Jarrett makes "hot lap" in Darlington testing DARLINGTON, S.C. (Aug. 18, 1998) Dale Jarrett turned a lap in testing Tuesday at Darlington Raceway that he thinks could challenge for the Bud Pole on Friday, Sept. 4 when the NASCAR ...
Jarrett makes "hot lap" in Darlington testing
DARLINGTON, S.C. (Aug. 18, 1998) Dale Jarrett turned a lap in testing Tuesday at Darlington Raceway that he thinks could challenge for the Bud Pole on Friday, Sept. 4 when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series returns to the track "Too Tough To Tame" for the Pepsi Southern 500. Judging by the exchange heard on the two-way radios Tuesday, Jarrett's crew chief, Todd Parrott, feels like the lap in 167.151 mph around the uniquely-shaped 1.366-mile oval might be tough to beat. "That was pretty sporty there in turns one and two," said Parrott, who couldn't believe Jarrett drove his No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford Taurus through the corner as fast as he did. By reports, neither did Jarrett, one of NASCAR's top stars. "Yeah, it was so sporty, I'm still trying to get my breath back!" he said. "Wow, that was incredible guys. It was a little too close for comfort, especially just practicing. Hope I can do that same lap in a couple of weeks." Jarrett's Robert Yates Racing team was joined at the test by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Mike Wallace, who was on hand in the David Blair Motorsports Ford. Wallace's best effort was 163.375 mph. Jarrett, winner of the last two TranSouth Financial 400 spring races at Darlington, was a man focused during his first of two days at the track testing for the Labor Day weekend classic Pepsi Southern 500, set for Sept. 6. "That speed ought to be good enough to win the pole when we come back," Jarrett said. "If it's not, more power to the driver who can go faster. In fact, we pulled off that lap this afternoon in the heat of the day. It was just amazing." Bobby Labonte won the pole for the 1997 Southern 500 with a lap of better than 170 mph in his Interstate Batteries Pontiac. Some may question why Jarrett was practicing at Darlington, a track where he has been rock solid the last few years, but Jarrett answered that. "We want to keep those five guys from winning the $1 million dollars," he said, referring to the Winston 'No Bull 5' program, which could award Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Labonte, Mark Martin or Mike Skinner $1 million if they can win the historic race. "Plus, the No. 24 (Gordon, winner of the last four races heading into Saturday's event at Bristol and the winner of three straight Southern 500s) is our worst nightmare right now. We've got to keep working to be the best." In addition to his two TranSouth triumphs, Jarrett has won two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division races at Darlington as well as two Bud Pole positions, including the 1996 Pepsi Southern 500 pole in which he was chasing the Winston Million bonus. Both Jarrett and Wallace return to the track Wednesday for further testing. Next week's practice schedule includes three of the fivesome gunning for the Winston No Bull 5 bonus: Martin, Labonte and Skinner, who will be joined by Jeff Burton, who finished second to Gordon in his "million dollar" win in last year's Pepsi Southern 500. Other scheduled testees include Ted Musgrave and NASCAR Busch Series drivers Lyndon Amick, Jason Keller and Dave Blaney. Bud Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi Southern 500, as well as the Dura-Lube 200 Presented By Bi-Lo, is set for Friday, Sept. 4. Jarrett will compete in both events. For ticket information, call (843) 395-8499.
Source: NASCAR Online