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NASCAR WCUP: Jarrett Dominates Bud Shoot-Out Qualifier

13 February 2000

By David Treffer
Contributing Editor, The Auto Channel
Dale Jarrett
DAYTONA BEACH, FL--OK, so its only the Bud Shoot-Out qualifier. The race is for the drivers who did not win a pole in 1999 but were the fastest on the second day of qualifying. Yes, its a made for TV (non-points) 25-(green flag laps only) lap race to provide more commercial time for the race sponsor Budweiser Beer. The winner of the race transfers to the Bud Shoot-Out. None the less, it is the first race of the Winston Cup season. If the results are any indication of the season ahead it could be a long one for anyone not driving a Robert Yates racecar.

Dale Jarrett in the #88 Ford Quality Care car did not just win this race he punished the other competitors on the track and in the pits. The scary item of notice is that Jarrett drove away from the rest of the field without any help from a "dance or drafting" partner. The ability to draft on restrictor plate tracks has long been held as the only way to win on tracks like Daytona and Talladega. That conventional wisdom may be in a process of re-evaluation.

The Shoot-Out qualifying field of eleven cars took the green and did not even get the first lap completed. Three wide racing is a recipe for disaster at Daytona especially around the exit of turn 4 and into the narrow front straight tri-oval area. Coming out of turn 4, Kenny Wallace hit the outside wall. The ensuing wreck took out Wallace as well as Rick Mast and Stanton Barrett. The crash for Barrett was especially costly. Barrett is not racing with a well-funded team. Most teams use a back-up car for this race. In Barretts case he was using the car that he wants to use in the Daytona 500. In football terms the goalposts (qualifying for the 500) were moved even further away for Staton Barretts team.

Ricky Craven led the reassembled and reduced field of 8 racecars to the green flag. Craven led the field for the first 10 laps. The mandatory pit-stops which must occur between laps 10-12 was the beginning of the end for the rest of the field. Jarretts two-tire pit stop of 7.6 seconds was nothing short of fantastic. Jarrett entered the pit area in third and left in first. Terry Labonte in the Kelloggs #5 Chevrolet and Jeff Burton driving the #99 Exide Batteries Ford came out of the pits in second and third respectively.

For the next 15 laps Jarrett began to pull away from the field. Normally one car racing around Daytona can be tracked down by two cars drafting. Labonte and Burton tried to cut into Jarretts lead. Labonte and Burton even shuffled who would be the lead car of the two-car draft. Their efforts proved fruitless as Jarrett drove his #88 machine to a victory margin of 5.095 seconds over Terry Labonte and Jeff Burton.

First a pole, then a victory in the Bud Shoot-Out Qualifier. Whats next for Jarrett and his #88 Ford Quality Care? As they say in TV land. . . stay tuned.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot racing photos and art, visit The Racing Photo Museum and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.