Dan Patrick's interview with NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett appears in the Sept. 17 edition of ESPN The Magazine.
Dan Patrick: Were you expecting more definitive answers from the investigation into Dale Earnhardt's death?
|Dale Jarrett won his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 1999.|
Dale Jarrett: Those of us in the sport knew that there was no one cause. I think as much as anything -- and this isn't saying anything against Dale Earnhardt -- his death reinforces the fact that we all have to pay attention to how the shoulder harnesses and the seat belts are mounted. Safety has to be more important than comfort or personal preference.
DP: Do you feel mortal now?
DJ: I think it opened all of our eyes. If this can happen to Dale Earnhardt, our Superman, then we are all very vulnerable.
DP: Favorite football team?
DJ: I've been a Colts fan forever. I'm talking about the Baltimore days.
DP: So were you a Johnny Unitas fan?
DJ: Oh yeah. To me, Unitas is the Colts. I always wanted to be like him. And since Peyton Manning came to Indianapolis, I've come back around.
DP: How do you handle yourself in a traffic jam?
DJ: I'm terrible in traffic! The highway scares me to death. I'm not even a fast driver, but I will get a little bit close. My wife is always yelling at me to stay off the bumpers.
DP: Hang on. You're afraid of driving on the highway?
DJ: Honestly, how much are you actually thinking about driving when you're in your car? You've got to pick up the dry cleaning, you've got to go to the grocery store, you've got a call on the cell phone. I would never get in my race car and not think 100 percent about what I'm doing. But on the highway I'm guilty of zoning out, too.
DP: If you could listen to music during a race, what are we hearing?
DJ: Probably Rod Stewart at the beginning. He gets me going. And the middle part, I'd probably have to switch over to a little bit of Edwin McCain. And then at the end, to really get going, I'd turn on a little Hootie and the Blowfish.
DP: You're a Hootie man, too? OK, so here's the toughest question. What happened to the moustache?
DJ: It got so gray that you could hardly see it, so I just shaved it off.
DP: What was your wife's reaction?
DJ: She'd never seen me without it. But she actually likes it now. I guess the shock has worn off.
DP: So I hear you're a good golfer. Tiger behind the wheel or Dale on the green: Who'd be great first?
DJ: [laughs] Oh man, those three-foot putts at Augusta would tear me up!
DP: Yeah, but he's got to go 100 mph.
DJ: But everybody can drive, right? I could teach him how to do it. No doubt in my mind -- Tiger would be great first.