CHARLOTTE, N.C., (October 5, 2004) ---- Dale Jarrett picked up his sixth top-five finish of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season with a third-place effort at Talladega last weekend. Additionally, it marked consecutive top-five finishes for the...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (October 5, 2004) ---- Dale Jarrett picked up his sixth top-five finish of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season with a third-place effort at Talladega last weekend. Additionally, it marked consecutive top-five finishes for the UPS Team with the fourth-place finish at Dover two weeks ago. Pairing those stats with a strong race car for Kansas, Jarrett and the UPS Team are heading into this weekend's Banquet 400 with great expectations.
"I think that the important thing for this team right now is to try to get into victory lane again and we're a lot closer," Jarrett said. "I mean, it's been a long time since we finished in the top five back-to-back, so I feel like we're gaining a lot as far as consistency and performance go. Maybe Kansas will be that place this week where we can get back to victory lane."
While Jarrett's finishes do not reflect the UPS Team's performance at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, their qualifying effort speaks better of the team's capabilities. Jarrett worst starting position at Kansas is 18th -- the position he started from during the track's inaugural event in 2001.
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Kansas Speedway
Is a goal for this weekend just to finish the race?
"Yeah, it's kind of strange that we have raced there for three years and our best finish is 30th at Kansas. Our finishes really haven't reflected the way we have run at Kansas. We have lost a motor the last two years we raced there and the first year we were racing in the top 10 and I got caught up in an accident and wasn't able to finish the race. So, yeah, one of our goals is obviously to finish the race but we feel like we are going to be able to accomplish a lot more than that at Kansas. Our intermediate track program has really come a long way as we've seen at tracks like Michigan, California and Chicago. We feel like we're taking our best car with us this weekend and it would be great to see the UPS Ford in victory lane. Even though we don't have a top-10 or top-five finish at Kansas we feel like we have a program capable of winning this weekend."
You are coming off of two straight top-five finishes. What does that do for this team mentally, even though you aren't racing to get in the top 10?
"I think the biggest thing is we know we're starting to get pieces put together at a lot of different type tracks. Obviously, the plate races were something that for a number of years we felt like when we showed up we were definitely one of the four or five cars that you had to beat to win these races. Since that time, we haven't been quite as good. I think we've worked hard in trying to make that better, so this is a good direction for us and the third-place finish last weekend at Talladega was evidence of that direction. We feel like we've worked extremely hard at the mile and the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks and that program is running well. We still have some work to do on the three-quarter mile and the half-mile tracks and the flatter tracks. We're going to Phoenix in a couple of weeks to test and hopefully get that part of our program in order, so it's just a matter of getting all of those pieces put together so that when we get to the end of this year that we've got a majority of our questions answered so we can start off 2005 on a strong note. We are seeing a lot more success and when you start running better everyone gets in that mindset to where you don't expect anything but a top-10 or a top-five finish. To be championship contenders you have to think like champions, and that's the direction, I feel, this team is headed."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett lead 25 laps at Kansas Speedway last season and was on his way to a top-10 finish before losing an engine with only three laps remaining in the race.
* Jarrett was recently selected as the third quarter nominee for the USG Person of the Year honor which will be awarded at the Awards Banquet in December.
* Jarrett will be one of the drivers signing autographs at the Speed Fest event at Kansas Speedway during the evening of Friday, Oct. 8th.
The UPS Racing Team fields a faithful friend in this weekend's Banquet 400 with Chassis 28. Chassis 28 has been the most productive car for the UPS Team in 2004 as it is the car Jarrett has picked up four of the six top-five finishes scored by the team. The car's best finish is a second-place effort at Indianapolis. It also has a trip of third-place finishes with two at Michigan and one at Chicago.