UPS Team Hopes to Carry Momentum to Bristol Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus CHARLOTTE, N.C., (August 24, 2004) ---- Coming off a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway, Dale Jarrett and the ...
UPS Team Hopes to Carry Momentum to Bristol
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (August 24, 2004) ---- Coming off a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway, Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing team hope to use that momentum to their advantage during this weekend's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol is hosting the last of three events that will determine the teams that make it into the "Chase for the Championship" that begins in three weeks at New Hampshire. Considered by many to be a real "wild card" race, Jarrett and company are well aware of the dangers and thrills that await them at the half-mile bull-ring this weekend.
"I'm not sure that the format is going to make Bristol anymore wild than it has been in years past," Jarrett said. "I think it's the competition that's going to do that. There are 43 cars at Bristol and you've got at least 30 cars that are very competitive. When you have a situation like that you're going to have a wild night and it usually is. Obviously, what we are thinking about trying to do is just run as hard as we can and be lucky. I think that's the best thing you can hope for is to be lucky there. We've run well there in the past and we're having a good run there in the spring until we were taken out by someone else late in the race. But again, I don't think the points deal is going to have any effect. I think it's just going to be a wild night anyway."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol is being touted as a race that can really shake up the point standings, do you change your approach to how you handle this weekend's race?
"I can honestly say I am approaching this weekend's race at Bristol like I always approach it. You know going in that anything can happen. It's Bristol. It's the same as when we were here in March. It's a crapshoot because you go there and try to stay out of trouble and run as well as you possibly can. Every race has those hidden unknowns. If you ever get involved in a championship, you realize just what could happen at each and every race track and they're all kind of the same. Now certainly Bristol does bring a little more pressure because somebody else's mistake can catch you and make for a long day or night, but you can also say that about any track. Obviously the best-case scenario for going into Bristol is having a good race car that allows you to run up front. Then usually you can have a pretty good weekend because you don't have to drive every single lap crazy back in the middle of the pack. Regardless it's always an entertaining race and if nothing else, this race to get into the championship chase will probably make it even more so for the fans."
Can you tip-toe through the race at Bristol at all?
"That's totally impossible for a few reasons. If you want to tip-toe, you are going to find yourself getting lapped before long because the leaders can come in such a hurry when it takes 16, 17 seconds to run a lap there. Then like I said earlier, it's too easy to get caught up in someone else's mistake because there is such tight racing at Bristol. Now, on the other side of that, there are certain situations that may allow you the opportunity to be a little more cautious, but, for the most part it's a race where you are going hard every single lap."
What do you need to be successful at Bristol?
"Three obvious things you need are patience, luck and a good race car. Beyond that, I don't know what else you could add to it to win at Bristol. Obviously, we have been able to do that before and you need all of those things to happen. It's just an incredible place. Bristol is just a great place for racing. You're talking about a half-mile race track where we turn laps in just over 15 seconds. Things happen in a hurry and you're just beating and banging on a Saturday night. The fans are just so pumped up, it's incredible. It's back to where we all started -- Saturday night short track racing and, hopefully, we'll have a lot of good things happen. It's a nice place to go with momentum. We'll go there this weekend feeling like the things we've learned that have made us competitive are going to make us competitive there. But you've got to put it all there and have a lot of good fortune to end up in victory lane
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett and the #88 UPS Team finished seventh at Bristol last fall to pick up his ninth top-10 finish during the night race at Bristol.
* Jarrett's picked up his lone win at Bristol in 1997 Goody's 500 during the prime-time hour.
* Jarrett and the UPS Team have posted four top-five finishes in the last nine NEXTEL Cup events and four finishes of ninth or better in just the last six races. That has placed Jarrett 14th in the point standings, 58 points out of 10th place.