MOORESVILLE, N.C., (September 27, 2005) ----- The fourth and final restrictor-plate event of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season takes place this weekend with the running of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Dale Jarrett and the...
MOORESVILLE, N.C., (September 27, 2005) ----- The fourth and final restrictor-plate event of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season takes place this weekend with the running of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Dale Jarrett and the UPS Racing Team finished ninth at Talladega when the series last visited the 2.66-mile superspeedway in April. As a former winner at Talladega, Jarrett knows that patience is the all-important factor to success at the superspeedway races where the cars race within inches of each other throughout the duration of the event.
"Obviously you need a good handling race car but more important than that at Talladega is patience," Jarrett said. "I know that I get criticized a lot for dropping to the back of the field during these races but that's always for a few reasons, including the patience factor. The other thing is that if you're going to have a chance to win one of these plate races is that you have to be around for the end of the race, and you can't do that if you have a wrecked race car. These guys are going to wreck. You just have to make sure you're not around it when they do and that requires a lot of patience, as well as a good dose of luck."
In 37 starts at Talladega, Jarrett has one win, nine top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Five of his nine top-five finishes at Talladega have been second-place efforts while three other have been third-place finishes. Jarrett finished third in the 2004 EA Sports 500, after qualifying third for this event one year ago.
Jarrett Discusses Racing at Talladega Superspeedway
Are you encouraged with the team's restrictor-plate program after Daytona in July?
"Yeah, I think we definitely made some improvements with that part of our program from where we were in February. Obviously, we had a fast car to win the pole, but the car just wouldn't go in traffic. We made some changes on the car before we went to Talladega and that seemed to help and we continued to work on it and the car definitely handled a lot better in July at Daytona. A fast car like we had for the 500 is only good if you can stay out front, and that's not something we've seen any of the Ford teams able to do at a restrictor-plate track in a while. So, we've worked some more on our program. We took some of the things we learned in July and used that information to build this new car we're racing this weekend. The problem that we've had is that we have a hard time getting out front and staying there. So, we feel like the changes we made with this new car may help us some, and while we probably won't win the pole, we feel like we have a car that will be very competitive in the race and that's what counts."
Do you think this trip will be the one where we'll see a Ford back in victory lane at Talladega?
"It's kind of hard to think that when it has been seven years since a Ford won here. Fords haven't led a lot of laps at Talladega or Daytona, but we've led even less here. For whatever reason, the Fords just have issues with the aerodynamics at Talladega and it seems we just don't have what it takes to get out front and lead laps here. We have great race cars that Ford provides us, but for some reason the other manufacturers are a little bit better than we are at this place. Having said that, however, there are things that come into play with strategy and things team's can try to position themselves at the front of the field. I think Greg Biffle won at Daytona in 2003 by using fuel mileage strategy. So we know going in that for whatever reason, we're at a little bit of a disadvantage, so you position yourself to try and lead when it counts and that's on the last lap."
Notes of Interest
* Jarrett has one career win at Talladega Superspeedway. He picked up that win at Talladega in October during the 1998 season.
* Jarrett's one win at Talladega, also marks the last time a Ford has won at Talladega.
* Jarrett has led at least one lap in competition at Talladega during 18 different races. He has led a total of 211 laps at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Chassis 10 is the car the UPS Team plans to race at Talladega this weekend. Chassis 10 is a brand new car for the UPS Team, making this weekend's race at Talladega its debut.