Talladega II: Jarrett post-qualifying interview

DALE JARRETT -88-UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) "It is still Saturday? I'm not sure. There are college football games that started and finished since we started this qualifying. From a driver's standpoint, I know you're looking for something...

DALE JARRETT -88-UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)

"It is still Saturday? I'm not sure. There are college football games that started and finished since we started this qualifying. From a driver's standpoint, I know you're looking for something to write, but it's just about the race car and the engine today. I have a really good race car, and Doug Yates and his people do a terrific adjusting, and I'm sure they were prepared for something like what happened today going to the smaller plates. It didn't really affect us. The track is so smooth. We always, I think, kinda lost sight of maybe how fast we are going here. We talk about not running fast, but yesterday when I saw the speeds, you just had no idea that you were going that quick. As a matter of fact, because it's so smooth, you kinda have a false sense of security there. Tomorrow will be interesting. But, the lap was very easy. My car kind of drove itself, and I had to get it into high gear and I managed to do that. Again, our guys do a terrific job with this type of program and that makes it for a fun weekend, I hope."

"I think that programs like Hendrick Motorsports and Gibbs, and ours with Doug Yates, they were probably prepared for something like this. But, we did use yesterday on the race track, I think, tuning with our gear selection. When you make a change you're not exactly sure how much that's going to make a difference. I know I made a couple of changes yesterday, and the gear we selected was on that plate, so we'll just have to see. Hopefully it continues to work. I don't think we saw that big of a difference. My speed yesterday in a mock-qualifying run was a 49.85 or .86 and I ran at 50-flat today, so it really didn't seem to make a big change. When we get out there tomorrow, I think you're still going to see speeds well up in the 190 mph range."

"They'll probably actually know than me. I don't get a lot of information on that front or any other from them. We are trying to make the most of it and certainly my wish is that they find the sponsorship and get the driver and then I leave this team in good standing, so that when 2007 comes around that they're ready to go and that we're a better team than what we started this year, and pretty much of this year, and I think we're on that track. I think it's very important that right now we show, and we have over the last few weeks, some improvement and a good race here tomorrow could go a long way. Hopefully we can make that happen and the sponsors that they're talking with would realize that this is a race team that they need to be with and one that needs to be out here. It means a lot to a lot of people. Robert and Doug Yates have put a lot into this sport over the years and they need to be a big part of it. They don't need to be considering going back to one. They need to be looking in the other direction and I know that's been the hope for a couple of years here that we can expand to three or four teams. It is a difficult time there, but we're having to race hard and try to do all of that at the same time. It would mean a lot to me to have a good day tomorrow and a few good races to finish here and that they land something solid and be ready to roll in '07."

"I would say that if anybody knew that it was certainly just in the NASCAR group. I don't know that anyone found out anything sooner than that as far as competitors go. When I went back in between practice sessions yesterday, I had no idea even what kind of speeds we were running or anything. I got back in, and I guess I caught just the very end of the first practice session and I saw 198 mph, and I told my motorhome driver right then, 'We'll not be running these restrictor plates tomorrow. They will not let that happen.' But, that was just purely speculation on my part, but a little of it goes back to history here, too. You have to understand, as smooth as this place is, yeah, we could all go out there and run a lot faster and be fine. Actually, I think it would make for better racing on our part if we could run a little bit faster. I've been saying that for a few years. We could maybe get separated a little bit more if we ran a little bit faster because handling may come into play even though we have such a smooth track. The one thing that we can't have, is ever how many hundred-and-some thousand people that are going to be here tomorrow, they need to be here to enjoy and watch the race and no be worried about us joining them in the stands, so that's what all of this is about. And, we all have to understand that. As much as we want to go fast and get away from a little bit, it's what we have to do for safety."

"It's obviously very big for Robert Yates and the organization. We haven't had a lot of good things to go off of recently. We could probably go 18 months, or at least a year since we won here last year. This is pretty big. David will be in here and I assume talking about being a rookie and starting on the pole. He has a lot of talent and he'll get a quick learning experience tomorrow when all of this racing starts. It's a good shot in the arm for everyone at Yates Racing, and that's exactly what's needed right now for some good things to happen. We historically have qualified well here, and a lot of Fords are up there, I know, but as soon as we take some of the tape off and get ready to go racing, we might not be the better balanced cars whenever it gets down to that time, so you have to pick and choose your times with these Fords to make sure you get yourself in the right position. It was something desperately needed in our camp."

"He's (Gilliland) got a lot of talent. It wasn't like Doug or Robert went out and grabbed the first person that they could find. They were keeping their eye on a lot of people out there and I think he showed that he can be fast at some race track already, and that's something that I'm not sure you can teach. You get that with a lot of these young guys that they can go fast. Then, it's just a matter of learning how to run 400- and 500-mile races. I can talk to him, Doug can talk to him and Robert and Todd Parrott can and give him all the advice and tell him what to expect, but I'm sure J.J. and Jimmie will tell you, that until you go out there and experience it for yourself, you can't comprehend exactly what's going to happen over those three-and-a-half hours. This is good that he gets this opportunity to race here and toward the end of this season, and he'll get some valuable experience and that will be very helpful for him. He is a very good talent and we'll continue to hear a lot about and watch him race his way toward the front the next couple of years."

"I can win this race tomorrow. There's no doubt. I have an even better car than I had last year. We did some thing different coming back here. Obviously, a lot of people did because of the surface and I like the way that my car is performing. I have a really good engine in the car, and we did things yesterday in practice that I really liked. I do have that opportunity. It will just be a matter of getting myself in that right position. Obviously, experience and knowing how to do that over the years will hopefully help me do that tomorrow."

-credit: ford interview

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robert Yates
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Yates Racing