Fontana: Dale Jarrett qualifying press conference

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus WHAT ABOUT BEING BEHIND THE YOUNG GUYS ON SUNDAY? "Well, that's becoming a common thing to start behind these guys. I'm usually way behind them, but they're doing a great job. They've got good race cars and they...

DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus

WHAT ABOUT BEING BEHIND THE YOUNG GUYS ON SUNDAY? "Well, that's becoming a common thing to start behind these guys. I'm usually way behind them, but they're doing a great job. They've got good race cars and they know what to do with them. I'm pleased with our lap. We knew in practice with some changes we made that we made the car a lot better and then we made another change for qualifying. When you sit there and watch all the speeds, you know that obviously the track has to have a lot of grip and is very fast. I probably wasn't as aggressive on my first lap as I needed to be, but, knowing that I got in a good lap allowed me to go after it pretty hard with the second lap. So, yeah, that definitely bumped up the average age in the top five whenever I got there."

DALE WAS SUPPOSED TO THROW OUT THE FIRST PITCH AT THE ANGELS GAME, BUT THE WEATHER HAS CHANGED THAT? "Yeah, it's unfortunate. I was really looking forward to it, but, obviously, we can't do anything about the rain. To make it there, we were close anyway on time. I guess you might call me somewhat of a daredevil in that we do what we do, but I don't fly in this kind of weather and we can't drive there fast enough because there are a million cars going that same way, so we can't make it. A couple of the Angels are coming out here tomorrow and we're gonna show them around our park a little bit."

AT WHAT POINT IN A RACE DOES EXPERIENCE OVERCOME YOUTH? "I'm not sure. I mean, yeah, I've been doing this a long time but these guys have a lot of experience too. They've been at these race tracks a time or two -- not necessarily Ryan. I guess he maybe ran the Busch race here, but Kurt ran here last year and they've got good equipment. They've been racing a long time, so you can't say they don't have experience. Kurt in particular has shown that he knows how to win races on probably the toughest race track that we race on, so I'm not sure that experience -- maybe with guys that haven't been here before, yeah, when you get midway through. I would say that that might be the one point -- when you get halfway through a race and these tracks start changing. You've got a lot of rubber down and the groove might actually change a little bit and that's where a guy that's been around longer may say, 'OK, I know it's time to change where I'm running right now' and that happens here. So, that maybe the point in time, but with the amount of talent these guys have, that doesn't come into play nearly as much as it used to."

HAVE THINGS SETTLED DOWN WITH TODD BACK IN FULL CONTROL? "Even though Todd was still in charge from the very beginning of the year, it has settled things down. The guys know who is in charge now totally and they know who to go to if they have questions. It's the same with me, basically. There were times I was seeing Jimmy stick his head in the window one time to ask me about the car and then it was Todd the next time, so it was a getting a little confusing. It's hard enough when you have one person totally in charge, much less two trying to do the same job. So, I think our race team is much better prepared right now and I think that Todd kind of took the first part of the year a little bit personally -- that we weren't performing any better. Even though it wasn't a terrible performance at any track we've gone to yet, we've kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. It's put us in a position we're not accustomed to being in and I think when you get Todd Parrott that determined, that's a good thing for our race team."

IS THAT AN INDICATION OF TODD'S DETERMINATION? "I think so. This is the same car that we had at Texas and Todd took the car in and really did some things on it aerowise to make the car better. That's where we feel like we've been really getting beat. When Todd first came to our program in 1996, for two years he wore the wind tunnel out. I'm not sure that's why we can't use it as much now because he was in it so much. I complained a lot of times that we needed to be working on our chassis a little bit more, but I didn't realize how much of a difference he was making with the aero stuff we were doing. He's gotten back involved on that side of it more and it's really made a difference in what I can do with the race cars and the type of setups that we know we needed to be running, but because of the way our cars were aerowise we couldn't accomplish that. So, I think, this last three or four weeks is an indication of the difference Todd is going to make having total control."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett