UPS Team Prepares for Fast Atlanta CHARLOTTE, N.C., (March 15, 2005) ----- Atlanta Motor Speedway has been a fairly consistent track for the ...
UPS Team Prepares for Fast Atlanta
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (March 15, 2005) ----- Atlanta Motor Speedway has been a fairly consistent track for the #88 UPS Racing Team during the past several years. Dale Jarrett has a career total of 17 top-10 finishes at Atlanta with nine of those 17 taking place at the track since it was reconfigured in the fall of 1997. Jarrett has one win at the 1.5-mile track, but has yet to win one on the current configuration.
"I would like to win at Atlanta with the way the track is now," Jarrett said. "It is definitely much different than when we won there in 1997. It's a fast track and one that has produced a lot of close finishes. We're taking a new car there this weekend so I'm looking forward to racing there this weekend."
Jarrett Discusses Racing at Atlanta
What are your thoughts on this weekend's race at Atlanta?
"Atlanta is a very fast track. I think it's been well-documented that it is probably the fastest track we race at today. It's one of the places where you tend to catch your breath when qualifying. But the racing has been great here for the last several years. The track is plenty wide for side-by-side racing and I think we've even seen cars get three and four wide at times in just the past couple years so it is certainly fun for the fans to watch."
During the first couple races this year, the lowest you've qualified is 14th, is that something the team worked on in the off season?
"We knew from last year that qualifying wasn't our strong point. I think we've surprised even ourselves a little bit with the way we qualified in California and then in Las Vegas. Getting a good starting position is important, especially with the competition being the way it is today. We did work on our qualifying packages in the off season, but at the end of the day, the race is what matters. We usually spend very little time in qualifying trim at the track because what matters is getting our race package right because that's what pays the points."
The impound rule is in effect for this weekend's race. Do you prefer it that way?
"I like impounding the cars after we qualify. I felt like what we did before all you did basically was work on your race stuff. I feel like that idea of having that time more during race time which we get those same conditions on an afternoon than we do during the morning when we've been typically having final practice. I mean, when we practice on Saturday we're practicing in the morning and we're finished with practice before noon, so really it's not a good indication of what the track is going to be like. I'd prefer to have that afternoon practice and then let's go qualify them, sit them in the garage and get ready to race."
Obviously, racing comes first but the NCAA Basketball Tournament starts this weekend, any predictions?
"I'm not brave enough to tell you who is going to win the whole thing because that's the beauty of the tournament is that any team can win at any given time. That's what makes it so exciting. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Tar Heels so I'll definitely be pulling for them and paying attention to what goes on there. Roy Williams has done a tremendous job with the team in the short time he's been there and it goes without saying that he knows how to prepare a team for the type of play we'll see in the next few weeks so I'll probably put my money on Carolina."
Chassis 42 is the car Jarrett will race in this weekend's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta. Chassis 42 is a brand new chassis or the #88 UPS Team in 2005. This weekend's NEXTEL Cup Series event marks the first time the car will be raced.