Capturing his second Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and extending his NASCAR Winston Cup points lead to 274 points over Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett goes into this weekend's Frontier At The Glen at Watkins Glen International with a...
Capturing his second Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and extending his NASCAR Winston Cup points lead to 274 points over Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett goes into this weekend's Frontier At The Glen at Watkins Glen International with a bit of relief. He and the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit team redeemed on Saturday what they left at Indianapolis last year, when a fuel miscalculation left Jarrett and team out of fuel and devastated. The win was Jarrett's fourth of the season and 22nd of his career. He has led for a total of 565 laps and has collected 18 top-10 finishes, including 16 top-fives in 20 races this season. Jarrett has two top-five finishes at The Glen (finished fifth in '98), where the team tested two weeks ago. The following are his thoughts on this historic road course and on the changes that have been made since last year:
Thoughts on going back to the Glen: "I enjoy racing at Watkins Glen. Of the two road courses we race at, Watkins Glen is definitely my preference. Whereas Sears Point is somewhat of a less forgiving track, at the Glen you can be a bit more aggressive and not get yourself in a bind. And the track is very rich with history, in not only NASCAR Winston Cup racing but all of the other forms that have raced there. I guess my only concern is with the concrete surface. Instead of one surface, we have two to deal with. And that presents a challenge and will take some time getting use to. The biggest concern with this is trying to make passes in the corners where we used to be able to gain positions. It will be interesting to see how much side-by-side racing actually takes place. "I think that each year we go to Watkins Glen, I've been able to learn more about what it takes to run well there. This team wants to win a championship and in order to fulfill that goal, we not only have to be competitive on the ovals but the road courses, as well. One of the most important things to learn on a road course is where the gains outweigh the risks. By that I mean, you've got to know where you can pass and make-up time without hurting yourself position-wise or running off course."
First race at the Glen: "My first race was in a Winston cup car in 1987. The race was rained out on Sunday and we had to come back on Monday to race. I enjoyed the race because of all the challenges that were presented to me. Unfortunately, I didn't get to complete the entire race due to transmission problems, forcing me out of the race early."
Special preparations for this race: "Testing was definitely beneficial to us and helped get us ahead, somewhat. Some of the guys that haven't been there since they made the changes may be surprised in how they might affect the set-up on their cars and how they drive. I know we certainly learned some things that will help us before qualifying and for the race. The car that we're planning on taking there for the race is the oldest one at Robert Yates Racing. It's car number 7. To give you an idea on how old the car is, right now we are up to car 66. It has been completely redone. We know it's a good car and I'm looking forward to getting it back out there."
Road course racing - a necessary evil? "You have to look at it from the standpoint that it's two races a season that we have to do. Those two races pay the same amount of points as a short track and a superspeedway race. You just have to go into it well-prepared. If you're not prepared, then more than likely you're not going to run well, and that in turn will force you to lose track positions and points."