CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 24, 2004) ---- It may not be the grandest of them all but it is certainly the longest. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams prepare to tackle one of the greatest challenges of the season with the running of this weekend's Coca-Cola...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 24, 2004) ---- It may not be the grandest of them all but it is certainly the longest. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams prepare to tackle one of the greatest challenges of the season with the running of this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. Dale Jarrett and the UPS Racing Team tested at Lowe's Motor Speedway a few weeks ago in preparation for the activities at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"We worked on things that you don't have time during a race weekend to try," Jarrett said of the team's two-day test. "You might do things that you think are outrageous to see what they do and how they affect the car. We used all kinds of computer equipment on the car and saw from that how it really changes really affect the car, instead of me trying to tell them what I think is happening. The speeds have gotten so fast now that it's almost hard for a driver to tell exactly what the car is doing and where you need help. With all the stuff we have equipped on this car, it can tell us a lot more than what I can."
Jarrett Discusses Racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway
This is the longest race of the year. How demanding is that on a driver?
"I think, by far, it's probably the most demanding physically on a driver. Even though we're going to start at 5:30 in the afternoon, temperatures at that time are probably going to be in the eighties and by the time you run for four-and-a-half hours, it's going to cool off a little bit but you have to work so hard here. You're running so fast through the corners that you don't get any time to relax at all and the competition is so close. So I think definitely it's the most physically demanding race that we have."
What is the biggest thing when it comes to qualifying at Lowe's Motor Speedway?
"I think the later you get to go out in qualifying the better you are. Anytime you can get a cooler race track to run on there's going to be a little more grip there. It's not necessarily the fairest thing, but hopefully over the years, if you're here long enough, it will work to your advantage sometimes and you'll get that late draw."
This race starts in the late afternoon and goes into the night. How tough is it to prepare a good handling racecar?
"The track here is just so sensitive to so many different things. This race starts at 5:30 p.m., so we'll have to deal with the way the track changes from daylight to night. That means that the cars are actually going to get faster the longer the race goes on so you have to be able to adapt to that and make your car work. But that's the challenge of the 600 and that's what we look forward to as racers."
You are from nearby Hickory, N.C., so how special is it to be able to race at a track that is so close to your hometown?
"It's nice. It's an excellent race track. The people here are great and they do a tremendous job of drawing the crowds here. It would be hard for us to find a two-week stint anywhere that is more successful than this. The guys get to stay at home most of the time and get to sleep in their own bed and that's worth a whole lot considering they're on the road for another 34 weekends a year."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett is one of nine active NEXTEL Cup drivers to have won the Coca-Cola 600. Jarrett accomplished that feat in 1996.
* Jarrett has a total of three wins at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In addition to his 1996 win in the Coke 600, Jarrett has two wins during the track's fall event. Jarrett won the 1997 fall race as well as the 1994 fall event when he was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
* Jarrett's keeping a busy schedule with a number of activities taking place in conjunction with this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. In addition to track activities, Jarrett will be making a number of appearances this week. He is one of several drivers participating in Elliott Sadler's Race for Hope on Tuesday, May 25th at the NASCAR Speed Park located at the Concord Mills Mall in Concord, N.C. Jarrett's appearance at the event is 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Additionally, Jarrett is slated to sign autographs at the Dale Jarrett, Inc., headquarters in Hickory, N.C., at 5 p.m., on May 26th. He will sign autographs again on Friday, May 28th at Dale Jarrett Ford in Indian Hills, N.C., beginning at 5 p.m.
The UPS Racing Team will be racing Chassis 24 in this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. This is the same car Jarrett raced in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star event Saturday night. Jarrett finished 11th in that event.