DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus WHAT ABOUT THE SPIN AT THE START? "We certainly didn't start out like we were gonna be sitting here talking about a victory. I had an idea with some changes that we had made yesterday afternoon and this morning...
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus
WHAT ABOUT THE SPIN AT THE START?
"We certainly didn't start out like we were gonna be sitting here talking about a victory. I had an idea with some changes that we had made yesterday afternoon and this morning on the car, that my car might be a little bit on the loose side, but I thought if I could get through 10-12-15 laps that the car would start coming around. Unfortunately, it came around before we got to that point. When I first looked and knew it was out of control, I was headed for the pit wall on the inside and something steered it away from there, thank goodness. I knew we didn't have a lot of damage, but Todd said we had some damage on the left-front. We were just so loose. I couldn't get in the corner. I needed the whole race track to try to run. I had gotten on the inside of the 19 and he was actually letting me go. I tried to drive straight up to the wall, but I had to turn to keep from hitting the wall and when I did it spun. That gave us a chance to adjust on the car. We made a slight adjustment then. We ran the next short segment and the car was still too loose for me to try to go fast. We had another caution and came in and took a spring rubber out of the right rear and that really set the car to going. That's when we went from 36th and drove to the top five before we pitted for fuel. I was just hoping I could find myself maybe in the top 15 by halfway and then work my way from there to try to give us a chance, if we got cautions late. But the car was so incredibly good there. I know at that point in time some guys were getting track position. Even the front runners took just gas or some just got two tires, so they gave us an advantage by having four tires, and then we got our car really, really fast. It was on from there. Actually, this track's tendency is for it to tighten up later and we got a little bit tight in the center of the corner at one time. We had to adjust back from that and then Todd saved me a set of tires for the end that he felt was pretty good and they were."
TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief --88-- UPS Taurus
DO YOU HAVE TOP PICK THE CREW UP AFTER A START LIKE THAT?
"No, we've got a great race team with a lot of experience and they know week in and week out that we come here to win races and we're gonna do whatever it takes. They don't get down. They don't get down on me. I don't get down on them when they have a bad pit stop. If something goes wrong, Dale will tell you that he doesn't get down on them. You just try to keep everybody's spirits lifted up. When I saw him spin, I said, 'Oh no, this is gonna be a long day,' but we knew we had a great race car and a great race team. Our guys did a great job getting the left-front fender beat back out into some sort of shape. I sent the fabricator, Kevin Stimberis, the guy who builds all the front fenders and puts noses on the car, I sent him over the wall to re-shape it because if anybody knew what it was supposed to look like, he did. He did a great job and Dale did an awesome job driving through traffic. He drove a smart race. He had a fast race car, so I'm sure it was a lot of fun for him."
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WITH 10 TO GO WITH THE POSITION YOU WERE IN?
"When we had the restart with 10 or 11 to go, I was really just trying to keep myself calmed down. I knew I should be able to get by the three guys that were in front of me. My concern was the 8, the 20 and myself racing each other and the 99 jumping out there and he did jump out there. I think I got by the 20 and then he got back by me. Anyway, I spent a little more time there than what I really wanted to, but I think I got by those guys and then had seven or eight laps to go -- whenever I had Burton in my sights. I didn't know if it was water or some kind of smoke coming out of his car. I didn't know if he'd been doing that all day or if that was something that just started happening. I'm sure it affected him, but I don't think it changed the outcome. My car was too good through the corners and I was chasing him down at a pretty rapid rate through the center of the corners anyway. Whenever I got to him, I could tell that he wasn't gonna be a factor. I really wasn't that concerned. I just wanted to keep myself calm and not overdrive the car and really get myself in a position with the 8 and the 20. I knew those were the two guys that I had to somehow get by and those are obviously two very tough customers to try to be passing at the end of the race, but I wanted to get myself at least in a position to get to the 99 and make a pass on him." HAVE THE SO-CALLED "YOUNG GUNS" SLOWED DOWN? "No, they're still doing a great job. A number of them had good cars today, but I think experience comes into play. I think you have to say that some of the older guys might have changed some things in their ways -- along with their crew chiefs -- in looking at the way we used to do things. That doesn't work anymore. We can talk about a race we dominated here in 1999 and our car is so far from that chassis-wise that it's even scary to think about, but I quit thinking about what these springs look like if I put it down on paper. That doesn't make you think, 'My gosh, you're gonna do exactly what I did and that's spin out,' but I know that's the type of setup that we have to run. I think in Bill Elliott's case they changed from what they had and realized they had to be a lot more aggressive with their setups and Todd and I have done the same thing. A lot of credit goes to Todd and the crew. We changed our bodies on these cars. We've changed our setups and we haven't just stuck with one thing. We've done what the car is asking for and what it takes to win."
YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING ABOUT A FAMILY MEMBER AFTER THE RACE?
"It's been a tough couple of weeks. Anytime I win I get emotional. That's just the type of person I am. It's hard. To be honest, the schedule that we keep and the time that we're away from our families is tough. Anytime you win, you think about family and that's all I had on my mind."
IS IT MORE FUN TO WIN A RACE LIKE THIS OR LIKE IN '99 WHEN YOU DOMINATED?
"No, I'd much rather be out and not be able to see them in my mirror, but a day like today is fun. When you have a car like that and you make passes and you set people up for passes and things like that. I noticed it wasn't quite as hard to go from 30-whatever to 15th, but once you got to 15th and started trying to make passes on those guys, those obviously were the better cars and things became a little more difficult. I couldn't just drive down into the bottom and make a pass on them and slide up in front. You had to really work those guys, so that's fun. You want that. That's what you're out here for -- that competitive spirit and that competitive edge and to know that you've got a car capable of doing those things. It's fun to try to make it do those things, so this turned out to be a fun day. On lap 11 when I spun out, I wasn't sure I had enough talent to finish this day, but with the adjustments that we were able to make, it did make it a fun day."
WOULD YOU HAVE TAKEN FOUR TIRES LATE IF YOU HADN'T SPUN? WOULD YOUR STRATEGY BEEN DIFFERENT?
"I don't know that we're always going to, but you can bet that more times than not we're gonna get four tires. That's just kind of our mentality. I think June taught us a lot with those guys staying out and even those guys that we raced and passed there in just three laps -- that got two tires -- that taught us a lot. I know Michael Waltrip, I sat and watched him yesterday win the Busch race with two tires, but I still felt that four tires was right. When Todd said four, I never questioned it because that's what I had on my mind. We've been criticized a number of times for getting four tires and we've probably both gotten criticized at home for doing it. You start thinking about it, but I think it's probably won us more races than what it's cost us. This race track this time, for some reason, didn't have any grip. It was so hard to get grip anywhere and I knew down on the bottom was the place that had the most grip, but I needed four tires to be able to get down there and keep my car down there, so that's why we never questioned it at that time." WHAT IS IT ABOUT AUGUST 18? "I don't know. I was gonna talk to Brett (Shelton) and see if we could just have this race on August 18th every year, whatever day that might fall on. I don't know. I'm not sure it's the 18th as much as it was 11 years ago to this day that I won my first race here. That number 11 comes up a lot for some reason. Obviously, it was very good to my dad. I mentioned at Indy in winning the IROC race driving a blue car with number 11 on it was pretty cool. That's the first time I ever had the chance to do that and it worked well for me there. I don't know, we either need to race on the 11th or something all the time. This is a special place anyway. I truly love to come here. It's a great facility with wonderful people and it's just a fun place to race. Even if you don't win the race, you get out thinking that was a pretty fun day because you can race on it. Man, I don't know how many different tracks we race at -- 20-some I guess -- but if we had every one of them like this -- you saw the stands. They were standing everywhere in the infield and everywhere and that's what they'd see all the time. We need more like it." HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY TO YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP WITH? "I've said this for a long time that whatever you're gonna be successful at, it's about surrounding yourself with good people. I have to do that and I depend on Todd to make that happen for us and to surround us with good people because we can't do it ourselves. I can't keep up with that. These guys are way smarter than I'll ever be or have ever been because things have changed so much, so I'll turn it to Todd because he's the one that has to hire the people that he has confidence in and work with those people."
"The technology with everything the cars, the engines, the tires -- -- everything has gone to another level. We've got a great engineering staff at Robert Yates Racing, not only with the 88 team but with the 28 team. We work really close together and just do all sorts of things. They had a good test this past week at Kentucky and did some things that I think we used a little bit of here today. The technology and where it's going, like Dale said, you've got to surround yourself with good people. Robert Yates has given us a race team that he has total trust in what we do. Doug Yates and the guys in the engine room have an incredible staff of people -- engineers and things going on. I don't know if they chassis dyno-ed our car or not, but not only did we win the race today, but we probably won the chassis dyno race too because those guys work hard and they work smart."
WHAT ABOUT GOING TO BRISTOL?
"You need patience and luck, a good car. Gosh, I don't know what all you need at Bristol to win but we've done that before and you need all of those things to happen. It's just an incredible place. In talking about how great this place is, you do the same thing in talking about Bristol. 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 gonna 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."
WERE THE KICKOUTS ON THE GM CARS A FACTOR TODAY?
"I don't know. I think the track cooled off a little bit and helped our situation to give our car more grip toward the end of the race. Maybe the track got more grip and the Chevrolets with all that kickout, maybe their race cars got a little bit loose? I don't know."
ON THE KICKOUT.
"It's all about balance. I'm sure they're appreciative of what they were given and I'm sure that it helped some of them to be more competitive than they were here the first time, but it's still about balance. With just a short period of time, I'm sure it was hard for them to know exactly what it was gonna do and how it was gonna affect their cars. This was supposed to be a one-race deal, I can't imagine it's gonna be taken away because they didn't go win or anything, so I'm sure it will stay the same. If it does, then each week they'll just become more and more familiar with how it affects their race car and that will make them hard to beat."
HOW HARD IS IT TO WALK AWAY FROM WHAT WORKS?
"I used to carry a file cabinet on the truck. When I'd leave the shop on Thursday, it would take me two trips to my office to take all the notes and stuff to the truck. Now I can get on the airplane with one bag and I've got enough notes to get me through the weekend because I don't bring them. Things have changed so much. The only notes I brought with me this weekend to look at this race were the notes from June. That was it. The two races last year, they were in the truck but I never even opened them up and looked at them because it's so irrelevant now. You have to get aggressively smart. You have to really understand your chassis, your aero balance, the tires and know all aspects of everything that's going on and just use it to your utmost advantage. We've been very fortunate since Pocono. We've learned some things and we built some new chassis and our guys in the chassis shop have done a great job. We kind of got off-base a little bit and tried some things and it didn't work, but we've really worked hard. The guys in the chassis shop are building some great cars and the guys in the fab shop are doing a fantastic job. The guys in the engine shop, the engines speak for themselves. Dale has done a fantastic job of adapting to all these young guns. He's no spring chicken, but he's got a whole lot of experience and I'd rather have that guy with a whole lot of experience nine times out of 10 than the guy that's real aggressive."
HOW DO YOU HANDICAP THE REST OF THE SEASON?
"As far as what I look at from us, I hope that we can continue the pace that we're on. We've got some new cars coming here. Obviously, we have a nice little fleet of cars that we've been running recently, that I like, and so, hopefully, we can be competitive and give ourselves a chance to win a couple more races and take advantage of that. As far as the points deal, I don't know. It's gonna be a wild race to the end. I think it's highly possible for Jeff Gordon to still win the championship and not win a race this year. I can't imagine that he's not gonna win at some point in time, but he could do that. They're that type of time. I think it's up for grabs for any of those guys that are in the top seven or eight. I'm not counting us out by any means. Last week, that hurt us quite a bit when we had the transmission problem, but I don't even know how many races we have left. We're just gonna do our job and if we can do that, maybe we'll end up in this battle if they have a few more problems. I think it's wide open and it's gonna be interesting to watch and see how they handle it because I think it's probably gonna give others a chance, including us, to go and be aggressive and win some races because these guys are gonna start looking at those points. You're gonna start getting down to that point that they're all gonna start saying, 'Hey, I've just got to finish in front of him or I've got to beat him today.' That will be a chance for us and others to go win."