Long Pond: Race winner Dale Jarrett press conference

DALE JARRETT-88-UPS Taurus "It feel great. I've heard Mark Martin say it a number of times, and never really thought that much about it being true, but you get in a little bit of a slump and you honestly wonder when and if another win is going...


"It feel great. I've heard Mark Martin say it a number of times, and never really thought that much about it being true, but you get in a little bit of a slump and you honestly wonder when and if another win is going to come. Being with a team such as what I'm with you know that you're going to work through these things, but just how long that's going to take you don't really know. It has been a while since we've won. We've only put ourselves in position a few times to win, but recently we have been to do that more. And I say if you put yourself in the top-five that gives you a chance to win, either by strategy or by running better or, like today, unfortunately, my teammate having problems like he did. I don't think that I could've - I might've could've caught Ricky right at the end, but we were so even. I would beat him five-hundredths or a tenth one lap and he would beat me a little bit the next. So, I might've could've got there, but passing him would've been a different story. I've always said that if you're trying to win a race the hardest thing to do is try to chase down another Yates engine. I was going to be perfectly happy in finishing second. If I'm going to finish second, the guy that I want to beat me is my teammate, Ricky Rudd. That's two weeks in a row for those guys and it's very unfortunate, but, again, we put ourselves in that position to take advantage of that. I think we ran well all day. We got a little bit tight there one segment and we freed the car back up there at the end and it was a lot better. Pocono seems to always - it's been a good place for me since I came to Robert Yates Racing when things might not have been going so well. In '95 when I was driving the 28 car we came here for the second race at Pocono and things hadn't gone as we had planned then up to that point, and we were able to win, so that kind of turned things around there. And it's just been a good race track for me. I enjoy the challenge that it presents."

DID YOU HAVE ANY SENSE THAT RICKY RUDD WAS IN TROUBLE AT THE END? "I didn't. A couple of times I saw him seem to have a little bit more problem. He was beating me off of turn three on a regular basis, and I saw slip a couple of times to where he didn't get through that corner quite as well. I didn't know if he had run so hard getting to the front that he might've used up his car or his tires, but obviously it was something else. So, no, I really didn't. I was sitting there doing everything that I possible could, trying not to overdrive in trying to catch him, but yet, trying to drive hard enough that I might get close enough to, if his car was going away, to make him drive a little bit harder to where I might take advantage of that. But, no, it really didn't, didn't see anything happen until right there whenever I caught him."

ON HIS LAST PIT STOP WITH DEBRIS ON THE TRACK. HOW DID THAT PLAY INTO THE SITUATION WITH MARK MARTIN? "That's when you know that prayer works. Yeah, I knew that we basically didn't have a chance. I assumed that Mark and maybe Jeff Burton and Elliott Sadler, maybe, that they could make it. My only thoughts were to get as big a lead as we possible could, which wasn't gonna be big enough if you gotta come in and pit. But, it was going to be one of those bittersweet days. You run good all day and then you're gonna have fuel mileage to decide this. But when the caution came out, I knew then that, said, 'Hey, this is gonna give us at least a chance to do what we came here to do,' and try to win the race. We made a great pit stop. A lot of guys took two tires. They didn't really concern me. The thing that concerned me was the amount of cars between Ricky and myself, knowing how fast he was. Could I get through there as quick as what he could? Because I knew that once he got to clean air, I had to be not too far behind or I wasn't going to have any chance. I didn't want to see anybody wreck or get hurt, but it was nice that the caution came out and let the race finish this way."


WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE? "Just debris like all debris looks like."

THE BASELINE AT POCONO IS GOOD FOR YOU. "Yeah. I think that we've come into a stretch of race tracks that is good to help us get things righted. Knowing that we didn't have to trick anything. What we needed for Dover, for here, for Michigan next week, what we need is a good aero package and work with our chassis with everything being pretty standard there, and let's see what we can do from that point. We ran a lot better at Dover. Obviously we ran well here today. And since we'll be taking this same car to Michigan now, I look forward to running there next week. So, yeah, we hit a good stretch at a good time for us to be trying to - I'm trying to say that we're rebuilding, I don't know that that's the proper word, but we're trying to certainly build on something that's a lot better than what we've been doing, and we couldn't have hit a better stretch of races at a better time for us to be doing that."

DID YOU EVER HAVE A THREE- OR FOUR-RACE STRETCH WHERE YOU HAD A VICTORY SNATCHED AWAY FROM YOU, LIKE RICKY RUDD IS EXPERIENCING? "Yeah, I can think of a couple of times. I don't know that it's been as many. I think Ricky seems to go through this, he and that team have gone through this for three years now. They get on these stretches. They run so well week in and week out and put themselves in that position, and then they have the craziest things to happen. I know that we've all been through similar things, but not as often as what Ricky and that 28 team have. I guess if you run as well as they do week in and week out, that opportunity is there more for that to happen than a lot of the rest us. It's very, very unfortunate. I can sit here talk all day and that's not gonna do them any good, but you can tell him, 'Hey, you had the best car here.' It came from the back of the pack and pretty much had this won and a had a chance at winning last week. They made the right call, got themselves in a position to do that. So, nothing we can say is going to make him feel better, other than they don't have to wait long to go to Michigan where they know they're going to have a chance at winning again. I'm sure that now that they start looking at, 'My gosh, what's gonna happen next?' But hopefully they'll just continue to work hard and we'll continue to work together, and if I can say anything good about today, at least it was his teammate that benefited from his problem."

ANY CHANGES BETWEEN NOW AND MICHIGAN FOR THE 88? "That car, we'll wipe the champagne off of it and pretty much go like it is. You look at both of these race tracks, and it takes kind of the same thing - it takes a good aero package, you gotta have a good handling car to take advantage of that, and you gotta have a really good engine. So, we know that we're going to have a great engine. We know that the car is very good aero-wise, or it wouldn't have done well here today. And we know that as far as the chassis setup goes, it may vary just a little bit, but there won't be a lot of difference. I think that a lot of these guys that have figured things out about this particular tire and the package that we have now are running a lot of the same things at a lot of the race tracks. So, it won't be much different. Hopefully, the result won't be, either."

AS THE SEASON GOES ON, HAD YOU NOT WON, WHAT WOULD'VE YOU BEEN THINKING? "In our discussions at Robert Yates Racing between Todd and Doug and Robert and myself that we knew that this process was going to take a while, so I'd given it, I think, in my mind that I was okay with the fact that this could take a while before we get back to Victory Lane. We might put ourselves in position, because we are very capable of just like what happened here today, of getting ourselves in position and taking advantage of that. But, if it would've taken two or three more months, I think that I was mentally prepared - now I think I was. If it would've gone on that long, I'm not sure. Because it gets increasingly more difficult with each weekend that goes by - for a number of reasons. You realize that everybody else continues to improve their programs, you get more people involved and it makes it even more difficult to win as the season goes on. So, yeah, it couldn't have happened at a better time for a lot of different reasons. But for the driver to have a good mental picture of what you want to do and a good state of mind, a win sure helps all of that kind of fall into place. As much as we were looking forward before of going to Michigan next week, now we wish it was probably two days away so we could continue this."

AFTER DOVER, YOU WERE LOOKING FORWARD TO SOME PHYSICALLY DEMANDING RACES. WAS THAT ONE TODAY? "This is a difficult race track, a difficult race, because you're working hard as a driver in the car. The temperature in my car didn't seem to be bad. I sweated a lot, but I do that doing anything. So, I am looking forward to it. I think that, yeah, part of that probably came into play. I mean, when you get to the end of 500 miles here, you're pretty much spent. I felt great in the car. All the things going on in Victory Lane, I guess it's been a while and I forgot all what on there, but I had to sit down for a little while there, but I felt great in the car. I think that, yeah, certainly takes its toll and I think an advantage if you look forward to that."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin
Teams Yates Racing