Bristol: Dale Jarrett preview

Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus CHARLOTTE (March 22, 2004) --- Bristol Motor Speedway is considered by many fans across the United States to be the best track visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. With 36 degrees of banking and at ...

Dale Jarrett
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus

CHARLOTTE (March 22, 2004) --- Bristol Motor Speedway is considered by many fans across the United States to be the best track visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. With 36 degrees of banking and at just half-mile in length, Bristol features some of the fastest "bang 'em up" racing in the country. The last couple years have featured tough trips to the high banks of Bristol for Dale Jarrett and the UPS Team, but in the most recent outing Jarrett left the half-mile track with a solid top-10 finish.

"We finished seventh at Bristol last August and that was the best we had run there in a long time," Jarrett said. "It was a situation where our car ran good all night and we were able to stay out of the trouble that inevitably surfaces at Bristol. That's half the battle when you race at Bristol -- keeping the car all in one piece and having one that handles well."

The softer Good Year tire will make the first of two trips to Bristol in 2004 an even more interesting event, and one in which the UPS Team looks forward to competing.

Dale Jarrett Discusses Bristol Motor Speedway

What makes Bristol so tough?

"The thing that makes Bristol so tough is that there is usually a preferred line at Bristol and you have 43 guys trying to get in the same line. Everyone is going for the same line. A lot of times there are guys who are quite a bit slower than you that get in that line and there's nothing you can do, other than just being patient and choosing the right time to make your move. It really is one of the more difficult places that we race. It's hard on the drivers both mentally and physically so when you leave there with a win or top-five finish you know that you've really accomplished something."

Even though Bristol is one of only a couple tracks that feature a concrete surface, does it have tendencies to change much especially during the spring race that happens in the middle of the day?

"It probably doesn't change quite as much as other places we race at, but it the weather and conditions do have an effect. With the sun is out it is certainly a slicker surface to race and qualify on and then when the weather cools off you are able to get more grip. So, in conditions like that there is a little bit more of an advantage like that."

With such tight racing quarters and the cars being so equal how does that affect the approach you take to a short-track race track like Bristol?

"You know that you really can't give up anything because track position is so important. Bristol is a tight track with basically only one groove for racing which gets tricky when you have 43 cars starting the race. People are going to get impatient especially at Bristol because you can get lapped pretty quickly. I think the last time we raced here there were something like 20 cautions which is just ridiculous, but it's tough. If you try to give a guy a break and work with them on the track, then you get hit from behind. It's just tough racing."

Notes of Interest

* Jarrett broke a string of finishes outside the top 25 during his last visit to the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway by posting a seventh-place finish in the Sharpie 500 in August 2003.

* Jarrett has one win at Bristol, the track's fall night race in 1997. Jarrett started third in that event and led 210 of the 500 laps in route to the win.

* UPS Local Delivery --- The UPS Racing Team features two team members that are "locals" in the Bristol, Tennessee area. Crew Chief Mike Ford is from nearby Morristown, Tenn., while spotter Bob Jeffrey is a native of Bristol, Tenn.

Chassis 16

Chassis No. 16 is the car the UPS Racing Team is fielding during this weekend's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The chassis is new for 2004. The team tested the new piece of equipment during its two-day test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in January.

-ryr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett