Dale Jarrett Seeks Second Inaugural Victory at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. (July 21, 1999) -- Dale Jarrett etched his name in the history book at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he won the first race at the state-of-the-art complex, the 1995 Jiffy...
Dale Jarrett Seeks Second Inaugural Victory at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (July 21, 1999) -- Dale Jarrett etched his name in the history book at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he won the first race at the state-of-the-art complex, the 1995 Jiffy Lube Miami 300.
When he returns to the Speedway on November 14 for the inaugural Pennzoil 400, the debut of NASCAR Winston Cup racing in South Florida, Jarrett has two wins on his mind -- the race and the coveted NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.
"Obviously, it was very nice to be the first winner in Miami, and it would be real nice to win the first NASCAR Winston Cup race there," said Jarrett. "With it being a new facility, you're only going to have one opportunity to be the first winner. I was fortunate to have that happen in the grand opening in 1995, which was a NASCAR Busch Series race, and it would be fantastic to have it happen in the first Winston Cup race there."
The 42-year-old Hickory, N.C. native will have more than winning a race on his mind, though. After Miami, only the season finale in Atlanta remains on the 34-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and he will be looking to follow his father -- 1961 and 1965 champion and well-known television commentator Ned Jarrett -- as a second generation champion.
"The Pennzoil 400 will be a very important race. This race will definitely be a major factor for the championship. Hopefully, it will be a situation where we're in a hunt for the NASCAR Winston Cup title.
"It should be an exciting race, especially if there is a tight battle for the championship. Everyone will be giving it all they have to get the best finish for the end of the season. The fans should see a lot of passing, especially with the new rules for downforce. Since Miami is basically a flat surface, the spoiler and air dams should help the side-by-side racing action."
Barring major breakdowns or bad racing luck, Jarrett should go down to the wire as a contender for the NASCAR Winston Cup. Entering Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono, he held a 240-point lead over Jeff Burton.
But anything can happen in racing. Jarrett can only point to his grand opening victory in South Florida, when he went from fourth to first on the final lap of green flag racing.
"We didn't have the very best car that day," he admitted. "But it certainly was a lot of fun to win -- any time you win, it's a lot of fun."
Running fourth moments from taking the white flag, Jarrett instead found himself in the lead when leaders Kenny Wallace, Hermie Sadler and Larry Pearson tangled. Suddenly, it was a matter of beating Tim Fedewa to the caution flag, and Jarrett wound up the winner after leading only the final two circuits.
Jarrett returned to run in the 1996 and 1997 Busch Series races here, finishing in the top 20, one lap down, in both events.
While Jarrett knows that his NASCAR victory won't give him any special advantage in the inaugural Pennzoil 400, he feels his three years of NASCAR Busch Series experience at the Speedway will work in his favor.
"I do feel the experience from the NASCAR Busch Series races will be very beneficial when I return with the Quality Care/Ford Credit Taurus. I know what the track is like, which will be very helpful, especially when many of the NASCAR Winston Cup drivers will be racing there for the first time.
"As far as what the fans can expect, I can say that most of the races held at Miami have had good, exciting finishes. If it should come down to the last lap in November, I would most definitely like for it to have the same outcome as it did in that NASCAR Busch Series race in 1995."
Reserved grandstand seats and reserved recreational vehicle parking locations are now on sale for the inaugural Pennzoil 400. For tickets, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site at www.racemiami.com.
Dale Jarrett on South Florida
"South Florida is a nice area, and I wish I could spend more time down there with the family. This year, though, our main objective once we get down there is to race and be in contention for the championship. If we are successful in achieving that goal, it would definitely be a great place to celebrate!"