BUSCH: Third Generation Drivers Debut at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 21, 1998) A pair of Dales' sons will make their Talladega Superspeedway debut in the Touchstone Energy 300. Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose father Dale has seven victories at the track, and Jason Jarrett, son of...

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 21, 1998)

A pair of Dales' sons will make their Talladega Superspeedway debut in the Touchstone Energy 300. Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose father Dale has seven victories at the track, and Jason Jarrett, son of NASCAR Winston Cup star Dale Jarrett, are expected to drive family-owned NASCAR Busch Series entries in the April 25 event.

Earnhardt Jr. is in his first full season driving the AC Delco Chevrolet owned by his father, while Jarrett is sitting behind the wheel of his father's Ford at selected events this season. Both tested at Talladega earlier this season.

"I've tested at Talladega before and I'm well aware of what a car feels like with a qualifying setup," Jarrett said.

"I'm sure it's going to be a lot different when I get out there with 40 other cars around me. "I've been to Rockingham and I'm going to Darlington this weekend. Those are two tracks that have some speed to help you build up to Talladega. When I started at Hickory (N.C.), racing at places like Talladega is something I've always wanted to do. "I'm really excited about the opportunity."

The younger Earnhardt has a little more experience than Jarrett, having run the season-opener at Daytona. He, too, has helped his father test at Talladega, but the 113 lap Touchstone Energy 300 is untested waters.

"I learned some things about the draft at Daytona that I'm sure will help me at Talladega," Earnhardt said. "I had a pretty good car at Daytona, but I had a problem in the pits during a pit stop. Then I had a problem on the backstretch and got involved in a wreck.

"The first time I ever drove a Busch car was at Talladega several years ago. Coming from a Late Model to a Busch car, I was amazed that I could take something with so much power and hold it wide open. That was one of the wildest experiences I have ever had."

"Through testing, I'm familiar with the track, but I found out in Daytona that when cars get around you it's a bit different."

While both drivers have fathers who have had success at Talladega, both will be on their own as they prepare for the Touchstone Energy 300.

"Dad just pretty much tells me that he could give me some advice, but each situation creates a different solution," Jarrett said. "He's not one to pound into my head what is right and what is wrong. He believes experience is the best answer." Jarrett plans to run 17 NASCAR Busch Series races this season, while his father plans to race in 14 events.

Earnhardt already has recorded a second-place finish this season, finishing in the runner-up spot behind Jimmy Spencer at Las Vegas. Last season, the AC Delco team had a victory by the time it got to Talladega and Park finished second behind Mark Martin in the Touchstone Energy 300.

"We've had some good race cars this year, and I believe a win might be right around the corner," Earnhardt said. "I feel like we're having a good year so far. We've just got to keep getting those consistent finishes and hopefully the wins will come."

Jarrett and Earnhardt will have a group of Winston Cup drivers to contend with in the Touchstone Energy 300, including the defending champion Martin. Other Winston Cup drivers expected to compete are Jimmy Spencer, Michael Waltrip, Dick Trickle, Robert Pressley and Joe Nemechek.

"Any time you are on the track with the Winston Cup guys, you learn something," Jarrett said. "When you're out there with them, you're out there with the best. And if you finish in front of them, you've beat the best." Only one NASCAR Busch Series regular has won theTouchstone Energy 300 in its six-year history. In 1995, Chad Little held off Spencer for the win.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Dale Jarrett , Dick Trickle , Michael Waltrip , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Chad Little , Jason Jarrett , Mark Martin