After a disappointing season worst 38th-place finish in last weekend's Goody's 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Jarrett continues to lead the point standings by 213 points over second place Mark Martin. Going into this weekend's Southern...
After a disappointing season worst 38th-place finish in last weekend's Goody's 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Jarrett continues to lead the point standings by 213 points over second place Mark Martin. Going into this weekend's Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway, Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, has a million reasons for a win. He is one of five drivers contending for the No Bull Five million-dollar bonus. Jarrett has had his share of success at Darlington - he has collected six top-five finishes, including two wins ('97 & '98, TranSouth 400). He has also started from the No. 1 position three times - twice in the Southern 500. He won the '97 TranSouth 400 from the pole position. His best finish in the Southern 500 has been third (twice). Jarrett's father, Ned, clinched his 1965 Winston Cup championship with his win in the Southern 500.
In 1999, Jarrett has collected four wins (Richmond, Michigan-June, Daytona-July and Indianapolis-Brickyard 400), 18 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s. He has led 592 laps. The following are his thoughts and comments on this weekend's race at Darlington:
"There are two guys that run as well as we do at Darlington and that's Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton. We've been pretty fortunate to run well at Darlington most of the time. As always, it's a tough track. With each race, it just becomes a little more difficult as the pavement wears out. "The biggest challenge there is not to hit the wall. To run hard and keep your car out of the wall is difficult. There's a very fine line now because not only in turns one and two are you right against the wall, but to run fast around there you've got to let the car slide right to the wall in three and four. Just a little bit of a slip and you can take what could be a pretty good day and turn it into not so good. "It's pretty amazing to look back at some of the old films and see some of the races and what all took place there. It's also amazing to look back and see how little it has changed, like the racing surface. You still have to run right against the wall, even more so now. "We've never won the Southern 500, but we've been there and have had chances to win it. When (Jeff) Burton and (Jeff) Gordon were battling it out at the end a couple of years ago, we were right there. The two races are different, this one is 500 miles vs. 400, so we just need to work on the last 100 miles. "It's amazing that Jeff (Gordon) has won four of those races in a row. They always run well there. To think you can get around that place for 2000 miles in a row and something not happen, is quite a feat. "I still remember when my dad won the race ('65) and clinched the championship at the same time. I didn't realize until we got back home in Camden (S.C.) the magnitude of what had just taken place. The whole town was in our front yard wanting to celebrate. It was great."