Daytona 500: Dale Jarrett preview

UPS Racing Team Notes of Interest * Dale Jarrett and competitor Jeff Gordon are the only active drivers to have won three Daytona 500 races. Jarrett scored wins in the Great American Race in 1993, 1996 and 2000. * If Jarrett wins ...

UPS Racing Team Notes of Interest

* Dale Jarrett and competitor Jeff Gordon are the only active drivers to have won three Daytona 500 races. Jarrett scored wins in the Great American Race in 1993, 1996 and 2000.

* If Jarrett wins Sunday's event, he will be part of an exclusive four-time winner club that only contains Richard Petty who has seven Daytona 500 wins and Cale Yarborough who has four 500 wins.

* UPS Team Crew Chief Slugger Labbe is no stranger to success at Daytona. Labbe guided Michael Waltrip to victory in the 2003 Daytona 500. It was Labbe's second win at DIS as a crew chief, having won the 2002 Pepsi 400 at Daytona with Waltrip.

* Car owner Robert Yates enjoys three Daytona 500 victories for his organization Robert Yates Racing (RYR). In addition to wins with Jarrett in 1996 and 2000, Yates went to victory lane in the 500 with Davey Allison in 1992.

* Jarrett's father, two-time NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett will be traveling back from Daytona to his home in Conover, N.C., this Friday where he and his wife Martha will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, February 18th.

Jarrett's Thoughts on the 2006 Daytona 500

Can you explain how special is it to win this race?

"I know everyone has heard me talk about this but there is no comparison to winning this race. I think the best way for anyone to understand is to go back and look at two wins where we had champions in this sport wait a long time to finally get that Daytona 500 trophy and that is Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt. To see how Darrell Waltrip reacted after winning that race, and then to see Dale Earnhardt finally get that win in 1998 -- that pretty much sums up what this race means to each of us. We had watched a guy like Dale Earnhardt win pretty much everything else there is to win here but that reaction after winning the Daytona 500, well nothing compared to it and that is probably the best way to describe just how special a Daytona 500 win is."

Obviously everyone has heard Tony Stewart's comments regarding how bump drafting has evolve, so how do your propose NASCAR solve the issues that result from bump drafting?

"Tony is pretty much saying the same thing all of us have felt or expressed for some time now. You can't even call what goes on today bump drafting. It isn't the same thing it was just a few years ago. Obviously as we saw in the Shootout there are times to use it and times when it is totally unnecessary. When I first started racing, you'd get or give the guy running in front of you just a little push to try to gain some forward momentum. The fronts of the cars are built so stiff that guys are just knocking the heck out of the person in front of them rather than giving them a little bump. That becomes a problem especially if the guy in front doesn't having his steering wheel just right and it doesn't matter whether you're in the turns or in the straight-aways, it's just hard to correct the car in that situation. There are a lot of good ideas out there -- Michael Waltrip's idea of eliminating the front bumpers is one of the best I've heard. We at least need to look at moving bumpers back just say six inches. Obviously we don't want to compromise safety but I think there's a way to soften that area up to the point where if a driver hits another car then they'll think twice or they'll sustain a good bit of aero damage."

What do you think of the proposed "No Bump Zone" that NASCAR is preparing to utilize for the rest of Speed Weeks?

"I mean, I think it's a sad state that we are forcing NASCAR into this position of having to make that kind of call, but obviously, we the drivers have put ourselves in this position. I'll be curious to see how they plan to police it but the way things are now it is a quick fix until something more concrete can be done such as the suggestions to the front nose area. You know, at the end of the day, the drivers can control this and not make it an issue. We do have a brake pedal as well as the gas pedal and there just needs to be a whole lot more judgment used especially when we're plate racing. There's a time and a place to let it all hang out, if you will, but lap 20 or 30 of a 200-lap event just isn't the time."

Chassis 65

Chassis 65 is the car Jarrett will race in this weekend's 500. The car is a brand new chassis for the #88 UPS Racing Team. It is one of the two cars the team utilized at the Daytona test session in which they participated in mid-January.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Ned Jarrett , Richard Petty , Robert Yates , Cale Yarborough
Teams Yates Racing