This Week in Ford Racing April 19, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Much of the attention this season has been centered on Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, operations that have won six of the first seven races in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL...
This Week in Ford Racing
April 19, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Much of the attention this season has been centered on Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, operations that have won six of the first seven races in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. However, the Robert Yates Racing duo of Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, and Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, have quietly positioned themselves in the top 10 of the point standings.
Sadler enters this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway in eighth place while Jarrett holds down the 10th position.
Ford Racing car owner Robert Yates, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday (along with Jack Roush, who shares the same birthday), spoke about the start both of his teams have had to the season.
ROBERT YATES, Car Owner - No. 38 and 88 Ford Tauruses
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING BOTH TEAMS IN THE TOP 10 RIGHT NOW? "I think we've been lucky because we haven't really raced that well. We don't feel like we're as good as we're capable of being. We're capable of being better and it's not that anyone is dropping the ball, I think we've painted ourselves in less than the best equipment. So we've got three major targets that we're going after and hopefully that will bring us back to where we race in the top 10 instead of luck our way into it."
WHAT ARE THOSE MAJOR TARGETS? "Understanding the tires is major. Understanding the aero and correcting that is major. And understanding altitude. We know that we look way different than more successful cars out there, but I'm very confident that we're going to improve. I think maybe we put too much of an emphasis on some of the wrong stuff. I shouldn't be complaining. I should be happy. The 38 hadn't had an engine failure in a couple of years so that was depressing. We ended up getting the thing too hot and a belt broke on it, so we're back on that subject hard. When you raise and elevate the temperatures, we've got to make our stuff tough for it. That hurt us, but we didn't really race that good. We're not racing good, but we feel like we're understanding all three items now. The question is, 'When will we be able to get it?' I think everybody in the grandstand will be the first to know. Hopefully, it won't be too long but we've got to go."
YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHERE YOU'RE AT IN THE STANDINGS WITH THE FEELING THAT YOU'RE GOING TO IMPROVE AS THE YEAR GOES ON, RIGHT? "Yeah. We have improved our short-track program quite a bit, which was lousy last year. It still has a ways to come, but that's a plus for us and we've got to get our big stuff back where we had it last year in the middle of the season. We're not there. We didn't win Texas and we had a lot of traffic in front of us, so we've got to go."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
IN A SEASON WHERE ROUSH AND HENDRICK HAVE GOTTEN MOST OF THE PUBLICITY, YOU AND ELLIOTT ARE QUIETLY HOLDING SPOTS IN THE TOP 10. "We haven't had our best efforts yet, so we feel good about where we are right now. We'll go to work this week and see if we can make some gains. We've got a test scheduled at Kentucky and hopefully we can get some aero stuff figured out. Then we'll go to Phoenix and see if we can get this car consistently finishing in the top 10."
WILL PHOENIX HELP IN THE SENSE THAT AERO MAY NOT BE AS MUCH A FACTOR? "Hopefully that will be the case so we can get the chassis dialed in and have a good run there."
* Over half of Ford's NNC full-time fleet is currently in the top 10 of the point standings - Greg Biffle (2nd), Kurt Busch (4th), Mark Martin (7th), Elliott Sadler (8th) and Dale Jarrett (10th).
* Ford has won 11 of the 17 NNC races held at PIR.
* Mark Martin has the most top 5's (8) and most top 10's (13) in PIR Cup history.
* Jack Roush leads all car owners with four PIR Cup wins while Robert Yates is second with three.