UPS Team Looks for Win at Martinsville CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 18, 2004) ---- The ...
UPS Team Looks for Win at Martinsville
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 18, 2004) ---- The #88 UPS Team travels to Martinsville Speedway with four consecutive top-10 finishes in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Dale Jarrett and the UPS Team are coming off a hard-fought sixth-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway after being forced to take a provisional to start the race. The finish at LMS was the team's 14th top-10 finish of 2004 -- a total that doubles the number of top-10 finishes from 2003. While the qualifying effort for the UPS Ford wasn't there, the race package and was and that made Jarrett smile on Saturday night.
"For whatever reason we were just slow in qualifying and in final practice," Jarrett said. "It was a brand new car and even though we had problems in qualifying, we felt like this car would race well. Mike (Ford, crew chief) and these UPS guys put their heads together and came up with almost a miracle setup. We think we know what direction we need to go to make it a contender maybe next time we race it."
The UPS Team has another thing to smile about as it travels to the half-mile Martinsville Speedway this weekend. The #88 UPS Team has posted five straight top-11 finishes in the fall race at Martinsville, and hopes to be able to add a win to the fall race statistics in this weekend's Subway 500.
Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Martinsville Speedway
What do you expect to see with the new racing surface at Martinsville?
"I've heard a lot about that. We didn't test there but my teammate, Elliott Sadler, did a couple weeks ago. From what I understand the surface is a lot smoother, and it has a lot of grip. It's also a lot faster so it will be interesting to see how that plays out in qualifying. Obviously they needed to do something to the track, given the problems we had with the surface there last time. It should be interesting. We'll probably be relying a lot on what the #38 team learned during their test, but other than the surface I imagine we'll see the same old thing at Martinsville and that's a narrow track with 43 cars all racing for the same piece of real estate."
This is a track that has suited this UPS Team. Does that give you a little bit of confidence for this weekend?
"For whatever reason this is a track that has suited this UPS team, especially in recent years. I think if you look at our stats there we had like eight straight top-10 finishes before last year. It requires a lot of patience and precision on the part of the driver, but you still need a good handling race car. Track position really matters at Martinsville because what you try to do is get yourself positioned throughout the first half of the race. You have to be really calculating in both your pit stops and how you handle traffic on the track. You need to know what you want to do towards the end of the race from the beginning because 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 decide 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 the 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."
Everyone talks about the tight racing, but equipment really comes into play here too, right?
"Part of being successful here is having a good handling car and solid equipment plays a part of that too. This place is hard on brakes, obviously, so 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. It's not that you drive the car into the turn any further, it's just a matter of being able to get off the brakes down in the center of the corner. If your car isn't handling well and you're on the brakes longer, then that's putting extra wear on those brakes. If your car drives well, you don't have to use the brakes as much."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has one career win at Martinsville, in addition to nine top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.
* In his last 14 starts at Martinsville, Jarrett only has three finishes outside the top 10, with one of those three finishes being an 11th-place effort there one year ago.
* The UPS Racing Team is one of a handful of NEXTEL Cup Series teams that are in Phoenix, Ariz., this week testing for the upcoming race there in two weeks.
Chassis 22 is the car the UPS Team is racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The last time Chassis 22 raced was at Richmond in May when the team finished 13th. It is the same car Jarrett raced at Martinsville earlier this season, starting 25th and finishing 10th.