Dale Jarrett Opens Up on NASCAR RaceDay Wendy Venturini Gets 'The Real Deal' on Jarrett's Move to Toyota and When the 1999 Nextel Cup Series Champ Plans on Retiring Dale Jarrett and long-time sponsor UPS are headed to Toyota and ...
Dale Jarrett Opens Up on NASCAR RaceDay
Wendy Venturini Gets 'The Real Deal' on Jarrett's Move to Toyota and When the 1999 Nextel Cup Series Champ Plans on Retiring
Dale Jarrett and long-time sponsor UPS are headed to Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing for next season, ending a 12-year relationship with car owner Robert Yates. NASCAR RaceDay insider Wendy Venturini sat down with the 1999 Nextel Cup Series champion, as he talked about what's recently transpired at Robert Yates Racing and when his career might come to a close.
Venturini: Coming in fourth at Kansas Speedway, how would you assess your season?
Jarrett: It's been a real struggle. It's certainly been a disappointment for all of us. With all of the changes forthcoming, that's made it even more difficult. Things do change. I'd like to finish this off really strong. That would mean a lot to me.
Venturini: After years of winning -- your last coming at Talladega one year ago - does it feel like a year since your last win?
Jarrett: It doesn't seem like it's been that long ago. Sometimes, it feels like things draw out forever. But this has been a situation I know we've been working hard -- and we're trying to get better -- it just doesn't seem like a year's passed.
Venturini: You've run for great guys with Joe Gibbs, but 12 seasons with Robert Yates, did you ever think you would leave?
Jarrett: No. It didn't even enter my mind because (Robert Yates Racing) was where I was going to finish up my career. It's been a fun, fun ride, but a new challenge came along. As much as I didn't think I would ever leave, that has changed. I do want to go out and try to be a winner.
Venturini: What will be the greatest memory of those 12 years?
Jarrett: Wow. There are a lot of them and we could have probably done a couple of shows in talking about them. But it was the championship in 1999. To know what that meant to Robert Yates meant more than anything else. That I was able to be apart of that team that brought him that championship.
Venturini: We talked with Robert Yates about six weeks ago and here is what he had say about you.
Robert Yates: ...he's a mold from his dad. He's a gentleman guy and the most fair business guy...
Venturini: '...and have the utmost respect for him. He's the guy that makes me believe that good guys can win races.' (End Robert Yates excerpt). What do those words mean to you?
Jarrett: Means a lot to me to have someone like Robert Yates say those things about you. We've had a really good relationship throughout the years. I hate the way it's ending the way it is. It would have been great if we could have just -- even if we were going to part ways -- that it could have been a little bit better. I think we still have a huge respect for each other. And to be mentioned in the same sentence with my dad, means a lot.
Venturini: What are your expectations for 2007?
Jarrett: To be the first driver to win in a Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series. Now, is it going to happen in the Daytona 500? It can be because we're going to be in the Daytona 500. If you get yourself in that race, then you have a chance. It's been proven I know how to win that race, so I have a lot of confidence in what we're doing at Michael's right now in preparing for those races.
Venturini: Have you decided what will be your final year in Nextel Cup?
Jarrett: Yeah, 2008 is going to be it. I've got a two-year deal here and I don't see any scenarios that are going to change that for me.
Venturini: What do you consider going out on top? What would you be happy with?
Jarrett: Making the Chase would be something I consider going out on top. If we were competitive week in and week out, then that to me would say this is the time that's good for me to step away. It would be great if it were like John Elway and go out and win a championship -- that would be fantastic. But those are the things dreams are made of and I have that dream. My career has been a dream story anyway. But that would be great if that could happen.
Venturini: We heard Dale say that 2008 will be his final year in Cup. But what we can tell you is that UPS has had the 'Drive the Truck' campaign since 2001. He said it's a good idea that he could possibly be in a brown truck before his career is over. Now, let me put the emphasis on truck, if you know what I mean. It's purely speculation, but let's wait and see if Dale Jarrett could possibly be in the Truck Series later on in about two years.
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