Dale Jarrett and UPS Team Prepare for Martinsville Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus CHARLOTTE (April 12, 2004) --- Martinsville Speedway is the second short-track stop for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2004. The half-mile track features...
Dale Jarrett and UPS Team Prepare for Martinsville
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
CHARLOTTE (April 12, 2004) --- Martinsville Speedway is the second short-track stop for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2004. The half-mile track features some of the most exciting on the circuit and this weekend's Advance Auto Parts 500 should be no different. One of the toughest tracks on equipment, it's all about handling and brakes at Martinsville. Dale Jarrett, who made his first career Cup start at Martinsville back in 1984, has 35 starts at the .526-mile oval and has earned one win, nine top fives and 17 top 10s.
Getting around Martinsville requires both finesse and patience according to the driver of the UPS Ford Taurus.
"The key is to get through the first half of the race without incident," Jarrett said. "It's a matter of getting your car right and trying to keep your fenders on your car without overworking your brakes or your engine. I think that's what you spend the first 300-350 laps doing -- making those adjustments on your car to where you think you've got it the best that you can be and, again, not abusing your car so you have something to race with when it gets down to those last 50 laps. That takes a little bit of driving finesse and a lot of patience."
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Martinsville Speedway
Obviously track position is important at all tracks with the cars being so equal. How important is it at a track like Martinsville?
"It does matter here because what you try to do here is get yourself positioned. You have to be really calculating in your pit stops and know what you want to do towards the end of the race. You get to a point where you're going to say, 'OK, we're not coming in anymore -- it doesn't make any difference.' You're going to stay out on that set of tires until the end of the race. Obviously, caution flags dictate what you do, but you certainly want yourself positioned near the front of this field toward the end because if you get a restart in the last 50 laps, the top three or four guys really have a big advantage of clearing traffic and getting out in clear race track. It's hard to make that ground up."
The one thing we hear so much about at Martinsville is brakes and conserving the brake system. What is the key to making the brake system last for 500 laps?
"What you do is try to get your car to handle better through the corners where you don't have to get on the brakes too much. That's what we've done the last couple of times we've been here, we've made our car better, therefore, we've been able to save the brakes in that respect. As you're rolling through the center, you don't have to get on the brakes there. It's not that you drive it in any further or anything like that, it's just a matter that if you're still on those brakes down in the center of the corner because you're car's not handling well, then that's putting extra wear on those brakes. If your car drives well, you don't have to use as much brake."
How do you know when the brakes are going away?
"If you feel the brakes going away, then it is usually too late. The bad thing about our braking system is it doesn't give you a lot of warning. You feel the pedal start going away and getting soft and you know at that time you're abusing the brakes, so you better start getting off of them. When they go, there's not a lot of warning at that point in time and then there's nothing you can do."
The UPS Racing Team will be racing a new chassis this weekend at Martinsville. Chassis 22 is a new chassis that was built in-house at Robert Yates Racing. It was the car with which the UPS Team tested at Martinsville during the off week between the race at Texas and this weekend's Advance Auto Parts 500.