UPS Team Looking for 600 Win CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 24, 2005) ----- This weekend's Coca-Cola 600 represents the longest event of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. After last weekend's All-Star Challenge a non-point paying event, it...
UPS Team Looking for 600 Win
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 24, 2005) ----- This weekend's Coca-Cola 600 represents the longest event of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. After last weekend's All-Star Challenge a non-point paying event, it is also represents a return to points racing and a step closer to the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team worked under the guidance of interim crew chief Bill Wilburn last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Wilburn will lead the team during this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Wilburn explains that his goal is to work closely with the #38 M&M'S Team and crew chief Todd Parrott.
"I think the biggest thing that Robert Yates Racing wants to do is pull this team together and get in line with what the #38 team is doing so that we can compare apples to apples, and work together as a team," Wilburn said. "This is a big opportunity for me, personally, and a chance to do some things that I hope will be good in this sport as far as the team goes. This is a great organization, Robert Yates Racing, and Robert, Eddie [D'Hondt, team general manager] and all the people involved there have given me an opportunity to come here and have a chance to be a crew chief again."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway
Is the Coca-Cola 600 an endurance race?
"This is definitely an endurance race. It is our longest race of the year and if you're not physically prepared then it is absolutely tough on you. These days you have to be in some kind of physical shape in any race you run, but at Charlotte it's even more important. After you run lap 330, or whatever lap is the 500-mile mark and you still have another 100 miles to go you certainly feel it, especially the last 50 laps can be tough."
What are your thoughts on the new surface after racing for 90 laps on Saturday?
"It definitely is different. I think this is a situation though like any other track that resurfaces their facility. It just takes time. I know we didn't see a lot of side-by-side racing on Saturday night, but there weren't a lot of cars left undamaged during the final two segments either. I think this week with the Busch cars being there practicing and qualifying and all the practices the Cup cars have, we'll start to see the development of more racing grooves that will give us back that side-by-side racing that Charlotte's always been pretty good at having."
Were you pleased with how Saturday night's race went for the #88 UPS Team?
"I think we definitely learned some things Saturday. I think the biggest thing we accomplished is that we made the car better throughout the race with our adjustments. I was pretty tight during a good bit of the race, and it took us a couple stops but we definitely improved the car and the way it handled which is a step in the right direction. We're bringing that same car back this weekend and I'm hoping that we can learn even more and make this car better so that we can get a good finish this week and gather as many points as possible. We're in the process of changing our cars and it will probably take a few weeks until we get our chassis changed over. We plan to race this car, provided that nothing happens to it, the next couple weeks and then hopefully when we get to Pocono we'll have a few more cars that we can work with and be competitive with coming into the summer stretch of races where this team has traditionally performed well."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has a total of three wins at the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, including one win in the Coca-Cola 600. Jarrett won the Coca-Cola 600 in 1996.
* In his last nine races in the Coca-Cola 600, Jarrett only has three finishes outside the top 10.
* Jarrett will be making a few appearances in and around the Charlotte area this week in conjunction with the Coca-Cola 600. He will be at the Coke Stage at Speed Street Saturday night at 7 p.m., answering questions for fans in attendance.
Chassis 38 is the car Jarrett will race this weekend at Charlotte. It is the same car Jarrett raced on Saturday in the All-Star Challenge. He finished the night in sixth place after avoiding the two biggest incidents of the night. The team raced this same car at Darlington during Mother's Day weekend.