Dale Jarrett and UPS Team at California No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 27, 2004) --- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series travels to the west coast of the United States for the second time in 2004 with the running of this weekend's Auto...
Dale Jarrett and UPS Team at California
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 27, 2004) --- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series travels to the west coast of the United States for the second time in 2004 with the running of this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The Auto Club 500 is the first of the track's 2004 events. Much like its sister track, Michigan International Speedway, California requires a well-balanced combination of horsepower and handling to navigate its lengthy two-mile surface. Notorious for a lot of horsepower, the Robert Yates Racing organization looks to harness and manipulate the horsepower of its Fords with a good handling package. Dale Jarrett, driver of the UPS Ford, explained that a combination of both is necessary for success at California.
"All the horsepower in the world won't make a difference if you have an ill-handling race car," he explained. "You have to be able to get off the corners not being too loose or too tight so that you can get right back into the gas. If you aren't able to do that then a driver isn't able to make full use of a good engine."
This weekend's race at California marks the eight time the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has raced at the two-mile track located about 45 minutes from Los Angeles. The UPS Racing Team is looking for exceptional results after spending a few days in Kentucky trying out various set-up combinations in preparation for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR season.
Dale Jarrett Discusses California Speedway
California and Michigan are considered sister tracks, but is there much that is similar about the two tracks?
"I really wouldn't say they are similar. If we hadn't raced in Michigan for so long then there may be something there that would be a little similar. Other than being two miles long, but you just don't have the width at California that you do at Michigan. I think part of that is because California isn't banked quite as much. So, I think that plays into it. Even though the race track at California has widened out quite a bit I think and it has become quite a racey track it still is not the place at Michigan is. That doesn't make it bad or anything it's just not, I think, what they intended it to be. Certainly the other factor would be the different types of asphalt that you have from Michigan to California, and the weather difference between the two places probably plays into the amount of grip and things that you have."
This will be the eighth time the Nextel Cup Series has raced at California, has the track developed certain tendencies or characteristics that you know to look for each year?
"The thing that you fight there mostly, which would be some of the things you fight at Michigan, which is loose in and then a tight off situation. I think, as much as people don't want to hear about the aero part of our race cars and our racing, that aero is a big factor there and traffic plays a big part in what you can do with your car. A lot of the same things that you would fight at Michigan you would fight at California and you work in the direction of keeping the car to where you don't have as much as a loose in, but you don't get that really tight sensation off the corner because that is where your speed is really hurt the most by having that tight feeling off the corner."
Horsepower is obviously important at California, but what else comes into play to be successful?
"It all still goes back to handling because it's necessary to utilize the horsepower that you have. Nobody really has a big advantage with horsepower in this day and time. So, to utilize that horsepower you have to be able to get back in the gas and let your car be as free off the corner as you can to make it go fast down the straight-away. Working on attitude of the car and getting the most out of your aero package makes your engine work better."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has seven starts at California Speedway. He has four top-10 finishes at California.
* When the No. 88 UPS Team has been running at the end of the race at California, they have finished in the top 10. Jarrett has three finishes outside the top 10 at the two-mile track -- all were the results of DNFs due to either an engine failure or an accident.
* Jarrett has led a total of 100 laps at California Speedway leading for 50 laps in 2002, one lap in 1999 and 49 laps during the track's inaugural event in 1997.
The UPS Racing Team will race Chassis 24 during this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Chassis 24 is the same car Jarrett raced earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway where he started 11th and finished 18th.