CHARLOTTE (March 8, 2004) --- Darlington Raceway is the oldest track visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. It is a track where Dale Jarrett grew up around and enjoys racing today. Coming off his best finish of the 2004 season with the UPS...
CHARLOTTE (March 8, 2004) --- Darlington Raceway is the oldest track visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. It is a track where Dale Jarrett grew up around and enjoys racing today. Coming off his best finish of the 2004 season with the UPS Team's ninth-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jarrett is looking forward to Darlington -- a track where he has enjoyed moderate success including three NASCAR Cup wins.
One topic that is guaranteed to be front of mind is the addition of SAFER barriers along Darlington's outside retaining walls. The soft walls extend approximately 30 inches from the outside retaining wall -- well into the track's notorious racing groove. Many teams will anxiously travel to Darlington this weekend in anticipation of what awaits at the track that is "too tough to tame."
Dale Jarrett discusses Darlington Raceway
This is the first race at Darlington since the implementation of soft walls. Does that change the way you will race the track?
"It's going to be interesting when we get there and see. Obviously, we run right against the wall at both ends and it seems like the track wasn't wide enough before. We will have to do some adjusting depending on how far around they carried the soft wall off of turn two. You really need all of the race track there. It will just be an adjustment that you will have to make. You will have to know they have taken away that width that was there. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's just going to require some adjustment on the drivers' part to know that you don't have quite as much room. It's hard to imagine that the 24 or 30 inches make that much difference but at a place where you run right against the wall it will probably take some adjusting as we go along."
It is a situation though where that is going to be the same for every driver and that it will be the first time 43 cars have been on the track together since the addition of the safer barriers?
"Right. It is the same for everybody. Again, it's not a bad thing. It's just where you used to be able to make that judgment about the wall you will still have that. You are going to know the wall is right there and you adjust to that."
You have enjoyed some pretty good races at Darlington especially in the spring. What is it about this place that you think makes you have an advantage?
"Darlington is a track that I would say is a lot like Rockingham in that doing well there requires a lot of skill on the part of the driver. Now, you have to have a good race car too but you also have to be able to know when to hold back and when to press hard. It's a track where this team has performed well in the past and one in which I always look forward to racing."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has three wins at Darlington Raceway -- all during the month of March. * Jarrett has led laps in six Dodge Dealer 400 events at Darlington for a total of 280 laps.
* With three wins, 11 top fives and 13 top 10s at Darlington, Jarrett is second on the all-time top money winners at the track that is "too tough to tame." Jarrett's earnings at Darlington total $1,698,902.