UPS Team Looks to Get on Track at BMS MOORESVILLE, N.C., (August 23, 2005) ----- The half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway is the site of the 24th race of the season for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams. It is also the one of the final...
UPS Team Looks to Get on Track at BMS
MOORESVILLE, N.C., (August 23, 2005) ----- The half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway is the site of the 24th race of the season for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams. It is also the one of the final all-important races before the Chase for the Championship begins. Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team hope to improve on their fifth-place finish at Bristol from the spring to catapult them into the top 10 of the point standings, and to keep their hopes of making the Chase alive. Jarrett is a one-time Bristol winner, doing so during the track's night race in 1997.
Jarrett finished 10th in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol one year ago, after running in the top five and getting spun out in the late stages of the 500-lap event. While Bristol is one of the most physically challenging races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule, Jarrett said it is also can be one of the most enjoyable.
"The night race at Bristol is probably the most exciting race of the year," Jarrett said. "When everyone asks me what the one race they should try to see in person is, I always tell them the night race at Bristol. For whatever reason, it is the one race where you can just get a jolt from all the excitement from the fans that are there and the tension of getting ready to race on a half-mile track under the lights. There's just nothing quite like racing at Bristol at night."
Jarrett Discusses Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway
How much do you need a good finish at Bristol?
"I think it is important for many reasons and those reasons go beyond just trying to make the Chase for the Championship. I've said all year long, that we really aren't a top-10 team and that our position in the point standings is a little deceptive. I think right now we need to try to build a little momentum for this race team. We're coming off a terrible race at a track (Michigan) where we have always been able to run well. So, more than anything we need a good finish to get this team's confidence back."
Do you think there may be some paybacks this weekend at Bristol with the Chase looming?
"I just don't see guys taking each other out so they can make it into the Chase. Do I think that accidents could happen and someone that is in contention to make the Chase could leave Bristol with a bad finish or even a DNF? Yes, that could happen, but it's something that could happen regardless of the Chase cutoff date. Bristol is Bristol. It's a crap shoot. If you have a good race car, 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.
Given your position of trying to make the Chase, do you approach this weekend any differently?
"No. You can't over-analyze the next three races and go in thinking that we have to avoid a DNF or getting wrecked. We go to try and win or to get the best finish possible if we aren't in contention to win. You just can't go to Bristol and plan to tip-toe around that track because there are just too many unknowns. If you want to tip-toe, you're going to find yourself getting lapped before long because the leaders can come in such a hurry. There are certain situations that you may find yourself able to be a little bit more cautious, but, for the most part, it's going hard every single lap."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett is coming off a pair of top-10 finishes at Bristol in his last two starts at the half-mile track. He finished 10th at Bristol one year ago, and most recently finished fifth at the track in March of this season.
* With his fifth-place finish at Bristol in March, Jarrett's career top-10 finishes at the half-mile track improved to 19. With 38 starts at Bristol, Jarrett has finished in the top 10 in half of the race he has started at Bristol.
* Jarrett has made 21 starts at Bristol for Robert Yates Racing (two in the #28 Ford, 19 in the #88 Ford). Since joining RYR in 1995, Jarrett has been running at the end of all the Bristol races.
* Jarrett has completed all by 13 laps run in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season for a lap completion rate of 99.7 percent.
Chassis 40 is the car Jarrett is racing during this weekend's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The team has raced Chassis 40 only one other time and that was at Charlotte during the October race in 2004. Jarrett started that race from 39th and raced to a sixth-place finish.