The Nextel: Dale Jarrett preview

UPS Team Hopes to Take Win in All-Star Race Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway CHARLOTTE ( May 17, 2004 ) ----- The racing community is gearing up for one of the most exciting...

UPS Team Hopes to Take Win in All-Star Race

Dale Jarrett
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway

CHARLOTTE ( May 17, 2004 ) ----- The racing community is gearing up for one of the most exciting events of the racing season with this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Formerly known as The Winston, the All-Star Challenge provides one of the most lucrative purses per laps run of the year.

Jarrett has been taken out of contention before the event's final segment in accidents not of his own making during the last two editions of the "all-star" event. Prior to that, Jarrett had been the bridesmaid two consecutive years, making the driver of the UPS Ford hungry for a victory in the event nicknamed "Survival of the Fastest." One of the aspects he looks forward to with the 2004 edition of the event is the fact that a full field will make up the final 20-lap dash as opposed to the 10-car field that has competed in the final segment the last two years.

"I think that's a good thing having all the cars in the final segment," Jarrett said. "I think it's fair that everybody is around for the whole thing. Seldom do you know exactly what's going to happen in that race, but I'm sure the crashes we've had the last couple of years have helped decide that issue - that we needed to make sure we had enough cars running at the end. It's always a great race and it's a race for winners. You can't get a more competitive race than that."

Dale Jarrett Discusses the All-Star Race

How exciting is this particular event?

"It's hard to put into words how exciting that particular race is. I get excited just thinking about it. It is a race made up of winners and it's just fun. There's nothing involved except trying to win, the prestige of winning and the trophy. Obviously it pays a lot of money -- but that's the least of our concerns. The biggest thing is trying to get the respect and the acknowledgment of winning this event because to do that you have to beat the best. I've been fortunate enough to finish this event second twice but nobody remembers who finishes second so that is one stat I would love to change for me and for the #88 UPS Team."

What is the appeal of the All-Star race to a driver?

"It's a Saturday night shootout. It's where we all came from. It takes us back to our beginnings -- our roots in the sport because many of us started racing on a Friday or Saturday night. This is a wild and the wildest of Saturday nights anywhere. The fans have been there all weekend and getting prepared. The race doesn't start until 9 o'clock so by the time the race starts everybody is just keyed up. We're racing under the lights and even though it is nighttime the lights just seem to make everything on the track more visible. And I think the fact that it is a night race just adds to the intensity of this type of race."

Do you like the change in format in which drivers will not be eliminated from the first and second segments for this year's event?

"I think that's a good thing, and I think it's fair that everybody is around for the whole race because that makes it better for the fans as well. When you put up a million dollars a lot of things can happen and as we saw last year just about anything did happen. It's very competitive and it's one we look forward to being able to participate in and being able to put on a good show for the fans."

Notes of Interest

* Jarrett has twice been the bridesmaid in the All-Star event, finishing second to then rookie driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in 2000 and then second to Jeff Gordon one year later.

* The UPS Team was one of several teams that participated in a two-day test at Lowe's Motor Speedway two weeks ago. The team used the test to prepare for this weekend's All-Star race as well as the Coca-Cola 600 in two weeks.

* This weekend's All-Star race marks the 13th consecutive year Jarrett has appeared in the race of winners.

Chassis 24

The UPS Team will be racing Chassis 24 for this weekend's event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Chassis 24 is the same car Jarrett raced at Texas Motor Speedway in April when he started 11th and eventually finished the event in 18th. Chassis 24 was most recently raced at California Speedway where the UPS Team finished the 500-mile event in 24th place.

-ryr-/ups-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett