MARTINSVILLE, VA. (Sept. 26, 2001) -- When Dale Jarrett was just a young boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old, he always looked forward to coming to Martinsville Speedway. As a race-car driving adult, though, he's never been overly excited about a return...
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (Sept. 26, 2001) -- When Dale Jarrett was just a young boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old, he always looked forward to coming to Martinsville Speedway. As a race-car driving adult, though, he's never been overly excited about a return to the .526-mile oval. His anticipation may be a bit greater headed into the October 14 Old Dominion 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
Jarrett ended a two-decade personal drought and a much longer family dry spell at Martinsville Speedway in the spring when he won the Virginia 500. Jarrett had been racing at the .526-mile oval since 1980 without a win. His father Ned, a two-time time Winston Cup champion, never visited victory lane at Martinsville.
"I always felt that we would win in a Busch car at Martinsville and that never happened," said Jarrett. "We've had some success in a Winston Cup car there, but it obviously hasn't been a place where we have challenged a lot for victories.
"So, as much as I enjoy racing there, it is a little surprising that it took that long to get that first win."
Jarrett first came to Martinsville Speedway when his father Ned was still racing. He spent his time then playing in the infield with the children of other famous drivers.
"Back then, we had an infield, so it was a fun place to go," Jarrett recalled. "I don't know that my dad enjoyed a lot of success there either, but it was a fun place to look forward to going too."
And now, for one of the first time since those early, early days, Jarrett has reason to be excited about returning to Martinsville.
Jarrett led only six laps of last spring's Virginia 500 at Martinsville, but he led the laps that counted ... the final ones ... on the way to his first Martinsville win.
Although he didn't lead much of the race, he kept himself in position to move to the front. And there may be some carryover from that effort.
"There are things we learned last spring. We certainly feel that even though we won the race, we're going to have to be a little bit better than that to get ourselves in position to win this time," said Jarrett. "We probably weren't the best car, but we were fortunate at the end to make the right call and get tires.
"It was encouraging to us to know that we were able to run up front most of the day and put ourselves in a position to win, which we haven't done there very often. So yeah, there's some things that we learned and with some slight adjustments, we can be a factor again."
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will run the Old Dominion 500 on Sunday, October 14 at 12:30 p.m. On Saturday, October 13, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series will run the Advance Auto Parts 200 beginning at 2:45 p.m. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 200 are $30 each and children ages 6-12 get in for $5. All seats are unreserved.
Great reserved seats for the Old Dominion 500 are available in the towers for $40-$60. Tickets can be ordered by calling the speedway ticket office toll free at 1-877-722-3849 or (540) 956-3151. Tickets also can be ordered online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway's gates will swing open this weekend for the Taco Bell 300 Late Model Stock Car race.
Qualifying for the Taco Bell 300 begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 to determine the top 20 starting position. The fastest qualifier will receive $1,000 from Chatlee Boats.
On Sunday, September 30, the Taco Bell 300 kicks off four 25-lap qualifying races with the top five drivers from each race filling out positions 21-40 in the starting field. There will be two provisionals given to complete the 42-car starting lineup for the 200-lap feature race. Tickets for the Taco Bell 300 are $20 each for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.