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 2 of 2 HOW DIFFERENT IS THE CAR AFTER 10...
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 2 of 2
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE CAR AFTER 10 LAPS ON THOSE TIRES AS OPPOSED TO 70 LAPS?
"It would have been like when you came back from Daytona last week and came into North Carolina, where the roads were dry and everything was fine in Georgia and South Carolina, and then when you hit North Carolina it was covered with ice. That's basically the way it was. You just lose traction. It goes pretty good if you've got a good car. Those first 10 laps you feel like you really want to run hard, but you know better. If you've been here for a period of time you know that you can't do that and I knew that my car was the best that it had been at that point, so I had to hold back just a little bit. But I was with some lapped cars and I had to work my way through there. I remember Brad coming on and saying, 'OK, you've got 46 laps on your tires now, you've got 46 to go.' I said, 'Man, this is gonna be tough,' because I had already started to get a little loose off the corners and trying to track somebody down at that point. It's like every 10 laps from that point you lose a little bit more and a little bit more. You find yourself where you really want to get on the throttle and you know that you're off the corner, but as soon as you try to put it to the floor, you break it loose and it turns sideways, so it just continuously gets worse as you go on."
DID YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT FROM A WORKOUT REGIMENT?
"I'm not sure how much that had to do with it other than my age, just knowing I was getting another year old. I sat down with the guy that I train with and I said, 'I need to work a little harder than what we have because I need to be in a little better shape. I need to get better yet,' because it's not gonna get easier. The racing is gonna get tougher and as it gets tougher that takes its toll on you not only mentally, but physically. So in the off-season where I normally work four days a week, I went to working basically six days a week. I'd work three days, take a day off, and then three days so I was basically working six out of seven days. It helped me get into better shape. I came into the season in better shape. It hurt my golf game tremendously because I never played golf. Once I was through working out and doing my business for the day, then it was time to go to a basketball game with one of my kids. But I knew that when we showed up at Daytona I was in the best shape that I've ever been in in my life and I think that's pretty good at 46. So it did make me realize that if I'm gonna compete with these guys, then I've got to be ready in that respect."
DID YOUR TRAINING CHANGE?
"I didn't change my actual training that much, I probably worked a little heavier in the weight side of it than what I had been, so I feel like I'm a little stronger in that respect. The cardio side of it, I went from basically a 30-40 minute workout there to each day it was between 45 minutes and an hour. So I took my workouts and not only stepped them up from basically being an hour-and-a-half long to an hour and 45 minutes, most days it was two hours so I was putting in more time there."
IN '97 YOU LED ALMOST 400 LAPS AND DIDN'T WIN. TODAY, YOU LED JUST AT THE END.
"I learned a valuable lesson that day. As a matter of fact, we had a couple of years in a row that we led the most laps and didn't win the race, we finished second, but I was thinking about that. As a matter of fact, at one point when I cleared some of the lap traffic at the initial part of the restart there, Brad come on and said, 'You're a tenth faster,' and then a couple of times maybe two tenths faster on a lap and I backed off at that point in time. I said, 'I can run this and I can run them down right now, but what am I gonna do when I get there then?' So I did back off and wanted to pace myself. Brad kept me informed of how we were doing and I could obviously see what was going on in front of me. So, yes, I consciously made the effort to make sure that when I did get to him, that I was gonna have enough to be able to get by them - that I wasn't just gonna get to them and that was gonna be all. So it was a lesson learned. I try to pay attention when guys beat me as to why they do that."
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN KURT AS TO WHY HIS MOMENTUM HAS CARRIED OVER FROM LAST YEAR?
"First off, he's got a lot of talent, but that talent is no good if you don't have that surrounding cast. He and Jimmy Fennig and those guys have seemed to really hit it off. They have a good line of communication. There were a number of times that we were parked beside of him last year before he went on his tear and went flying up into the top five, but we watched them closely. They really work hard. I've talked to Jimmy a few times and Kurt has a good feel for the car and knows what he wants. He will drive a car harder than anybody else out here - as hard as anybody that I've ever seen anyway - but he's not out of control doing that. He just has a lot of natural ability and he puts it to good use. I think, along with that, I see something that's a little bit scary for the rest of us in that he's getting smarter too out here, knowing when he can go and when he can't. When his car isn't exactly right, he doesn't try to force the issue, so they've done a really good job. You always wonder and I think all of us wondered if he would continue that coming into this year, but he's done that. I told someone earlier this week about the season and who might be a surprise as far as the championship goes - now it's easy to sit here and say but I honestly said this week - that I don't know if he would be a surprise to other people, but Kurt Busch is a guy that I think everybody is gonna have to contend with. He runs well at every single type of race track. I don't know that he's won at each of those, but he's run in the top two or three at every type of track that we go to."
CAN YOU COMPARE LAST YEAR'S CREW CHIEF SITUATION TO THIS YEAR'S?
"We've made a lot of changes and I think one of the biggest changes, and this is nothing against Robert Yates. He's a wonderful man for those of you that know him. He's a wonderful owner and I wouldn't want to drive for anyone else, but Doug Yates has taken over basically as general manager of our race team. Doug came in and he's been kind of standing back and looking - just taking care of his engine program for a number of years now, but he stepped in and realized that we had to make some gains in a hurry in a number of areas. He wasn't afraid to move people around, bring in new people to put 'em in different positions, and I think he deserves a lot of the credit for these two teams performing the way they the first two weeks. We've worked well together. He brought both race teams back under one roof and that's a tremendous help to us. He sat down with Elliott and Brad and Todd and Robert and Raymond and Shawn and said, 'OK, what do you guys need to make this a winning race team again?' He said, 'We'll get it. If it's people, then we're gonna go get the people we need. If it's different parts, then we're gonna get that too if we need to do things differently there.' So I think he deserves a tremendous amount of credit.
"Then the other side of it is that he got the people in there and let them know right off that they were gonna work closely together. I can't say enough about the way that Brad and our guys have worked with the 38 group so far. They've done a really good job of communicating. At Daytona it was just unbelievable how much talking went back and forth between the two teams to help us get cars that would run there. So I think this is a glimpse of what we're gonna be able to do. Again, the credit goes to all the guys, but, especially, Doug Yates."
WHAT ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSING A RACE HERE?
"Why would we want to leave here? It is close to home. Honestly, in my heart I hope that we don't, not just because I won here today. It is close to home. I didn't come down here until Friday morning, so it gave me an extra night at my house with my wife and kids. It's a great racing facility. You have great races, but, on the other side of it, I understand NASCAR's position. They have to look at the sport as a whole as to what's best for our sport at this day and time. The TV networks - FOX and NBC - have put out a tremendous amount of money to help grow this sport and they have done that. NASCAR is doing that and sitting with them to see what's gonna make this profitable and good for them as well as our sponsors and to move our sport forward. I have mixed feelings there. I understand that another race in California, that may be better. I don't know. It's hard for me to understand that that would be exactly what we would need, but I certainly would hate to see us lose one here."
HOW BIG IS IT TO GET BRAD HIS FIRST CUP WIN?
"It means a lot. To see the effort that Brad has put forth since he came on board, he's really organized this race team and done a good job with his people. He believes in the people that he has working with him and I think that's gonna take a tremendous amount of pressure off of him right now - to know that he's done this. There wasn't any doubt in our minds that he could do it, but to get that out of the way this early, I really enjoy what he brings to this team and the enthusiasm that's there. He really has a great, positive attitude and you can see that carry over. I try to bring that to the race team too, but he even gets me enthused. I love doing what I do and to have somebody like him cheering me on means a lot. This is very important for us and for Brad."
ON HIS WORKOUT ROUTINE.
"They threw me in the river at Daytona. The put an open mike on me and I was running and said, 'Man, I'm fat.' I don't have time to work out. My work out is making these race cars as fast as we can get 'em in the Robert Yates Racing stable. The teamwork is there. The people that are working together are looking for the same thing now. Last year at Robert Yates Racing we were out of two different shops and we didn't share the information like we're sharing now. As you saw with Roush Racing last year, yes I was there last year, and I brought some of that teamwork there. You've got to communicate with your teammates because if Raymond and Elliott wouldn't have come down and tested three weeks ago, we would have had no information to go off of today. It's the teamwork that's gonna lead us to a lot of wins this year."