CHARLOTTE, N.C., (August 9, 2004) ---- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series faces its second road course event of the 2004 season with this weekend's event at Watkins Glen International. Dale Jarrett and the UPS Racing Team are coming off a great weekend...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (August 9, 2004) ---- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series faces its second road course event of the 2004 season with this weekend's event at Watkins Glen International. Dale Jarrett and the UPS Racing Team are coming off a great weekend at the Brickyard where they finished second, their best finish of the 2004 NASCAR season. The UPS group head into this weekend's Sirius Satellite at the Glen in 13th place in the point standings, a mere 55 points out of 10th place.
Figuring the Glen would play a key role in determining the final field for the NASCAR Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the UPS Team spent Monday, Aug. 2nd testing at the 2.45-mile road course. Crew chief Mike Ford explained that the test should be a benefit for Jarrett and the UPS Team simply with running laps at the track -- something that is limited during race weekend.
"When you are at the track on race weekend there really isn't a lot of time for practice," Ford explained. "There is practice time but when you have guys running off the course and getting stuck it takes a while to clear those situations up and really cuts down on our practice time. So we learned a lot, ran a lot of laps and just got the driver in a road-racing frame of mind. We're also going to be using a new tire at Watkins Glen so we got to try that out and that should be a benefit as well."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Watkins Glen
It's the second and final road course of the season, what is your outlook on the Glen this weekend?
"I really enjoy racing at Watkins Glen. Of all the road courses we visit on the schedule or for testing purposes, Watkins Glen is more conducive to our type of cars. It always allowed us to race hard and pass. The road courses bring out all of a drivers' ability. I've had good days and really bad days at Watkins Glen. One thing has always been the same at the Glen though and that is if you're going to be successful, you pretty much have to drive 90 laps out of control. We know going in that qualifying is going to be important although it didn't always used to be that way. We used to be able to use different strategies, but that's not really the case anymore. You know how far you can make it on fuel and you pretty much want to get in as soon as you get in the window to where you can make it on distance. But it is important to get a good start because the competition is just so close."
How does Watkins Glen compare to Infineon Raceway?
"I don't think you can say that they are comparable. Other than being road courses I think the similarities stop there. They are two different style road courses with very different degrees of elevation. We are using our Infineon car this weekend but we made several changes to it to make it more conducive for racing at the Glen. But we'll be using different set-ups and different combinations on our gear, transmission, brakes because of the different things I feel my car needs to do to be able to run well at the Glen."
Do you have a preference for one track over the other?
"Well, because I feel like I run better at Watkins Glen I have to say that I am partial to that particular road course. I think it goes back to the fact that I have been able to go to Watkins Glen and test a couple times during my career and I have never tested at Infineon in 20 years of Cup racing. For whatever reason I have always run better at Watkins Glen than I have at Sonoma, and I have even won the Bud Pole Award there before. Maybe if I can get out to Infineon and test sometime then I would probably get better acclimated to that track and my likeness for the road courses would grow."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has four top-seven finishes in his last six starts at Watkins Glen including his seventh-place finish at the Glen last season.
* Jarrett picked up his first and only career Bud Pole Award at Watkins Glen in 2001 behind the wheel of the UPS Ford. In addition to the one start from the pole, Jarrett has started from the outside of the front row on three occasions picking up the outside pole position in 2000, 1997 and 1996.
* Jarrett's career record at Watkins Glen includes three top-five and five top-10 finishes.
The UPS Team will compete with Chassis 30 this weekend at Watkins Glen. Chassis 30 is the same car Jarrett raced at Infineon in June where he started 23rd and finished 18th. This weekend marks only the second time Jarrett has raced Chassis 30.