UPS Racing Ready for Summer Swing CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 1, 2004) ---- The MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway signals the arrival of the summer stretch of races for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. As the temperature and heat ...
UPS Racing Ready for Summer Swing
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 1, 2004) ---- The MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway signals the arrival of the summer stretch of races for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. As the temperature and heat rises throughout the summer months, so too will the competition among the NEXTEL Cup drivers. Each team will battle to earn its respective place in the final 10-race Chase for the Championship that begins in September.
Dale Jarrett and the UPS Racing Team have planned a month of tests that includes visits to Pocono Raceway, Kentucky Speedway and Virginia International Raceway. The next month features races at some of Jarrett's favorite tracks and tracks where the team has experienced considerable success including Dover, Pocono and Michigan. While the team is in much better shape than it was at this point in the season a year ago, Jarrett explained there is still work to do and the team hopes to accomplish some agenda items over the course of the next month.
"There's no doubt that we are a better team than we were, but I think that you have to look at where we were," Jarrett said. "We have made gains, but we still have a ways to go, which is obvious. It seems we're in that 15th spot a lot and we've got to get ourselves solidified in that top-10 area to where then we can make small changes to get ourselves situated in the top five. Then that gives you chances to win."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Dover International Speedway
What is the key to getting around Dover?
"It's a difficult track and I enjoy the challenge. It's very fast, very physical, but that's two things that I enjoy. I think that when we have had problems in the past it has been the result of getting caught up in somebody else's problems. So, that's just something you know is a possibility here, and you try to stay out of those situations. But, it's a handling race track. Over the years, a lot has changed. I raced when it was asphalt here, and now we have the concrete. We've done a lot of different things. Things have changed a lot as far as setups go, and as far as tires go. It's a very difficult race track on tires. Tire management is very critical. I think the guys that have that somewhat figured out are the ones that you have to beat."
Is there a preferred racing groove at Dover?
"Generally, you want to make the track as short as you possibly can. You generally start making a little bit of diamond out of this, not a whole lot. Right around the bottom is the shortest way around, but you've got to have a good handling car and know that when you're down there that you're not abusing the tires. I think this is a race track that throughout the 400 miles you have to play a little bit with. You'll be on the bottom at times, maybe move up a lane or two and I have seen guys that run really well, get up a couple of lanes here. It's a matter of figuring out where your car works best and where you are able to beat the other guys getting into and off the turns."
Dover is the first race of the summer swing and that stretch of races is one in which you look forward to competing. What do you do to get ready for the upcoming races when heat becomes a factor?
"Yes, I look forward to the next several races, one, because the upcoming tracks are places this team has competed well in the past. This is also a time of year when the weather is warmer and that usually means things are a lot hotter at the race tracks. It's a time of year that I prepare for year round just to make sure I am on top of my game as a competitor. I don't know that working out gives me an advantage but it certainly helps make me ready for the races we have coming up where heat and fatigue can become factors."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett's record at Dover includes one win, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
* The UPS Racing Team was competing in the top 10 at Dover one year ago before suffering an engine failure to finish the race in 39th. The DNF broke a string of five straight top-five finishes at Dover's June race.
* The UPS and M&Ms Racing Teams tested at Pocono Raceway prior to traveling to Dover International Speedway.
Chassis 18 is the car Jarrett will race in this weekend's 400-mile event at Dover. Chassis 18's best finish is ninth at Atlanta in March. It is the same car Jarrett raced at Rockingham and Darlington this season as well. During the Rockingham race Jarrett was competing in the top five when the motor failed on the UPS Ford. The car was running well at Darlington as well before a tire was cut on the UPS Ford, sending the car into the wall. Jarrett had to make several pit stops for repairs and lost several laps as a result of the damage. This is Chassis 18's first event since the Darlington incident.