Michigan: Dale Jarrett preview

Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 15, 2004) ---- Dale Jarrett, driver of the UPS Ford, travels to a track he refers to as his favorite with this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Michigan 400 at Michigan International...

Dale Jarrett
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (June 15, 2004) ---- Dale Jarrett, driver of the UPS Ford, travels to a track he refers to as his favorite with this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. A top-five finish at Pocono Raceway slipped through Jarrett's fingers during the final five laps when the motor on the UPS Ford failed giving the team its second DNF of the year. Jarrett had been racing in the top five throughout much of the event and was in fourth place when the motor failed on the UPS Ford. The good news from Pocono is that the team will take the same chassis to Michigan for this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. The team currently sits 17th place in the points, 150 points out of 10th place in the NEXTEL Cup point standings.

Dale Jarrett Discusses Racing at Michigan International Speedway

You're taking the same car you raced at Pocono to Michigan this weekend, does that give you a certain level of confidence?

"Well the car certainly performed well all weekend at Pocono from qualifying to practice and definitely in the race. Michigan and Pocono are obviously different tracks, but some of the same principles come into play. Aerodynamics and horsepower are essential at Michigan like they are at Pocono. This car handles really well and I just felt good in the car. As disappointing as Sunday was in Pocono, I have to be a little excited about the prospects of running this car in Michigan. I had a great feel with it and I have to believe we'll see more of the same this weekend in Michigan."

You often describe Michigan as your favorite track, why is that?

"I think there are a few reasons why I say that. Obviously I am partial to that track because that is where I got my first win and that is always going to make Michigan special. But I think that more than that it is a track that offers all the things that a driver looks for in racing. The track is extremely wide and there is plenty of room for side-by-side racing and the track surface is conducive for that type of racing. Plus, there are multiple grooves at Michigan so that if your car isn't working well in one groove there is a chance that you can find another groove where your car will work. I've won races running up high against the wall, and I've run races running right along the bottom of the track so it just offers a lot of options to a driver."

Has this track changed much over the years?

"While there are things that have changed over the years, the track is the one thing that hasn't changed. The cars with their aero and engine packages have changed but the way you drive Michigan hasn't really changed that much. You may change the way that you drive throughout the 400 miles on Sunday because there are going to be times that the bottom of the race track is going to be the quickest way around. You're probably going to move up to about the middle of the track, and then possibly the quick way around might even get to the very top of the race track. That changes throughout the course of 400 miles as the conditions of the track changes. Obviously, our speeds are a little quicker than what they used to be, but the way that you drive and the things that you do are pretty much the same."

Like every other track, does it come down to handling at Michigan?

"Of course it all goes back to handling. If you're car doesn't handle well then all the horsepower in the world isn't going to help you if you can't take advantage of it exiting or getting into the corners. The one thing that does set Michigan apart from every other track though is the multiple racing grooves. That's why I like this track so much. You may not have a good handle on the car in the bottom groove but it may work great in the middle or upper groove. That's what sets this track apart from other tracks we visit is the options available to the driver and team."

Notes of Interest

* With four career wins at MIS, Jarrett is second among active drivers in the category of most wins. Rusty Wallace edges Jarrett out with five career wins at MIS.

* In addition to four career wins at MIS, Jarrett's statistics include two Budweiser Pole Awards, 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.

* Jarrett has led at least one lap in 14 events at MIS for a total of 334 laps.

* Jarrett still holds the track race record when he won the event on June 13, 1999. Jarrett's race winning time was two hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds.

* Jarrett is second on the MIS top money winners list, but first among active drivers with $1,695,591 in career earnings at the two-mile track. Only driver Bill Elliott sits above Jarrett in that category.

Chassis 28

Chassis 28 is the in-house car that Jarrett raced at Pocono last week. Jarrett qualified 10th with Chassis 28 and was running in the fourth position when the motor failed on his UPS Ford with only five laps to go in the race. This will be the second race for Chassis 28 in 2004.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace