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IMS Brickyard 400 Preview: Jarrett Ready to Rumble

22 July 1997


For Immediate Release
Countdown to the Brickyard

INDIANAPOLIS, July 22, 1997 -- Dale Jarrett's goal is simple for the
fourth Brickyard 400 on Aug. 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He
wants to become the first driver to win back-to-back NASCAR Winston
Cup races at the historic 2.5-mile oval.

"I'll cherish last year's win the rest of my life," Jarrett
said. "It's very gratifying and something I'll always
remember. Obviously there's great history and great tradition at Indy,
but it's also an incredible amount of money. It's the most money of
any race that we run, and that is great motivation. We'd really like
to win it again."

Jarrett won $564,035 in the 1996 Brickyard 400, and that was his
largest purse ever. It provided a healthy portion of his season
winnings of more than $2.9 million in a year when he also took
checkered flags in the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

The 40-year-old driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Ford Thunderbird
owned by Robert Yates had a shot at the Winston Million last season --
a bonus paid for winning three of the circuit's Big Four races in a
single season -- but he came up short in the Mountain Dew Southern 500
at Darlington later in the season.

"We won four races last season, and they all were big to me," Jarrett
said.  "To win at Daytona, Charlotte and Indy in the same year was
just incredible.  Just knowing where I came from to get to that point
meant so much to me."

Jarrett led twice for 11 of 160 laps in the 1996 Brickyard 400, and he
ended up battling his teammate Ernie Irvan for the victory. Irvan led
four times for 39 laps, but Jarrett passed Irvan on lap 154 and held
on to win under caution after Ken Schrader's spin on the last lap
brought out the yellow flag.

"I was just looking for that one opportunity (to pass)," Jarrett
said. "I didn't care if it was with 15 to go, 10 to go, it was just
whenever it came about. When it happened, it was like Ernie got into
turn one a little bit hard. He got up and his car wouldn't turn, so I
found a groove right down on the bottom and started making my car
turn. When I got out front and got the clean air, my car was a lot
better and didn't push nearly as much."

Jarrett finished third in the 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup standings, 89
points behind champion Terry Labonte. After 17 of 32 races in '97,
Jarrett held fourth place and trailed leader Labonte by 165 points.

With back-to-back victories at Atlanta and Darlington early in the
season, Jarrett sat atop the standings for six races. Through the
first half of the season, Jarrett had led the most laps in five of 16
races and led more laps and miles than any other driver on the
circuit. He scored 11 top 10 finishes in his first 16 starts and had
nine top fives.

"We're still chasing the championship, but those three guys ahead of
us (Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin) are going to be tough,"
Jarrett said.  "Another win at the Brickyard would be great motivation
and head us in the right direction-- not to mention that big check you
get for winning."

First-round qualifying for the Brickyard 400 begins at 1:30 p.m. local
time on Thursday, July 31. The race begins at 12:15 p.m. (EST) local
time on Saturday, August 2 and will be broadcast live by ABC. The
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network's live race coverage will
begin at 12 p.m. (EST).