to give us any problems."
YOU SAID YOU'VE TOLD THE GUYS TO ENJOY THIS. IS THERE ANY PART OF THIS YOU ARE ENJOYING? "Yeah, oh yeah. Getting to answer getting to answer you all's questions every week about the same thing (laughter). I'm enjoying all of it. It's really a lot of fun. The attention that's paid to our race team and myself. It's just really a blast. We're having a great time. The racing side of it, it's fun too. That's really a challenge. It's a different challenge than what we've seen in the past. Here we've got a lead and we have to know how to handle this. And we have to learn what to do in this situation. I think it's fun for our guys to pick up the papers and turn on the TV, and they're the ones that are being talked about, so we are enjoying it."
THE LOGICAL THING WOULD BE TO FOLLOW THE 18 CAR WHEREVER HE GOES. "That would be good except that he is pretty fast, and I'm not sure I can hook on and take off with him. He's going to be one of the guys we know that we have to beat here, and if we can keep him in sight we know that will definitely be something that will be to our advantage. Here you can see a guy and be 30 positions behind him, so I need to be a lot closer than that. Last week at Charlotte I could see him for most of the race, and unfortunately at the end of the race the way I could see him was in my mirror coming to lap me. But we didn't lose that many points to him. They've got a good race team, and Bobby's a good smart race driver, and Mark's right there too. So we've just got to keep those guys in sight and get our job done. We know if we can finish up front we'll be okay."
AFTER ROCKINGHAM YOU HAVE A WEEK OFF OR A COUPLE OF DAYS. ARE YOU GOING TO DO ANYTHING LIKE GO TO VEGAS? "I'll just tell you what I'm doing. Monday I have a meeting and photo shoot at Robert Yates Racing. Tuesday I have a MRO board meeting before I go to Myrtle Beach for an evening before my golf tournament. Wednesday I have my golf tournament at Myrtle Beach. I leave from there to go to Homestead Wednesday night, and I test Thursday and Friday at Homestead. And I come Saturday and then I go trick or treating on Sunday." WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DRESS AS? "Well, I'm not sure yet. The kids haven't told me that."
IN THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES SOME GUYS HAVE SAID LAPPED TRAFFIC HAVE PLAYED A PART IN THE OUTCOME. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE THIS YEAR? "I think it's more difficult because the cars are more competitive even though somebody is getting lapped. It could be for a number of different reasons. Maybe they had a bad pit stop or maybe a set of tires didn't work just the way they wanted and their car is still pretty good. It's not their job to just pull over. There's nobody out here who wants to affect the outcome of a race like that and nobody's trying to do that. They're still racing too. They may be racing for 10th or 15th, and that's important to them. At the time, it's a little upsetting maybe if you're the guy that's in the lead or trying to win the race. But after you think about it, I think we've all been in those position ourselves, and I'd like to think that people handle that situation the way you handled it with them." WHAT IS THE WAY TO HANDLE IT ON THE TRACK? THERE ISN'T A RULE. IS THERE A GENERAL CONSENSUS? "No. If you're going to try to make it to where you're not a factor in it, the best way to do it is on the straightaway. If you just ease out of the throttle a little bit, and let the guys pass on the straightaway, then that's better for everybody. You don't slow each other down, and you can go back to racing as hard as you need to race after that." IS THIS SOMETHING NASCAR NEEDS TO LOOK AT? "No, NASCAR can't control it. That's something that is up to the drivers. They do their job by giving the passing flag to let the guy know the leaders are coming, and from that point it's up to the drivers to take car of themselves."
WITH THE RIVALRIES BETWEEN THE MANUFACTURERS, ARE YOU AFRAID THE CHEVROLET AND PONTIAC DRIVERS WON'T GIVE YOU THE ROOM A MARK MARTIN MIGHT GIVE YOU? "No I don't think so unless they're lying to me which that could very well be. I've had a number of guys that are in GM products to let me know they will be glad to help if they can throughout this. I think again, a lot of it goes back to how you've raced people over the years, and hopefully that's going to pay off for us now."