Talladega II: Winning team interview, part 1

YOU MUST BE ECSTATIC. DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus "Yeah, to say the least. I'm exhausted, but very emotional. As I came down the straightaway it was just an incredible feeling. I've been very fortunate in my career to win a lot of ...

YOU MUST BE ECSTATIC.

DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus

"Yeah, to say the least. I'm exhausted, but very emotional. As I came down the straightaway it was just an incredible feeling. I've been very fortunate in my career to win a lot of important races and big races that we have, a lot of them with this guys beside me (Todd Parrott) and to win a championship, but at this point in time in my career I'm not sure there's anything that was more important than getting that push down the backstretch from Matt Kenseth and taking the checkered flag here. Truly, it's quite an exciting day. I knew we had a good car and I just wanted to try to find myself in a position that we might could do something at the end. I kind of had a plan with Tony there to go with him on the green-white-checker and that worked for a while and I did help him by the 12 car there as we got the white flag, but he dove to the inside of the 17 and I couldn't make that move. I was on the outside and the 99 was pushing me and I got in front of the 17 and then he pushed me by the 20. It's just incredible. A lot of the credit goes to Todd. This car was being built before Todd became the crew chief with our team, but it was being built to the specifications that he built Elliott's car here the first race, so it was a copy of that. So he had a lot to do with that and made a lot of great calls in the pits as far as when to get two and four tires and to get me in the right position at the end."

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM?

TODD PARROTT: "It means a lot. To go through things that we did this year - neither one of our teams to make the chase. We all know how important that is and what it means to Robert Yates Racing and just racing in general, and to kind of be the darkhorse so to speak all day long - everybody talking about the top 10 cars in the chase - and the old faithful one here just kind of hanging around where he needed to hang around to be around at the end and then to make the move that he did is pretty special. Just to come over here. I told Robert before Dover. I went out on a limb and I promised him that I would get this 88 UPS car back in Victory Lane before the end of the year. I just didn't know it was gonna happen this quick. Me and this guy have worked a lot of magic together and we're not done."

COULD YOU HAVE WON BEFORE THE NEXT-TO-LAST AUTION CAME OUT AND HAVE YOU CCALLED YOUR DAD?

DALE JARRETT: "I haven't talked to my dad. Are you talking about as we were in turn three and the caution came out? The one that set up the green-white-checkered. I have no idea what was gonna happen at that point. I was sitting there thinking, "Good gosh this is gonna be wild,' but we caught up. I was back a ways and we did a great job of staying in line and then once we made a pack of about 10 or 11 cars there, then things started shuffling. I had a chance even at that point because I was in a pretty good position, but to say that I would have been able to, I don't know. I couldn't have told you I was gonna win when I went into turn three right before the caution came out at the very end hardly. But the opportunity was still there. We had put ourselves in a position even without that caution to set up the green-white-checkered."

WHERE DID YOU COME FROM AND HOW DID YOU GO FROM 18TH TO THE LEAD IN 30 LAPS?

"As far as where I came from, even coming off of turn four to get the white flag I don't know that I felt like that I was in a position to win. I felt like I was still in position to get a good finish, but I got a push, once again, from the 99 car I think it was. When he pushed me, I was able to give Tony the push that we needed. Then as we came through the tri-oval, Tony went to the outside and I pushed him by the 12. When Tony went from the top of the race track literally to the bottom I said, 'There's no reason me trying to make that.' First of all, the 12 was there and I wasn't close enough to do that. It was like when the 17 and the 20 got side-by-side, they were fighting each other and that helped my cause - not to mention I had the 99 with me up top and had a lot of momemtum. That was the key.

"Once I got by him, or once the 99 pushed me by the 17, the 17 started to make a run to the outside but I blocked him a little there and he really didn't have enough of a push. He had enough of a push to hit me and push me by the 20, so I knew once I got that push that I was gonna be able to get down in front of the 20, but as soon as I got to that point they hollered, 'caution' and I knew that I had the race won. Coming from 18th, things were just getting shuffled around. I found that it was a lot easier to make a run from kind of the end of where a line of cars were than what it was to either be in the middle of them or either towards the front because you get jammed up at the front and then if you were in the middle, you were waiting to see what was gonna happen there and the guys behind you would pass you. So I started making a move from the back to where I could use the middle of the race track. My car drove just great all day, so that's kind of how we did it. A lot of it is luck and making the right decisions at times, but you have to have a very good car to do the things I was able to do."

YOU DROPPED BACK AT THE START, WAS THAT STRATEGIC AND DID IT HELP YOU AVOID THE EARLY CRASH?

"I dropped back simply because I got in the wrong line. Without taking a real chance at that point in time of the race and trying to squeeze somebody out of the gas to try to get to the middle lane, and my car was loose in the middle lane. That was the one thing I found out early. I was OK on the bottom of the race track and I was OK on the very top of the track, but in the middle of the three-wide deal I was pretty loose. That time of the race doesn't pay anything, so I just found myself in a position that I was comfortable running in. I've told you all a lot of times that you continue to run into each other in these races they're gonna wreck. There's no doubt a wreck is gonna happen, so that did help me avoid especially the first one. That was probably the closest that I came, although a couple of others were pretty close too. Even at those times, once we made some adjustments on the car and we got those right, we went up a little too far one time, and then we came back with the adjustments. I went up a couple of times in the middle to see how my car was gonna do and exactly where my car was better than others, where I could make passes and clear people. Once I found that out I wasn't in any hurry to go anywhere. There was no reason to go anywhere until you get to the end of this race and then you find yourself in the right position."

ANY DOUBT YOU WERE AHEAD AT THE POINT WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT?

"No, I was clearly in the lead at that point in time. I was getting ready, when they hollered caution, to pull down in front of Tony just to make sure. I had Tony cleared at that time and I was just gonna get in front of him. I hated to leave Matt hanging out, but that's at a point in time that you've just got to get yourself in a position. I felt like Tony was the car that I needed to block and I was clearly in front of him. As a matter of fact, as I said, I was getting ready to pull down in front of him just to make sure that I got the push from him that I needed to get back. No, that's just the way things work out. Regardless of whether that caution comes out or not I was gonna win the race."

WHY IS THIS ONE SO SPECIAL?

"I'm not sure that I treated the one at Rockingham special enough. We were so used to winning in those days that I didn't see any reason that we wouldn't continue on winning races - at least a couple a year. That was what we were used to doing. Our program got to the point that we weren't in a position to do that much, so that's what makes this so special and this one will be treated a lot more special. I think that we do have more victories to go. I think in the next two years to come that we can visit Victory Lane a number of times, but in case that doesn't happen, we're gonna make sure that we enjoy this one. All of these have been very special. I can go back and talk about each and every one of them about something that made each one of them special, but today came at a very good time for a lot of us - for Todd and myself, and for Robert and Doug, and especially for everyone at UPS."

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing