Since driver Jason Jarrett had never driven a lap at the Phoenix International Raceway, the Jarrett / Favre team called on veteran wheelman Hut Stricklin for a little help at last weekend's Outback Steakhouse 200. The plan called for Stricklin, who gave the team a boost in relief of Jarrett in Pike's Peak and by running a second Jarrett / Favre entry in Michigan, to pilot the No. 11 entry in practice and during qualifying, then give way to Jarrett for Happy Hour and the drop of the green flag. Unfortunately, that plan went a bit awry when Stricklin failed to qualify for the Phoenix event.
Stricklin has chosen to focus his efforts on his Winston Cup effort during the Homestead-Miami race weekend, meaning that Jarrett will find himself back behind the wheel of the No. 11 during practice and qualifying for this weekend's HotWheels.com 300.
Jarrett says the change of plans suits him just fine. "I was feeling a little guilty about letting Hut (Stricklin) do all the work of getting the car set-up and qualified, and then me stepping in to have the fun of driving the car in the race," said Jarrett. "I'd rather do the hard part myself and earn my own place in the race. I have the confidence that I can get us in the show, I just need to prove it to everyone else."
Jason Jarrett continues to do weekly radio promotions with stations in the race markets to promote the new Codemasters' racing game for the Sony Playstation, "Jarrett and Labonte Stock Car Racing". The game, which was released in October, has received rave reviews for its realism and the variety of cars and tracks from around the world that players may choose to compete on.
Jason Jarrett on Homestead-Miami Speedway- "I talked with Hut (Stricklin) a lot about Homestead when we came down here to test a few weeks ago. Hut sat on the pole here last year, so we started the test session with the same basic set-up he had under the car he won the pole with, and then we just kept tweaking the set-up.
"The turns here at Homestead are so long that it's really hard to get the car to turn all the way through. Coming off the corners, Hut says the car is really tight, but if you get the car to where it turns coming off the corners, then it's usually loose in the center of the turn. When we tested here, we spent a whole day just trying to get the car to feel right in the center and coming off the corners."
"Another thing about Homestead that's going to be hard to get used to is the fact that you get back on the gas before you can even see the end of the turn. At most other tracks, you can see the exit of the turn about the time you get back in the throttle, but not here. I'm sure that will be something that will have me holding my breath the first few times I make a lap, but it's like any other new track you go to, you get used to it fairly quickly."