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NASCAR Winston Cup Series Dura-Lube 500: Quotes from the Winner

3 November 1997

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Winner Quotes
 Dura-Lube 500 Presented by Kmart
 Phoenix International Raceway
 November 2, 1997
PHOENIX, AZ - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public Affairs:

DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird) - "I'd like to take 
the credit, but what an awesome race car. We were pretty good from the 
beginning, and then Todd (Parrott, crew chief) made some adjustments. We got 
a little loose, and then we stopped a little early because we were loose, and 
the caution came out. We had to work hard after that. The last two sets of 
Goodyear Eagles that I had were just awesome. It's a great tire that they've 
got here. This car just worked flawlessly. I was worried about fuel there. We 
don't get the best fuel mileage, but the car was good enough that I was able 
to conserve it and, really, make it easier to drive. It's just an awesome 

got a chance and that's all we asked for going down there, is to have a shot 
at it. It's been just a great year. We're looking forward to (Atlanta). You 
know it's going to be a fast race and we look forward to the challenge. We've 
got a shot. That's what we've worked 31 races for. I just thank these guys. 
They're awesome. This is the first time we've run this car. It's an in-house 
car. We built it at Robert Yates Racing, and they did a terrific job.

"We had an incredible race car. It's the first time I've ever run this car. 
We built it from the ground-up. My guys did an awesome job. We started out 
pretty good, but got a little loose there at one point. We decided to stop a 
few laps early, and the caution came out. That got us down, but the car was 
so awesome after that. Those last two sets of Goodyear Eagles were just 
tremendous. I was worried about fuel, but the car was so good that it just 
let me take it easy with the fuel and we had enough.

"I was good at both ends (of the track). Usually you can be good at one end 
and be just a little off at the other and have to work it there. But my car 
was awesome at both ends. Todd Parrott, he's the best in the business and he 
made the adjustment that we needed. We talked about it, and he makes those 
calls. He's awesome. If he was here, I'd kiss him, but he's not, and that's 
probably a good thing. These guys did a great job. We had great pit stops. It 
was just a total team effort. They work their tails off every week.

"The only way to save fuel is to stay off the throttle, and my car was good 
enough that I could get off the throttle early getting into the corner and 
really not use much brake and let it roll down through the corner. I was 
running actually faster, so I learned a little something. Then I could just 
be easy picking the throttle up. When the car rolls that good through the 
center of the corner that makes it easier to conserve fuel. You talk about 
conserving fuel, but you've got to have a really good race car to do that.

"We've got a chance, and that's all we asked for. We've raced 31 weeks now, 
and we've got ourselves in position that we can win. What we have to do is go 
down there and try to win the race and see what shakes out. We've had a 
terrific year. I thank these guys and everybody who has helped us get to this 
point. We're looking forward to the next two weeks. 

"We knew that last year when we won four races that there were a couple that 
we could have won that we kinda left on the table, and that if we got 
everything together that we could win some races. But I don't think I ever 
sat down and said we were going to win six or seven races. It's just 

"What a race. We had a good car from the very beginning. We really didn't 
make any adjustments on the first stop, thinking that new tires were going to 
tighten me up, but I actually got looser. Even though we were loose, we were 
able to stay up in the top five. I believe we were running third and Todd 
made the call to come in early, which was the right call because we were 
starting to slip a lot. But as luck would have it, a caution came out as I 
was sitting there and the guys were coming around to change the left sides. 
That's kinda the way things have gone for me out here. I've run well, but 
something always comes up. I knew I had a good car, though, and I knew if I 
could get to the front of the line and something happened, I had a chance to 
get the lap back. I had no idea we could run 'em all down and pass 'em. But 
the adjustment that we made was just what the car wanted. Todd made a slight 
air pressure adjustment, track bar and wedge, and the car was so good it was 
almost scary how fast it was around here. It would go through the corners so 
fast it was just incredible. Once I got to a certain point, I was trying to 
just not abuse the tires anymore. And as it turned out, as I thought about 
slowing down a little, I sped up. That happens sometimes. After we made our 
pit stop, the car was still really good. It was not quite as good a set of 
tires as before, but obviously it got me the lead, and once I passed Rusty, 
my main focus, even before I got to him, my main focus was fuel, because I 
knew that we had stopped a little early and we had to go a long way. When 
your car is that good, it allows you to save fuel. You always talk about what 
you do, but the only way to save fuel is to stay out of the throttle. What I 
could do is back off early and let the car roll through the center of the 
corner. Then I could just ease back into the throttle. I don't think we had a 
lot left. My fuel gauge was going down toward the end, and I got to where I 
quit looking at it. I figured, hell, if it's going to run out, it don't 
matter if I'm looking at it or not. So I just decided to start backing off 
even more. After we built the lead, we were in good shape. When it's your 
day, it's your day. But I can't take the credit for what went on there. When 
you get an awesome race car like that... Usually here, you give up something 
at one end or another if you're good at one end. But when we made those 
adjustments, the thing was just incredible at either end. I could go right 
around the bottom, and that's the shortest way around. You can save a lot of 
fuel like that. That's my story. 

"Nobody had told us we can't (win the championship), and we wouldn't listen 
to them if they did. I don't know that we are cocky. We are confident. We 
have a lot of confidence in each other and in each other's ability. We have a 
chance. Jeff and them can't go down there and ride around now and win this 
championship. They have to race, and whenever you have to race, anything can 
happen. That's all we have asked. Certainly, we would like to be 77 ahead. 
But we're 77 behind, so we've got to go down there and put some pressure on 
those guys and see what can happen. We really truly believe that we are 
going to go there and win the race and things are going to go our way. I 
don't want to even mention that they have problems in the last few, because 
they seldom have problems. But this is a tough series, and if you are off 
just a little bit anywhere, it's easy to lose a lot of positions. They can't 
just go ride. They have to run, because they know that we are going there 
with a legitimate chance at winning the race. I don't know the math, if I win 
where he has to finish. I don't know that. We've just got to go win, and if
it's meant to be, it will happen. If it's not, we'll go after 'em next year.

"There is no way that they can go there thinking that all they have to do is 
just finish that race. They have to run good. With a one-groove race track 
like it is there and as fast as it is, there are going to be a lot of people 
who are going to run good because of the grip. The tires are not going to go 
away that much, so a lot of people are going to run good. If you have a 
slight problem, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to finish 
that race ahead of you. And even though the track is going to be totally 
different, they know that we won the last race at Atlanta. And they know that 
we tested there, because they were there at the same time. They know that we 
have a good race car and as good a chance as anyone to go there and win the 

"It's the same for everybody. Certainly nobody has any kind of advantage, but 
the one thing that we could have on our side is that all they have 
record-wise is a few test days there. So you could get off on your setup 
thinking that something is going to work, but until you get into a 500-mile 
race and know exactly what is going to happen with the track and what is 
going to happen with the tires, we don't know. All of that is unknown. It's 
unknown to us, too, but if we happen to hit and they happen to miss it, then 
that puts us in a really good position. 

"Looking at it from my side, we have to be kinda middle-of-the-road, at least 
to begin with, in that race. We can't go all the way down on tire pressure 
like we would normally do there, so the car is better at the end of a run. 
And I don't think you are going to have to. Normally we do that for grip as 
the tire builds up air pressure. But the track has so much grip that that is 
not going to be so much of a concern. I'd say we are going to be a little in 
the middle of what Goodyear recommends and what we normally do. That's my 

"As it is most places, we work awful hard on our chassis, on the shocks that 
we run. And we have a really good guy who works our shocks. Chris Hill does a 
really good job. And it's a credit to Todd. More times than not, you are 
going to go long green flag racing, and whoever can conserve their tires the 
best is going to be good in the race. That's what we work for. We were 
fortunate this week. Last week it worked against us, because the caution came 
out late. This week it worked in our favor, and that's pretty much the way we 
approach every race. As guys in Happy Hour and stuff throw on new sets of 
tires and run, you use up two or three sets of tires. We went on the same set 
of tires all afternoon yesterday. We started on a new set and we must have 
run 70 or 80 laps. That's when you've got to figure out if your car is good.

"It's good to have an off week. NASCAR and Winston plan it that way so we 
have a lot of build-up and a lot of time to talk about it and anticipate what 
is going to happen. I probably enjoy that. I'm glad there is a little time 
off, even though I have to go to Homestead. It's not like I have a week off. 
I go from here to Las Vegas tonight for two appearances, and get home 
Wednesday and go to Homestead Thursday morning. It's not like I'm going to be 
sitting around thinking about it. It's good for the sport. We've got 
something to talk about for almost two weeks in anticipation of what could 

ON ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY - "We know it's fast, but it has a lot of grip. And 
the track is going to be fine unless something happens. If you run over 
something and cut a tire, you are going to hit hard. But I might drive out of 
here today and somebody run into me at 60 mph. You don't know what is going 
to happen, so there is no reason to sit around and worry about tomorrow. I 
can't do a thing about that. We're going to Atlanta, and I want a fast race 
car because I want to be up front. There's no reason to sit around and worry 
that it's going to be fast. Live it one day at a time, and when Atlanta gets 
here, we'll handle that situation. 

"(A one-groove track) is certainly an area that we will be concerned with, so 
we go there with our very best race car and our very best engine and try to 
qualify up front where we can run the race we want to run. That's going to be 
important. Track position is going to be key. Hopefully, we can make the 
right calls during the day to keep us up front so we can run our race."