by Shawn A. Akers WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 1998) In a season that saw him finish just 14 points behind Jeff Gordon for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship a year ago, Dale Jarrett can't, and won't, point to a particular event that may have...
by Shawn A. Akers
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 1998) In a season that saw him finish just 14 points behind Jeff Gordon for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship a year ago, Dale Jarrett can't, and won't, point to a particular event that may have prevented him from winning the title.
But if there's a race that Jarrett can look back on and grimace about, it was the Bud at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. The driver of the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit machine was running up front when NASCAR black-flagged him due to smoke coming from his engine.
Jarrett eventually wound up a lap down, finished 32nd, and giving up nearly 100 points to Gordon in the championship standings.
"You can't look at one race and say that it cost you," said Jarrett, currently third in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, 193 points behind Gordon heading into this weekend's Bud at the Glen. "This is a whole series of races, and we had problems at other places besides Watkins Glen. It just comes later in the season, and you look at that.
"I'm sure there was somewhere during the season where I messed up and cost us some points, too, so you can't blame it on anyone. We don't look back at it. We just say that when we go back to Watkins Glen and these other places that we're gonna try better there than the time before."
Gordon is the race's defending champion, and he'll also have to deal with the likes of Mark Martin, a three-time winner at Watkins Glen who hasn't finished out of the top-five at the road course since 1989.
Jarrett, who has two victories and 11 top-5 finishes in 19 races so far this season, lost a huge chunk of points last weekend during the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After dominating the race early, he wound up finishing 16th after having to make up four laps during the race when he ran out of fuel midway through and had to be pushed a great distance to his pit stall by his pit crew.
Jarrett will be looking for his first-ever top-five finish at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. He finished a respectable 15th on the road course at Sears Point back in June, and has one top-5 finish on a road course during his NASCAR Winston Cup career (fourth at Sears Point in 1997).
"We run well there (at Watkins Glen), we just haven't had much racing luck," Jarrett said. "If we can go there and continue to run well, those things (like his problems at Indianapolis) will equal out."
Source: NASCAR Online