UPS Team Looks to Build on Dover Finish CHARLOTTE, N.C. (September 28, 2004) ----- The majority of events that take place at Talladega Superspeedway tend to lean to the side of the dramatic and exciting. With the Chase for the Championship in...
UPS Team Looks to Build on Dover Finish
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (September 28, 2004) ----- The majority of events that take place at Talladega Superspeedway tend to lean to the side of the dramatic and exciting. With the Chase for the Championship in only its third event it could be even more dramatic for those battling for the championship. While the "Chasers" are battling for a championship, Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team are preparing for goals that are of both the short-term and long-term variety.
"I think first we need to get back to victory lane," Jarrett said. "We have eight more opportunities to do that this year so that's something that I think is real important to us. Obviously it would have been nice to be in the top 10 in the points and battling for a championship, but it almost has been a blessing for this team that we aren't in that position. We have accomplished a lot this year in getting back to where we can compete in the top 10 on a weekly basis. We aren't there yet, but we're closer. If we had made the top 10 then all we would be concentrating on is the championship and not really looking at areas in which we still need improvement."
"Now, we are working on improving our program in the areas where we need help, and something else we're doing is looking to next year and getting ready for the 2005 season," Jarrett continued. "We are taking a 2005 chassis to Kentucky in a couple weeks to test and to see where we need to be so that when we go to Daytona in February we can hit the ground running. Ideally, we'd like to be able to end the year with at least a win and to keep gaining on our program so that we are a championship team next season."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Talladega
This is considered a wild card race. Why is that?
"For starters it is a race where you have very little control over how your day will go. Sure, you can do all the right things in preparing a solid race car, and having a good engine and aerodynamic problem, but it is too easy to get caught up in someone else's mistake. The guy racing beside you could make just a minor mistake and it can end your day pretty quick. That's the one thing that has been so frustrating for me, and a lot of the competitors, over the past couple years is that this is a race that you can have the absolute best car and still not have a good finish. It gets very dicey at Talladega and I imagine we'll see more of the same this weekend."
So, it takes more than just patience to succeed this weekend?
"Every race takes patience, as well as a good handling race car. Talladega requires all of that and the right mixture of good fortune. Like I said, it is a race where one team's fate is in the hands of all 43 competitors. All 43 drivers have to be smart, exercise patience and make good decisions while on the track."
The team is coming off a solid run at Dover. Does that give you a confidence boost for the rest of the season?
"Yeah, I think so. We took a brand new car to Dover and by the end of the race had a car that was probably a close second to the winner. We got a little behind there during the middle part of the race, but made a couple of minor adjustments that really brought the car to life. The car is an in-house car and it was very satisfying in the way it handled and adapted during the race. We have the once car, Chassis 28, that we have been racing pretty much everywhere since Pocono in June, so we feel like we now have another car that gives me the feel I need to allow the team to make the right adjustments and to be competitive. Because we now have another car, it certainly gives the team a confidence boost as we head into the last eight races of the year."
Notes of Interest
* This weekend's EA Sports 500 is the 36th race of Jarrett's career at Talladega. In 35 previous starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Jarrett has picked up one win, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
* The UPS Team travels to Kentucky Speedway following the race at Talladega for a day of testing where they will be testing for upcoming events, as well as some chassis projects for 2005.
Chassis 6 is the car the UPS Team will race in this week's EA Sports 500 at Talladega. It is the same car Jarrett raced at Talladega earlier this season when the team finished 16th. Additionally, it is the car Jarrett won the Budweiser Shootout with in February.