NASCAR WCUP: Jarrett Wins Bud Shoot-Out; Looks to Next Sunday
13 February 2000
By David Treffer
Contributing Editor, The Auto Channel
The 25-lap "made for TV" race is not considered long enough to see how cars will handle in long green flag runs. Nonetheless, the statement that Jarrett and his #88 Robert Yates Racing Ford Quality Care team seems to be making is "Here we come...try and stop us if you can."
Jarrett, saving the best for last (just like Tiger at Pebble Beach last week) made a spectacular pass on Jeff Gordon and Sterling Marlin on the last lap to win the race. The same could not be said for Jarrett's teammate Ricky Rudd, who finished the race upside down and fortunately unharmed.
However, this race, just like the Bud Shoot-Out Qualifier, was won in the pits. On lap 10 every car pitted except Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett. #88 Crew Chief Todd Parrott's strategy of pitting alone worked like a charm. Had Jarrett pitted with the other lead cars he probably would have rejoined the race in 8th or 9th place. By pitting the following lap the pit lane was clear of traffic. When Jarrett re-joined the race, after another quick pit stop, he was fifth.
For the next 13 laps it appeared that either Jeff Gordon or Sterling Marlin would be the likely winner. Once again, Gordon was showing that, in spite of the off-season turmoil of replacing crew chiefs and an entire new pit crew, his team is still among the strongest in Winston Cup racing. For Marlin, a back to back (1994, 95) winner of the Daytona 500, any trip to victory lane would be a welcomed break to a victory drought that has lasted since 1996. Unfortunately, third place would be the best that Marlin would find today.
On the final lap entering turn 3, Jarrett moved first to the inside then made a dramatic move to the outside to take the lead from Gordon and Marlin. Once again the horsepower of the Yates engine coupled with what is a becoming apparent of a better aerodynamic package than the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was enough of an edge to take the checkered flag.
So what can slow down this Yates juggernaut? Right now, not much. In less than 24 hours Jarrett won the pole for the Daytona 500 and won both Bud Shoot-Out races. Not bad for a day's work. So what comes next. Well, the Twin 125's arrive on Thursday and then the Big One on Sunday. Who knows, Jarrett just might make it a clean sweep. Did somebody say something about Jarrett Mania?