This Week in Ford Racing August 16, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will once again return to his favorite track this weekend when the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series visits Michigan ...
This Week in Ford Racing
August 16, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, will once again return to his favorite track this weekend when the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway. He gained his first career Cup victory there in 1991, and has since scored three more wins at the 2.0-mile track. Jarrett goes into Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 tied for 11th place with Robert Yates Racing teammate Elliott Sadler in the standings - just three points out of 10th place and nine points out of ninth place - with just four more races until the Chase for the Championship.
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR FOR THE CHASE FORMAT. YOU WERE IN THE THICK OF IT LAST YEAR UNTIL THE VERY LAST RACE AND ARE IN IT AGAIN THIS YEAR. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGICAL APPROACH AT ALL? "Not really. The one thing that we realized is that we can't beat ourselves. We've got to make sure that we don't make the mistakes. We're not a good enough team to overcome a lot of adversity, so we've had to make sure that we're making a lot of right decisions. And, even though we haven't been as competitive as what we wanted to be, we parlayed those days into where we were a little more patient and maybe a little bit smarter at times into some reasonable finishes that have kept us in this position. But, you still have to go out and do the job on the race track, regardless."
HAS THE ADDITION OF A BUSCH TEAM BY YATES RACING HELPED OUT THE CUP PROGRAM? "Yeah, there's no doubt there are some things that it's helped out. The cars are a little bit more different than what we would like for them to be, to really learn what we need to. But, it's given us opportunities. Just like [at Watkins Glen]. I'm not sure it's a matter of set-ups and stuff as much as it is a driver getting in a rhythm and seeing exactly what you can do, where the passing opportunities are, what the tires are going to do. So, we've seen benefits from the Busch deal. It works our guys extremely hard, but they're willing to do that if it's paying off on Sunday."
MICHIGAN IS A FAVORITE TRACK OF YOURS. KNOWING THE ENHANCED IMPORTANCE OF THE LAST FEW RACES BEFORE THE CHASE, AND YOUR POSITION IN THE STANDINGS, DO YOU GAIN A LITTLE EXTRA CONFIDENCE BY RACING AT MIS THIS WEEKEND? "Somewhat, other than we didn't run good there the first race - that's a little uncomfortable. We went there and tested for two days and even though we were trying to get over that edge onto some new technology, we really didn't learn enough there to get us into that window to where we felt comfortable in doing that, so we're back relying a little bit on what we've known in the past - which is probably not a scenario that's going to allow us to win the race, but it may be a scenario that would allow us to be in the top 10 all day and then make a good finish out of it at the end. So, I know what we're looking for there, and certainly Michigan is a good place for us to be going."
WITH SO MANY CHANGES IN THE SPORT, HAS THE RACING AT MIS CHANGED SINCE YOU RECORDED YOUR FIRST VICTORY THERE, OR HAS IT REMAINED PRETTY MUCH THE SAME? "It's pretty similar. It hasn't changed a lot. There's still three or four or five grooves, maybe, that you run on. The only thing that's changed is you're going faster now. But, you still approach it the same."