Darlington: Dale Jarrett preview

DJ Looks for 500-Mile Darlington Win CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 3, 2005) ----- Dale Jarrett and the ...

DJ Looks for 500-Mile Darlington Win

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 3, 2005) ----- Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team prepare for the lone race to take place at the track referred to as "too tough to tame." Much like the veteran drivers of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Darlington Raceway is the cagey veteran of race tracks with more than 50 years of racing taking place on the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval track. It is a weekend of firsts at Darlington as it marks the first time the NEXTEL Cup Series will race at the track under the lights and on Mother's Day weekend. To commemorate the occasion, Jarrett will race a special Mother's Day paint scheme to honor mothers across the country, specifically his mom, Martha.

While Jarrett's last few visits to Darlington Raceway have been plagued by accidents, the track is one where the veteran driver has excelled in the past. In 34 starts at Darlington, Jarrett has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows -- all a result of trying to tame the track that is "too tough."

"You know going in that this is a track where you have to know the physical limitations," Jarrett said of Darlington. "You always hear about drivers racing the track instead of other drivers. This is the one place where that is the most important. If you don't give the track its respect, then you will end up with a "Darlington stripe," which makes what is already a long race even longer because nine times out of 10 you're going to do some damage. Once you hit the concrete wall at Darlington you're in trouble because you've more than likely done some damage."

Jarrett Discusses Racing at Darlington Raceway

How important is it to keep a track like Darlington on the NASCAR schedule?

"Darlington is a track that has meant to much to our sport and has played a big role in helping develop the sport into what it is today. Sure a lot of things have changed since they started racing at Darlington, however many years ago that is -- but there are changes going on everywhere. We don't need everything the same and obviously there isn't another track on the circuit like Darlington. So I think we've got to have race tracks like this."

It isn't quite the same as the Southern 500 with which everyone is familiar but it is still a 500-mile race at Darlington. How important is it to win a 500-miler at Darlington to you?

"It is certainly something I'd like to do. A lot of things have changed with our sport. We only race at Darlington once now but at least we still are racing here and I'm glad I have another opportunity to win one of these races. Sure you don't have the same elements we used to have with the Southern 500 in August, but I think that a win this weekend would be neat because we are at one of the oldest tracks on the circuit and it's now under lights so I think that's going to be something of stature in itself. A win at Darlington is special no matter the length because it takes so many things to happen in order to be successful there but it would mean a lot to me to get that 500-mile race win."

How special is it to be able to have your mom here for Mother's Day weekend?

"Yeah that's another thing that's different is us racing on Mother's Day. UPS is giving us this opportunity to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother's Day and I think it is going to be a special day because not only will my mom be there but I'll have Kelley there with the kids and a lot of the other drivers get to honor their moms in the special activities that are taking place this weekend so I am looking forward to that."

Notes of Interest

* Jarrett has three career wins at Darlington Raceway. If he were to win this weekend, however, it would be his first win in one of Darlington's 500-mile races. All three of Jarrett's wins at Darlington have taken place during the track's 400-mile events which traditionally took place during the spring. Jarrett's most recent win at Darlington was in the spring of 2001.

* Jarrett has a total of five top-five finishes in what has been known as the Southern 500.

Chassis 38

Chassis 38 is the car Jarrett will race this weekend at Darlington Raceway. This marks the first time Chassis 38 has been raced during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Jarrett last raced Chassis 38 during the 2004 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he was racing in the top 10 during the closing laps when he ran out of fuel due to a green-white-checker finish. Prior to Homestead, Chassis 38 was raced by Jarrett at Dover in September 2004 where he started the race in 11th and raced to a fourth-place finish.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett