Chat with Dale Jarrett
Dale Jarrett was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, we head out to the race track when former NASCAR champion, and ESPN analyst, Dale Jarrett drops by to chat about the auto racing season.
Jarrett spent 24 years behind the wheel during his racing career, capturing the 1999 championship. He won 32 races, including three Daytona 500s, just one of five drivers to win three or more times. In 1998, he was named as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
In celebration of Father's Day, Jarrett is working on the "Autolite Great Dads Giveaway" and invites fans to share their favorite memories of their fathers, with the winner getting a trip to the Dale Jarrett Racing Experience.
Send your questions now and join Jarrett Friday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (11:56 AM)
Dale is here!
Bryan Edwards cocoa FL [via mobile]
What are Brad K chances to win at Michigan? Can anybody stop Jimmy ? Go#2
Dale Jarrett (11:57 AM)
I would think that you have to put him as one of the top three favorites for this weekend. The performance level that I've seen from that team, they're fast everywhere, their qualifying has been outstanding and they've carried that speed into the race. Brad understands the importance of this race in Michigan to the manufacturers. He would love nothing more than to bring a win to them this weekend.
Dale, how involved will you be in helping determine the winner of this autolite giveaway?
Dale Jarrett (11:58 AM)
They have people that will do the majority of the selection of the winners, mainly because of the timing of it. They will run some of the ideas and stories by me. I am interested to see and hear some of the great Father's Day stories that we plan on getting for this campaign.
petestu2 (Charlotte, NC)
What's one thing you've learned from your father, Ned, that you may not have learned on your own?
Dale Jarrett (11:59 AM)
Gosh. Stopping at one, or two, would be difficult. But the biggest lesson I learned from my dad is how to treat other people and the respect you get from that. I am not saying I wouldn't have learned that on my own, but that's something he stressed. Something else is, as I chose racing as a profession, that patience will serve you in this sport, even in a sport where you go fast. Being patient is something that would help you on the track. I transferred that into my personal life and that helped me there too.
With The New Chase Format, how do you think the last few Races before the Chase will be like?
Dale Jarrett (12:02 PM)
I think we're probably going to see a whole new level of excitement from the drivers and they realize their time is running out. As opposed to other years, where they thought points would be the biggest difference they could make, now it will be wins. It will take some extraordinary efforts where maybe your crew chief has put you out front with some old tires or something like that and you have to use your talent to drive. Or there could be some other teams that do look at the points side of things and try to get there that way. How it all comes together, I think will make for a very exciting times. It will be fun for us at ESPN to cover those last 7 races before the Chase.
Do you ever get behind the wheel and race fans at your Dale Jarrett Racing Experience?
Dale Jarrett (12:03 PM)
That's a good question. I do get behind the wheel still. When I have the need for speed, we'll have a special event. I don't really get out with the fans, but I will go if my instructors are giving a ride or something like that. I enjoy that side of it. It's not a competition, so I'm not that interested in passing someone, it's just about going fast and see how fast I can get those cars and giving someone the experience of their life.
Dale, Big Fan Since 1996! In your opinion, what year did we see the best Dale Jarrett? Was it 1999 when you won championship or 1996 or 1997 when you seemed to just win alot. And could that Dale Jarrett have the same outcome against the Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick today? Thanks for all the memories!!
Dale Jarrett (12:05 PM)
That's another good question. I feel like maybe 96 and 97 were two of the better years for my driving career and putting together wins. 97 was an incredible year with winning 7 races. We had an issue at Watkins Glen that year. But I'm not so sure those two years were any better than 99 or 2000. 99 was the championship year with top 10s and wins, incredibly consistent year. In 2000 it looked like we were going to go on another championship year. In 2001, we had four wins in something like the first 15, 16 races. I enjoyed every one of those years. It was a great ride, for sure.
Jerry Martin (harrisonburg virginia)
Has the competition figured out Jimmie Johnsons secret or is he just having a rough season?
Dale Jarrett (12:07 PM)
The competition is always catching up. There are too many good teams and drivers. So much of what these teams do is out in the open. If you have a little advantage, it won't take teams that long to figure it out just by looking around. And the rules changes NASCAR made on the track took a little bit of the advantage away from the Hendricks teams. Jimmie and his team had to work through the first 7-8 races to implement the changes and now we're starting to see them working with it. It will still be tough for them. They might not have the dominance they once had, but he will be the Jimmie Johnson we know come Chase time.
Where do you keep your 1999 championship and 3 Daytona 500 trophies?
Dale Jarrett (12:08 PM)
Since I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, my championship trophy is there and one of my Daytona 500 trophies is there too. The other two Daytona trophies are in my office. They are all things I am very very proud of. It brings back memories, and of the people that put forth the efforts to make that all happen.
Jarrod Moore Opelika Alabama [via mobile]
Longtime nascar fan, I would like to know in your mind as past champion and now Hall Famer what this season single biggest change that you think has made in my mind as avid fan the racing so much better ? As good as I've seen in a LONG time.... Thanks Jarrod
Dale Jarrett (12:11 PM)
Good question. The biggest change I've seen, and this came about because of the changes to how you make the Chase, I've see drivers make different decisions because of the scenario where a win gets you locked into the Chase. They think more about that. And they think about it more on the track. The downside was greater before, if the move didn't work out for them. But now they know that they will have more opportunities to get into the Chase. The speed I've seen from the Stewart-Haas team. I thought that as they grew the organization quickly, it may take time to get the pieces in place, but that's not true. That's a testament to the people they've hired.
Bryan Flynn (Tampa, FL)
I miss rooting for you on the track, but happy you are still in the booth! I know Michigan was one of your favorite places to race. Do you miss it?
Dale Jarrett (12:13 PM)
Yeah, I really do miss it. I got here today and driving into the track brings back so many memories. Getting my first Sprint Cup win here in 1991. Other races I had here. It was such a fun place to drive. It brought everything in as a driver, speed, long corners. It was an incredible feeling to win at a place like Michigan. And you had the manufacturers here. I anticipate great racing happening here. A lot of the other drivers look at this place as their favorite also. It's great to come back here with all of the success I enjoyed here.
Dale Jarrett (12:15 PM)
If you haven't gone to AutoliteGreatDads.com and submitted your entry for the contest, I would urge you to do that. Sunday is a great day to honor our fathers and there are a lot of great stories out there. Submit your story and try for a chance to go to the Dale Jarrett Racing Experience. Thanks for tuning into the chat at letting me talk for a little bit.
Buzzmaster (12:15 PM)
Thanks for chatting Dale!