Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, stopped by the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center Saturday morning and talked about racing at Bristol and his season in general. DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WITH THE NEW...
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, stopped by the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center Saturday morning and talked about racing at Bristol and his season in general.
DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT WITH THE NEW PIT ROAD RULE? I don't think any of us have any idea. It has to be better since I qualified way back, I'm glad that they changed it now. You've gotta feel like you've at least got better chance. Whether it works or not, we'll see, but at least they made an effort to do something. And the way that it is is just a gap there, it's just basically one pit road, and you just have a gap in-between. As long as they can monitor the pit-road speed there in-between turns three and four, I think everything should work out and hopefully it will equal things up quite a bit."
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT RUNNING INTO OTHER CARS. THERE ARE ONLY TWO LANES OUT THERE. IT'LL BE NARROW. "It's up to the drivers to do their job and make sure that you can do that. I don't see that being a problem. You just have to understand with the way things are, people are going to be pulling out. There's going to be guys on the backstretch, they're gonna be finished with their pit stops before these guys even get to their pit stalls over here, but you'll just have to watch and be careful, and guys pulling out are going to have to understand that there are going to be people coming and you just can't go straight out to the wall or you're going to create a bad situation."
THE PROBLEM OF BLOCKING PIT ROAD IS A PROBLEM AT MARTINSVILLE, IT COULD BE A PROBLEM HERE. "Could be, but there again, if we do our job like we're capable of doing and like we should do, knowing that pit road is really not where we need to be racing. That happens on the race track. I think NASCAR will emphasis that. This is definitely wider than what Martinsville is, so we get by there, I think we can do it here."
DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT GUYS LIKE YOURSELF AND RICKY RUDD AND RUSTY AND MARK MARTIN HAVEN'T PICKED UP THE WINS YET OR HAVEN'T AT LEAST BEEN CHALLENGING FOR WINS? "No, because the names that you mentioned there, other than Ricky a few times towards the end but not towards the very end of last year, we weren't very good then - not on a consistent basis. We put ourselves in a position to win a few times, but you can't expect over the winter that everything is going to be great unless you came out and found something, and I can't honestly say that we've found exactly what we need to do to be more consistent and challenge for wins. We have to do that before we can think about it. We've got to get ourselves into the top five before we can even think about that. And we've done that a couple of times, but we've had things happen that don't show that we were going to even get to that point."
TWO DNF'S THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON IS UNCHARACTERISTIC. HOW DO YOU COMBAT THAT? JUST TRY TO FIND A HAPPY MEDIUM BETWEEN HORSEPOWER AND RELIABILITY? "Last week had nothing to do with reliability or anything, that's just bad luck. Something comes up and chews the belt up on the oil pump, you can't call that, obviously we're out because it locked the engine up, but it wasn't anything that had to do with the rule or anything else. That was gonna happen if we'd have had a fresh engine in. It's just unfortunate. The first one, we know the problem, what happened there and we've taken the steps to remedy that. So we're not backing off on our engine stuff at all, we're just trying to ensure that nothing else does happen. We know that you're gonna have some type of problems, whether they be bad or something on the race track accident-related, you're gonna have problems. We just can't have any more within the next 31 races."
HOW DO YOU GET THAT MOMENTUM BACK. HOW DO YOU TELL YOURSELF, 'I'M A CHAMPION. I CAN GET OUT THERE AND DO THAT'? "You can talk and say and do all you want, but you gotta go out and perform, and that's the bottom line. We've got to get our program better. Ricky or myself, either one, we're not running the way we're capable of running. I can sit here and tell you my car last week, we started back, we made it better after the first pit stop and we were in the top-10 when we had problems and I feel like with one more change that I could've been very good. But, anybody could've come in here and sit and say that, so, until you go out and do it and we've gotta do that. Right now, there's something that we're missing. The thing that we've all talked about is we've gotta be careful when you get in these situations that you don't start taking a lot of chances. We don't feel like we're that far off, we just need to keep making some changes to hopefully make our race teams better to where we once again are contending. But, you gotta understand right now that things are very, very tough out here. You miss just a little bit like we did at Atlanta, ran fourth, fifth and sixth all day and we made a slight adjustment at the end and it made my car not very good and went from having a chance to finish in the top five to I couldn't even finish in the top 10. You've got to understand, it's very, very difficult. There are a lot of good race teams that are performing at a higher level now and you really have to be on your game to be up there week in and week out. Obviously, Sterling and a few others have got that figured out and they're doing that, and that's what's gonna make it difficult to beat them. But we're not going to give up. We've got a long way to go."
ON WORKING WITH NEW CREW CHIEF JIMMY ELLEDGE. "It's a work in progress. You can change titles all you want to but what has happened is, I mean there's still a lot's the same, we've moved responsibilities around a little bit. Todd's still in charge of everything. There are things that Jimmy has taken off of him that's allowing him to concentrate more on our chassis stuff and that's what Todd's the best at. We're still defining who's responsibilities are what and working through all of that, but I think in the long run and hopefully in a short period of time all of that will be worked out and it will be for the betterment of our race team."