RYR Looks to Return to Daytona Victory Lane DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (June 29, 2004) --- With four wins at the 2.5-mile superspeedway of Daytona International Speedway, Dale Jarrett and the No. 88 UPS Racing Team will once again team up with their...
RYR Looks to Return to Daytona Victory Lane
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (June 29, 2004) --- With four wins at the 2.5-mile superspeedway of Daytona International Speedway, Dale Jarrett and the No. 88 UPS Racing Team will once again team up with their counterparts at Robert Yates Racing and try to unseat the reigning kings of superspeedway racing, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Jarrett, along with his teammate Elliott Sadler, were the only two drivers to mount a charge and prevent Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., from dominating Daytona Speed Weeks in February. Jarrett picked up one of the weeks' wins with his trip to victory lane in the Budweiser Shootout while Sadler picked up a win in one of the two Gatorade 125 events prior to the Daytona 500.
While RYR hopes to take one of its two Fords to victory lane, the UPS Racing team hopes to continue its charge to the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. With the team's 18th-place finish at Infineon Raceway, they were able to maintain 14th place in the point standings. During the last few seasons, Daytona has been a feast or famine track for the UPS Team. They have either left the 2.5-mile superspeedway with a top-10 finish, or have been taking out of contention due to accidents. Once the team makes it through the weekend at Daytona, it looks down the schedule at tracks where they excel including New Hampshire, Pocono and Indianapolis.
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Daytona International Speedway
How exciting is it to race a superspeedway event under the lights?
"Any NEXTEL Cup Series race under the lights is exciting. I think that is the same whether you are a fan or a competitor. It is a day-long event that culminates under the lights. By the time the race starts everyone is pretty well keyed up and ready for some excitement. As a driver, I know it is certainly exciting. The other thing that I enjoy about night racing is the clarity. For some reason, the track is really visible and you just feel like you can see everything better and more clearly than on the days when you are racing into direct sun light."
Many refer to this event as a crap shoot. What are your thoughts on that?
"You know going in that regardless of how good your car is, one little slip up by your or one of your competitors and there is going to be a big accident. With the way the restrictor-plate races are run these days, there is no room for error. One error and there's a good chance you will wipe out half the field. In that sense, it is like racing at a Bristol, Martinsville or Richmond. There are a lot of factors that are out of my control as a driver which makes it more of a risky event."
What does it take to get through 400 miles at Daytona on a Saturday night?
"Daytona and Talladega are both races that you know going into that it doesn't matter where you start. You want to qualify well because that's a great momentum builder for the team, but you can start last and work your way to the front. We've seen that happen the last couple years. It's also the type of racing that no matter how good your car is your night could end up real bad if you get caught up in one of those inevitable accidents. One thing that sets Daytona apart from Talladega is that it is more of a handling track. But, with the 13-gallon fuel cells, you are going to be making enough pit stops to where you have plenty of opportunities to adjust on the car and get fresh tires."
Do you have a strategy for Saturday night?
"Unless I have a car that is capable of getting in the lead and staying there, then I am going to stick to the game plan that has kept us running at the end of these events the last several years. You know heading into Daytona that there are going to be accidents and if you want to be around at the end and have a chance to win, then you can't be in the middle of the accidents that happen. So we'll probably lay back, adjust on our car and get it right for the final 30 to 40 laps when we'll make our move to the front and get in position to make a run for the win."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has four career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins at Daytona International Speedway, but only one in the track's annual 400-mile event that takes place each July. Jarrett picked up the win under the lights in July 1999, the same year he won the NASCAR championship. Jarrett led 40 laps in route to the win at DIS in the '99 Pepsi 400.
* Jarrett has 18 starts in the Pepsi 400. His career stats in the 400-mile race include one win, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
* Jarrett has finished 10th the last three times the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has visited the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, dating back to the 2003 Daytona 500.
* It was announced Tuesday CitiFinancial will be a new associate sponsor for the #88 UPS Ford driven by Dale Jarrett and the #38 M&M'S Ford. There will be a photo opportunity in the Daytona International Speedway media centre on Saturday July 3rd at 3:30pm.
The UPS Racing Team will field Chassis No. 6 for this weekend's 400-mile event at DIS. Chassis 6 is the same car the team raced at Talladega in April, and is also the same car Jarrett raced to victory in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout.