Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, is coming off his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory since 2003 when he won last week's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Jarrett, who ranks fourth on the all-time Ford win list...
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, is coming off his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory since 2003 when he won last week's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Jarrett, who ranks fourth on the all-time Ford win list with 30, spoke about this past week prior to Friday's first practice session at Kansas Speedway.
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
ARE YOU STILL ON CLOUD NINE AFTER LAST WEEKEND? "Oh yeah, it's been a lot of fun. The calls and things have been very special. Everywhere that I've had to go this week, it's been amazing. I think you realize just how popular this sport is whenever you get out to Monday Night Football in Charlotte and you have fans hollering at you from everywhere. Everywhere I've been people have talked about watching the race and what an exciting race it was. I've gotten a lot of calls. Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes, who is Hickory native, called and Patrick Dempsey from Grey's Anatomy, who I met a few weeks ago at California, called. It's just been a lot of cool things happening."
DID IT SEEM LIKE TWO YEARS SINCE YOUR LAST POINTS WIN? "The time span to me - 2003 doesn't sound like that long ago -- but when you look at the number of races that I've run in that amount of time, yeah, that's a long time. I really didn't equate it to being that long of a period, but we've tried and failed a lot of times in that period. Still, it goes by in a hurry because you move on. You don't look at it and say, 'Hey, I didn't win again.' You start looking ahead to the next weekend and before long a lot of weekends have passed."
THIS WEEKEND IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN LAST FROM A CAR AND TRACK STANDPOINT. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS PLACE? "It's totally different, but this is exactly the type of race track that we're trying to turn our program around on. What has been our bread and butter for a lot of years are these type of tracks, but this year it's been the type of track that really has kept us from being a part of the chase. We just have not performed well at any of these, but we have a brand new car here. We've been to Kentucky twice with it to test. Elliott was here testing a car just like it a few weeks ago, so we feel like we have probably our best piece at a mile-and-a-half track that we've had all year. This will kind of be a barometer of where we stand and where we need to go from here, but I am excited about it."
YOU'VE WON A CHAMPIONSHIP AND A LOT OF BIG RACES, BUT WHEN YOU ESCORT YOUR DAUGHTER NATALEE OUT FOR THE HOMECOMING COURT TONIGHT IN HICKORY, NC, WILL THAT BE ONE OF YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS? "I'm going to be proud regardless of if Natalee wins or not, I don't think that's the thing. To me, it says a lot whenever they take only six young ladies from her entire senior class and the students voted her as one of those six to be on the homecoming court. That says enough to me already about the type of young lady that she is and to have the opportunity to go back is special. People look at us and know that we fly around in jets and stay in nice motorhomes and things, and those things can be luxuries. We look at them more as necessities a lot of the times, but this is a time where it is a luxury that allows me to go back to Hickory tonight and be a part of the homecoming festivities and to escort Natalee during her big moment. I'm gonna be awfully proud, so this could be one of my proudest moments whether she wins or doesn't win."
DALE JARRETT UPDATE: The homecoming festivities Dale Jarrett was planning on attending tonight at Hickory High School have been postponed until Monday due to rain.