The last time the Daytona 500 was held on February 20th, Dale Jarrett sat on the pole and went on to win the race. The year was 2000 and it was the last time any driver won the season opener from the pole. Robert Yates Racing is now hoping...
The last time the Daytona 500 was held on February 20th, Dale Jarrett sat on the pole and went on to win the race. The year was 2000 and it was the last time any driver won the season opener from the pole. Robert Yates Racing is now hoping history will repeat itself tomorrow.
The problems Jarrett and teammate Elliott Sadler have had during Speedweeks have had to do with race setups not working well in traffic. Sadler's team seems to have hit the right combination, scoring the third fastest time in final practice, but Jarrett and the No. 88 Ford boys are still struggling, and ran only the 36th quickest time in practice.
"I think we have helped our car," said Jarrett who starts on the pole Sunday. "I don't know that we've gotten it to the point that I can say 'Man, I really feel good about this'. We seem to have some issues, especially in traffic, of trying to keep the front end of the car down and it's being more difficult than I wanted it to be.
"We made it better and more drivable, but we still need to be a little better to win the race. Mike (Ford, crew chief) and I have some ideas and we're going to put those in place and see if we can go out and race for 500 miles."
Jarrett is searching for his fourth Daytona 500 win on Sunday.
"If we have to rely on history to make it happen, that's cool too," said Jarrett. "I don't care what we have to rely on. We'll bring up all the history we can if that gets us to Victory Lane, so be it. I don't care what it is as long as it gets us there."
For Jarrett, any trip to Victory Lane would be a welcome respite. The team hasn't won a race since Rockingham of 2003 but the jinx seems to be lifting from the No. 88 team. While going winless in point races last season and missing the chase, they did rack up 14 top-ten results and a win at the Budweiser Shootout.
As Jarrett's Cup career begins to wind down he would like to go out with a bang. Nothing would make a splash better than winning the Daytona 500 from the pole.
"I think it's gonna be pretty aggressive racing all day," said Jarrett. "I don't see it calming down much. I think that as long as there are plenty of cars left at the end that at the end - that the end is going to be pretty wild."