Saturday, October 6, 2007
Jarrett to reveal his retirement plans on Thursday
By Angelique S. Chengelis
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Former NASCAR Cup series champion Dale Jarrett appears to be taking his first steps toward retirement.
Jarrett, who has been mulling his racing future and a potential television career with ESPN, said Saturday after qualifying he intends to "race some" next year. Jarrett, who said he will remain with Michael Waltrip Racing, said he will reveal his plans on Thursday and a formal announcement is expected Friday.
"I made my decision, [and] I'll tell you the rest Thursday before qualifying [at Lowe's Motor Speedway]," Jarrett said. "Can you hang on for five days? I don't think it's anything that will change the world or anything."
Waltrip, pole-sitter for Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, is the owner of the three-car team but said he could not offer more regarding Jarrett's decision.
"We'll just have to see," Waltrip said. "I want him to do whatever he wants. He's a legend, he's a champion. I want him to be happy, so whatever it takes to do that.
"I know we've got something scheduled Friday, [but] we don't know all we're going to say yet. I know I own [the team], but I don't know anything to tell you right now."
Jarrett said last week at Kansas Speedway that he approached officials from his primary sponsor, UPS, about two months ago and suggested they together explore a variety of scenarios regarding his future. He made clear that television would not play a role in making his decision.
"Yeah, the opportunity is there, but that didn't weigh in on my decision whatsoever," Jarrett said. "That opportunity or what I was told was going to be there whenever I decided not to drive the racecar anymore, I didn't let that factor in."
Jarrett said he received advice from NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw during a function at Daytona earlier this year. Bradshaw now has a successful television career.
"He said, 'Look, make sure you drive as long as you want to and as long as you can, because once you're out, nobody has ever gone back and done anything good, whether it's your sport or his sport or football,'" Jarrett said. "I took that into consideration. I thought that was pretty good advice. But TV didn't weigh into that."
Meanwhile, in related Michael Waltrip Racing news, driver David Reutimann said he anticipates having his contract worked out within the next few days.
"I think we're all in a pretty good place right now," Reutimann said. "We still have some things to work out, some I's to dot and t's to cross, but hopefully we'll have something in the next couple days."
Angelique Chengelis covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.