Robert Yates Racing Ford driver Dale Jarrett won his 31st career Winston Cup race today at Rockingham. The following is the press conference with Jarrett and the winning Crew Chief, Brad Parrott. Part 1 of 2 DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS ...
Robert Yates Racing Ford driver Dale Jarrett won his 31st career Winston Cup race today at Rockingham. The following is the press conference with Jarrett and the winning Crew Chief, Brad Parrott.
Part 1 of 2
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
WHAT ABOUT YOUR DRIVE TODAY, ESPECIALLY THE BATTLE WITH KURT AT THE END?
"We had to adjust on our car all day. Brad did a great job of that deciding whether it was wedge that we'd put in it or just air pressures. We've got thank our teammates. They came down here and tested about three weeks ago, especially with no practice at all yesterday, I don't know where either one of us had been if they hadn't come here and shared the information and things that they'd learned. We started out extremely loose. We adjusted on it and were still loose at the end of the race, but it was obviously a much faster loose than what we had been earlier and we got it right at the right time. Towards the end there, I knew I was gonna be out of tires. I wanted to get as close to the 97 as I could in case we got in lap traffic or his car gave up a little bit that I could take advantage of that. It gave me time to see where his car was the best and where I might be a little bit better. I could see he needed to run up against the wall in three and four and everytime he tried to get anywhere under that, he really got loose. So I was able to catch him behind, I believe the 24 car, and there were a number of cars there. I was able to slip underneath because my car was really the best about a lane down up in three and four. I could really get a good bite off even then with the tires worn and I got by him. Then we got tied up in some more lap traffic and I honestly didn't even know that Kurt was one of the guys that was going by me in turn two. I was so loose over there that I was just trying to hold it straight. I had guys that had fresh tires on going by me and I had Jeff Burton on the outside and I wasn't sure I was clear of him and Kurt got by me. I honestly wasn't sure I'd be able to get back by him, but, once again, in turn three I was able to take advantage of where my car was really good. Once I got in front, then I knew I could hang on. But it was quite a day. There was a lot of fun, fun racing and it was typical Rockingham. You've got to manage your tires and you've got to have a good chassis setup and you've got to have somebody in the pits that knows what they're doing."
BRAD PARROTT , Crew Chief - No. 88 UPS Taurus
"I have the best driver in the business and once you put a team together like Doug and Robert (Yates) and Todd Parrott have put together and let a rookie crew chief come in and take the reigns, I'm not nervous at all. I'm very confident in my ability of reading air pressures and giving Dale what he needs. That's what we did today as a team. Dale drove his heart out and the pit crew was awesome. The fab shop built a beautiful race car for us to run here and the motor was flawless. It goes back to the balance of our race team and we found that today."
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT GETTING BOXED IN BY THE ROUSH CARS LATE?
"I really didn't concern myself with that. If they did something, there was nothing I could do about that. I knew, especially the 99, he was on the same tires I was and, obviously, we had come around to lap him there. So he couldn't have been running as good as what we were. I think maybe the 16, I don't know if he got tires or if we lapped him, I don't know. There were just a lot of cars. Those guys are professionals. As much as they want their teammate to win, they're gonna let their drivers go at it and do it the best way that they can, so I really wasn't concerned. I was just more concerned about whether I could get by a competitor like Kurt Busch and then when I did, could I hold him off. I knew he really wanted to win. You go back to the end of last year and the start of this year, that young man is the hottest driver out here. That's what makes this win even more special is to know that we really beat the hottest guy in NASCAR right now."
HOW MUCH HAS YOUR PREVIOUS WORK WITH THIS TEAM HELPED YOU?
"It helps me a ton. I know what this race team is all about. I was with them from 1996. I went off on my own, but I stayed in tough with a lot of people on the race team to find out where their direction was and everything. I haven't changed anything. This race team is the same race team from last year, it's just that the communication I've brought with the team and letting the guys do their job, letting Dale Jarrett understand where I feel like we can make the car better as a team. Let me reinforce that this win really belongs to Raymond Fox and Shawn Parker and Elliott Sadler because they came and handed me the book. This morning I came in and I said, 'I think this setup is gonna be tight. Can I change something?' I said, 'Nope.' I told Dale when he sat in the car at the National Anthem, 'It's their setup. We'll work on it. We'll do what we can with it and we'll adjust on it all day long.' As I said during the race, 'We're gonna adjust on it until Dale drives the big brown truck. He's not gonna drive the big brown truck, so we're gonna keep adjusting on it.'"
WHAT ABOUT THE RACING DOWN THE END?
"It was fun. It might not have been the fans' two favorite drivers racing for the victory, but they had to enjoy the racing and that's what they came here to see. Obviously, they come here to see their favorite driver win, but they come to see good racing and side-by-side racing and we gave them some of that. It's just guys wanting to go win. Aero-wise, I don't think that we've seen enough yet. This is not what you would really call an aero track. This is handling and about keeping the tires on it. Next week at Las Vegas we'll see a little bit more about aero and then the next week at Atlanta we'll see more. So we'll see where everybody stacks up. As far as the Chevrolets, we know they have a very good car. Adjusting their car to the balance that they have now may take them a race or two. I would say they'll be better next week and then the following week at Atlanta they'll be even better, so they'll get those figured out. Bobby Labonte had a great car, he just had a few problems, so it's gonna be interesting. I would say that right now it may look that what NASCAR has done with the templates, making these cars as close as they possibly can, may in fact lend itself to some really good racing."
WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVER AT THIS TRACK?
"I think that's what's great. It takes a team effort. Obviously, the pit crew had to do their job. We figured out that we probably didn't pick the best pit that we could have picked today and we saw that early on, but we made the most of it as the race went on. So they did their job to step things up and help me to get good track position. But from a driver's standpoint, you've got to love coming to a place like this. I've heard before that Rockingham needs to be paved, we don't want that to happen I'll assure you. We don't want a one-groove race track when we can race all around here. Yeah, it's hard to get a hold of and it's difficult to race on at times, but it does lend itself most of the time to some really good races and the driver really has to do his part here and I think that's where you get such satisfaction as a driver whenever you do well here."
DOES BEATING A YOUNG DRIVER GIVE YOU MORE SATISFACTION?
"Yeah, I think it does. Those guys are very talented and all the press that they're getting is well deserved because they do a great job, but, yeah, this is one for the older generation here. I think it shows that we're still ready to battle. Michael won last week. He's kind of in that middle ground. He's not the young spring chicken and he's not up to the older guys yet, so we're giving 'em a race. I think that we can. As I said, I'm 46 years old, but I don't think my age has a thing to do with my performance on the race track. I can hang with them at any track that we go to, but they're tough competitors. So this strikes one for the older guys I would say, the veterans, let's put it that way."
HOW MUCH WAS EXPERIENCE A KEY IN THE FINAL PASS?
"I think that played a little bit into it because I'd seen that happen here before. As a matter of fact, I'd been a part of it. I think I got passed by Jeff Gordon late in a race a number of years ago. Getting behind because that's where my car was working the best and he slipped underneath me and went on. I saw Jeff pass Rusty Wallace like that, so I kind of knew and I was hoping we could get ourselves in that position. I knew just passing him one-on-one was gonna be difficult, but then the other side of it was knowing after he passed me back I knew I had a few more laps. I wasn't exactly sure how many laps I had to go, but I knew if I could get myself right back to his bumper that because my car had better forward bite at that time I might be able to get by. When you've been around for a while, you realize that you can use every last second. All I had to do was be leading when we came off of turn four to the finish line."
DID YOU HIT HIM IN THE BUMPER?
"I couldn't tell you. I might have. I was trying to get him as loose as I could right there and still be able to drive by him. I wasn't trying to spin him out or anything, but knowing he was loose, if I could get underneath that rear bumper just a little bit I knew I could make him even looser without ever touching him."