Michigan: Jarrett race press conference

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 3rd) "It's been a while. I didn't even know if you still had these sessions or not (laughing), but it's nice to be back. I can't honestly say that when I was sitting in my car before the race that I...

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 3rd)

"It's been a while. I didn't even know if you still had these sessions or not (laughing), but it's nice to be back. I can't honestly say that when I was sitting in my car before the race that I had a car that was capable of leading some laps and possibly having a chance to win. I thought we were OK yesterday in practice. We didn't seem to have the speed on fresh tires, but our car didn't fall off a lot and we saw a lot of that today. That seemed to work to our advantage. I really wanted to see the latter stages of this race go caution free. I think that would have worked to my advantage a little bit more, but we made a choice there. We adjusted on the car all day. We started out a little tight and then we got it really good. Then it got to be a little loose so we adjusted back and we got it maybe just a little bit tight and then at the end it got to be just a tick loose, but that was just simply from basically driving the tires right off of it. It was a really good day. We had good pit stops. That's something we've been struggling at, too. We had a new tire changer on the rear today and he did a really good job. Mike does a good job of calling the races and for those of you that haven't heard or know, this is the in-house chassis that we raced last week. I think Mike and I both agree that this chassis does some things that we've been looking to do. It drives better and gives me a better feel of the car to where I can relay information back to him. It was great to have a chance to win at the end.

"Ryan did a great job and then the 9 car, I don't know where he came from, but he was fast. I knew when he got that lap back that he might become a factor. I'm somewhere along the way I have or will benefit from that lucky dog or whatever you call that stupid rule, but I just don't agree with giving people laps back. I think the 12 car got his back, so both of the guys that beat me were a lap down at one time. I don't know what that says."

WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?

"It means a lot to us. The last two weeks have been really good. We started off the season having some decent runs, but that's what they were - decent. The last two weeks have been a lot more competitive and I think it gives us a lot of hope for the rest of this season to be competitive and that's what we need to be. It's not a matter of thinking about getting in the top 10 or anything like that as far as the points. If you run good, that all takes care of itself. It's a matter that we as a team are re-building and working our way back, so these type of days help a lot."

DO YOU SEE SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

"Yeah, I mean it definitely helps. I think it's been, as I said, we started out running OK and we thought we could build on that, but the last two weeks - as a matter of fact we've had some good tests over the last month I'd say and that's helped us a lot. I think we have a true direction that we're going in now and that gives me a lot of hope. This is good for our race team and it's good for me to show that if I have a race car capable of doing it that I can do it. I'm sure everybody had those questions when we were running bad, so I think this shows that I can still get the job done."

THE TYPE OF TRACKS COMING UP LIKE POCONO, INDY AND CHICAGO AND KANSAS CITY - THESE ARE THE KIND OF TRACKS TO HAVE A LOT OF HORSEPOWER AND GOOD SETUPS.

"Yeah, and tracks that I enjoy and tracks that I've won at. That does make a difference. As I was explaining to somebody a little earlier - you go to a place like Pocono and here, where I've been fortunate to have some success, you know what your car needs to feel like. That gives me a better idea of what I'm really looking for when I can find that. When you've had that success it's good to go to these type of race tracks. I think the new cylinder head - I don't know about horsepower - I'm sure it's some more, but the biggest thing is it allows us to turn the rpm's to race with these other guys. That's where we've been getting killed, so it allows us to run in that direction. The tracks that are coming up - obviously the next two weeks are a road course and a restrictor plate, so we'll hold our own the best that we can at those. Then we have Chicago and Loudon after that, which is a track we've had success at too, so we've got a lot of good tracks coming up that I'm really looking forward to. It couldn't have come at a better time for us."

THE CALL TO GAS-AND-GO WAS A KEY POINT.

"Yeah, we came in and got fuel. We had only been out there four or five laps on tires and just in what we saw yesterday our car worked pretty good if we only had that many laps on the tires - that we were OK. We felt like we needed a little track position at that time and that got us up front and allowed us to stay there the rest of the day. I think that's part of the decision at the end, too, to stay out there. We felt like maybe we could make this happen, if we could get away, that it might just be a two-car race and it might give me the chance that I needed to beat Ryan. Kasey and the other guys were coming strong. Who knows what would have happened if we would have got tires. We had a good car, but we weren't the very best on new tires, so we thought this was our best opportunity. Again, I just got too loose. I ran really hard, I guess during that stretch when there was a little less than 20 to go, and I caught back up to Ryan because it looked like at that time that if it went green from there that we had pulled away from everybody else. I thought if I could get there and put some pressure on him that it looked like his car might start to go away a little bit after we ran for awhile. So I probably ran it a little bit hard at that time to be able to have anything left at the end."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup