Rockingham: Dale Jarrett preview

Dale Jarrett No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway UPS Team Ready to Rock in Subway 400 CHARLOTTE (February 17, 2004) --- Dale Jarrett is the defending winner of the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway in...

Dale Jarrett
No. 88 UPS Ford Taurus
Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway

UPS Team Ready to Rock in Subway 400

CHARLOTTE (February 17, 2004) --- Dale Jarrett is the defending winner of the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C. This will be the first and only race at the one-mile track for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The one-mile "Rock" has been a track where the #88 team has experienced considerable success.

"Rockingham has been a good track for this No. 88 team," Jarrett said. "We only have two wins here but we have a lot of runner-up finishes and top fives."

Jarrett and the UPS team head into this weekend's Subway 400 with a top-10 finish in Sunday's Daytona 500 in addition to their win in the Budweiser Shootout the week before. The team hopes to add to the total in the top-10 finish column this weekend.

"It was a pretty good week for this UPS team," Jarrett said. "We came here with a lot of new people and totally reorganized. I think the guys did an excellent job of getting us prepared. We came away with one victory in the Shootout and a top 10 in the 500. Elliott (Sadler, teammate) had a victory in the 125 and a top 10, so, all in all, it was a pretty good week for Robert Yates Racing."

Dale Jarrett discusses NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing at Rockingham

Obviously the win at Rockingham was the highlight of 2003 for the UPS Team, how does it feel to go back to an event in which you're the defending race winner?

"That obviously was the highlight for us in 2003. It was the shining moment in a difficult season. That was a race that kind of mirrored the rest of that season. We fought and fought all day because we had no practice the day before because of rain and it wasn't like we had the dominant car throughout the race. We worked on the car during the race and finally got it at the end of the race where we could compete. It was a fun day and an exciting race. Those are the type of races you remember."

After spending two weeks of restrictor-plate racing at Daytona is it refreshing to get back to a track like Rockingham where the race is in the hands of the driver a little more?

"Yes, it really is because you know that your efforts are going to be rewarded and that doesn't always happen at Daytona because so many different things can happen that are out of the driver's control that can keep you from having a chance at winning. That isn't always necessarily the case at Rockingham where it is all about getting your car handling and being able to take care of the tires to where you have something to compete with at the end of the race."

What makes Rockingham such a tough track to handle?

"Rockingham is a driver track. It has a lot of different elements in it that you have to learn to cope with and deal with. The surface is real worn which makes it hard on tires. Tire wear doesn't last long here and that will be even more extreme for some teams with the new soft tire, but that's what I like because it puts the race in the drivers' hands and the crews' hands. It's up to the driver and crew to make a good-handling racecar, which is the challenge for us. This is an abrasive race track which is due in part to age but it's also because we're in the sand hills of North Carolina and that obviously changes the track surface."

Notes of Interest

* Jarrett has two wins at the North Carolina Speedway including the 2003 Subway 400. Jarrett's picked up his first Rockingham win at the track's 2000 Pop Secret 400 on November.

* Prior to his first win at Rockingham, Jarrett was the runner-up in several races. He finished second in each of the track's four races between 1996 and 1997. Jarrett's overall total of second-place finishes at the North Carolina Speedway is six.

* Jarrett and crew chief Mike Ford swept Rockingham's cup races in 2003 with Jarrett picking up the win in February, and Ford scoring the win in November with driver Bill Elliott.

* Aside from an engine failure at Rockingham in February 2002, Jarrett has never finished outside the top 10 during Rockingham's spring race since joining Robert Yates Racing in 1995.

-ryr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett , Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing