Miracle cure -- Despite flu bug, Jarrett takes 47th annual Daytona 500 pole DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2005) -- If fast laps are medicine, then Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) considers himself a medical marvel. The three-time Daytona 500 ...
Miracle cure -- Despite flu bug, Jarrett takes 47th annual Daytona 500 pole
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2005) -- If fast laps are medicine, then Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) considers himself a medical marvel.
The three-time Daytona 500 champion won his third Daytona 500 pole in last Sunday's qualifying session, also earning the top starting spot in the first of Thursday's two 150-mile qualifying races -- now known as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.
But as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series prepares for its season-opener -- the 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday -- earning another pole might not be Jarrett's biggest Speedweeks accomplishment. These days, just getting in the car is monumental because of a particularly mean case of the flu.
"Hopefully before the end of the week I'll be able to think straight like I need to and have all the energy that it's gonna take to get through this next week," said Jarrett. "But I feel quite certain that it won't be a problem."
Along with teammate Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford), Jarrett is hoping to return Robert Yates Racing to the sport's pinnacle. It's been a journey; after finishing 15th in last season's final point standings, the 48-year-old Jarrett is beginning his second full season with crew chief Mike Ford, a pairing that's starting to pay off.
"I actually worked with Mike in 2001 and I know the intensity he brings to the table each week," said Eddie D'Hondt, RYR general manager. "That's one of the reasons I made him the first guy I hired to try and bring this team back to what it once was. I know Dale's intensity to end his career as he moves on in the next few years on a high note, so none of this surprised me. Not at all."
The 1999 series champion, Jarrett would like to drop-kick retirement rumors for a while. He feels he's capable of more than the occasional win, certainly another title, and now that the first pole of the 2005 season is his -- his other Daytona 500 poles came in 1995 and 2000 -- Jarrett's next step toward a fourth Daytona 500 victory is a strong performance in Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona.
"I think we'll show on Thursday that we have a good race car and it's one that will draft well and then, come Sunday, I believe that we will be a team that will be right there to win this race," he said.