Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, captured his second win of the 2000 season in Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway. After talking about the specifics of his ...
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, captured his second win of the 2000 season in Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina Speedway. After talking about the specifics of his victory, Jarrett and crew chief Todd Parrott spoke about the current points race and what it's been like since their previous win in the Daytona 500.
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT THIS CHAMPIONSHIP POSSIBLY STAYING IN THE FAMILY WITH JIMMY MAKAR? "I'm truly excited for Jimmy and for Bobby. They're very good friends, obviously, Jimmy being my brother-in-law, and, really, I have a little bit inside of me that says, 'I helped start that race team.' When Joe Gibbs first started, I was the first person that Joe Gibbs racing actually hired and then I told him I wanted Jimmy to the be crew chief and he went out and got Jimmy. So, he put everything together and I was there for the first three years of that race team and then made the move to Robert Yates Racing, so I'm really excited. Bobby Labonte is a really good friend. He's a tremendous competitor. He works hard at this and so does Jimmy. People like Todd and Jimmy give up a lot to be as good as they are in this business. I know a lot of times they get some recognition, but they don't get nearly enough for what they do and for the hours that they put in and the things that they sacrifice to be the best and to make Bobby and I look good on the race track. That's what's happened, so I'm excited for him. Sure, we'd rather be celebrating sitting up there at the head table, but I am truly excited for Jimmy and for my sister Patty and for Bobby and Donna because they are truly deserving. I'm also happy for Joe Gibbs. He's come into this business and helped the sport a lot. He's given it a lot of credibility with someone like him coming in and being involved. Now he's got two really good race teams, so I'm excited for the whole group there."
IS IT THE NEXT MOST SATISFYING THING FOR YOU TO SEE THEM HAVE THIS KIND OF SEASON? "Yeah, if it can't be someone from Robert Yates' organization -- Ricky or myself -- then, yeah, they're right there. That's who we would pull for because I know how hard they have worked and the sacrifices they've all made, so that means a lot to me that they're having that type of year and they're taking advantage of that. They're a very good race team."
HOW HAVE YOU PERSEVERED THE EIGHT MONTHS SINCE YOUR LAST WIN? "Certainly it's difficult, but I went through years of not winning so this is not as much of a big deal as it sounds. But when you become accustomed to winning it is difficult, but more than anything what I've tried to do -- I don't know if being a cheerleader is the right word -- but I've tried to be supportive to our race team. I try to be at the shop when I can, being behind them and just telling them that I know the job that they're doing and the hard work and effort they're putting forth. This guy Todd, sitting beside me, I know how much work and how much time he puts in and the sacrifices that he makes, so I'm more concerned for those guys -- that they're not getting too disappointed and too burned out -- that they weren't getting any reward for their hard work and effort. We all still have that championship, we're called champions and that's great, that will carry you for a long time, but when you have a race team as good as what we have you expect to win. So I just wanted to make sure that those guys were OK and that they knew even though we were having some problems, that we were still very capable of winning and that on the right day we were gonna get back into victory lane. So it was more of a situation of keeping them pumped up."
WAS THERE EVER A POINT WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU MIGHT NOT WIN ANOTHER RACE THIS YEAR? "I don't think there's any doubt that in the back of your mind you think that, but in all honesty when we leave one race track and haven't won, I think that next week is gonna be the time that we're gonna win. No, I knew that with the effort that was being put forth and the progress we had made in the last couple of months that we were gonna win again. I didn't know where it might be, but I knew it could be at any week. When you have this good of a team and this good of an organization, you know that it's gonna happen. That's just like Ricky's situation. I mean, they've done everything this year but win and you can't explain why they haven't because they've had the best car a number of times. You just have to keep putting yourself in that position and it's gonna happen. That's what we had to do. After the first five or six races we started racking up top 10s, but we really weren't challenging for victories so we weren't putting ourselves in a position to win. Lately we've been doing that, so I knew it was just around the corner."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ON THIS OFF WEEK? "Tomorrow afternoon I head to Homestead to test for two days. We test Tuesday and Wednesday there. We've got a couple of tests left, so we'll get that test done. We ran reasonably well there last year, but we expect to perform a little bit better, so we're going down there for a couple of days. If anybody's got an extra World Series tickets I'll take those because I do have a couple of other days. Next week I'm going to play golf for a couple of days before we go to Phoenix. I'm gonna relax and enjoy that with my brother and Michael Waltrip, so that should be interesting."
ARE YOU GLAD ABOUT HAVING THIS NEW PIT CREW, ESPECIALLY AFTER WHAT THEY DID AT ROCKINGHAM? "I'm glad way before this. I can just see a difference in our other guys in their attitude and knowing that they didn't have to be at every race track early in the morning, not only getting the car ready but also worrying about setting up the pits and everything. There's just been a completely different attitude. Our guys have accepted it very well and, again, it's just been a totally different attitude around our shop and in the garage area. So it's paid benefits long before today. It certainly made a big difference today, but there have been a lot of benefits. I'm probably actually the guy that yesterday cost them the pit crew championship. I thought I was gonna slide in and then kind of saw that I wasn't, I was gonna stop short and I let the car roll forward and kind of threw them off rhythm. They could have probably won yesterday, but I think they'd take today's win over that."