Daytona Shootout: Dale Jarrett preview

Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 3rd, 2004) --- Dale Jarrett, driver of the ...

Dale Jarrett
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 3rd, 2004) --- Dale Jarrett, driver of the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, will compete in the ninth Budweiser Shootout of his career on Saturday night. Jarrett has two wins in the annual dash for cash and will try to make it three on February 7th. The UPS Racing team looks to rectify their 18th-place finish in the 2003 event by picking up the win.

"During last year's race someone was leaking oil and it just covered the windshield to where I couldn't see anything," Jarrett said of the 2003 Shootout. "My spotter, Bob Jeffrey, literally had to be my eyes. I couldn't see the lines let alone the cars in front of or beside me. So I just laid back and rode it out. I probably should have stopped and let the team clean it off, but I was hoping for a caution and didn't want to take myself out of a chance to win."

"The Shootout is such a fun race and it's one where you're racing for bragging rights," Jarrett continued. "Although the Daytona 500 is a week later and that officially starts our season, the Bud Shootout is our first time back in the car in competition after the winter break and we're all itching for an opportunity to get back to victory lane in the New Year."

While a win in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout would more than make up for the problems had in the 2003 event, it may also serve as a precursor to a bigger prize -- the Daytona 500. Jarrett followed up his wins in the 1996 and 2000 Budweiser Shootouts with wins the following weekend in the Daytona 500.

The starting field for the Budweiser Shootout is made up of pole winners from the previous season, in addition to previous winners of the annual event. Jarrett solidified his annual starting spot in the Budweiser Shootout with his win in the 1996 edition of the Shootout.

As the unofficial start to the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, the Budweiser Shootout is a 70-lap dash for cash. The 2004 edition of the event marks just the second time the Shootout has been raced under the lights of Daytona International Speedway.

Dale Jarrett Discusses the Budweiser Shootout

Do you have a strategy for the Budweiser Shootout?

"I don't know that you call it a strategy other than we probably will try to lay back a little at the beginning and we'll try to pit as soon as we can make it to our fuel window so we can spend the final 20 laps getting ourselves in position for the win."

Is this race a good predictor for the winner of the Daytona 500?

"It can be. Obviously anyone who has a car capable of winning in the Shootout is someone we're going to look at as contenders for the win in the 500 a week later although it doesn't always work out that way. Then, there are a number of guys who aren't in the Shootout that have good cars so I think more than anything it's a great opportunity to test the restrictor-plate program that the teams have spent so many hours over the winter getting ready for and preparing. Plus, the Shootout is just a fun race and you get to have bragging rights for the next 365 days that you were the fastest of the fast on this particular Saturday night."

Complete and updated media information on Dale Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing and the No. 88 UPS Team is available at the UPS Racing web site, www.racing.ups.com.

-ryr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Robert Yates