Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dale Jarrett

Dale Jarrett is a natural born athlete. Offered a golf scholarship to the University of South Carolina, Dale turned them down in order to follow in his father's footsteps. Fortunately for NASCAR fans, his father is Ned Jarrett, two-time NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup Champion.

Jarrett began racing in 1977 at Hickory Motor Speedway, a track his father owned. In his first race he started in last but worked his way up to a 9th place finish.
In 1982, he became a charter driver in the new Busch (Nationwide) Series and finished sixth in points.

In 1984, while still a full-time Busch (Nationwide) Series driver, Jarrett finished 14th in his NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup Series debut at Martinsville Speedway.

He earned his first career Nationwide Series win in August 1986 at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C.

In 1987, Jarrett replaced Tommy Ellis in the #18 Chevrolet owned by Eric Freelander early in the season. Running a primarily-unsponsored car, he had two tenth-place finishes and ended the season 26th in points, second to Davey Allison for Rookie of the Year honors.

He ran every race of the 1988, despite running with various teams. He made most of his starts in the #29 Hardee's Oldsmobile owned by Cale Yarborough, finishing eighth at Riverside International Raceway. He also ran races for Buddy Arrington and Hoss Ellington that season, finishing twenty-third in the final standings. He also was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

He ran the entire season for Yarborough in 1989, posting five top-ten finishes, including two fifth-place runs.

The Newton-Conover, N.C., native, earned his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in August 1991 at Michigan International Speedway in a car owned by the famed Wood Brothers.

In 1992, Jarrett left the Wood Brothers to drive the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy for the fledging Joe Gibbs Racing team. In their first year of competition, Jarrett had two top-fives but dropped to nineteenth in points. Jarrett won the 1993 Daytona 500 over Dale Earnhardt (commonly referred to as "The Dale and Dale Show") in a race called by his father Ned. While he did not win again that season, Jarrett had a total of thirteen top-fives and finished fourth in the final standings.

He joined forces with Robert Yates Racing as a replacement for the injured Ernie Irvan and the next year, he won a personal-best seven races and finished second in the Winston (Sprint) Cup drivers standings.

Dale won the 1999 NASCAR Winston (Sprint) cup series championship as his dad called the race from the ESPN booth for his second-to-last year.

He won his third Daytona 500 in 2000, again with Joe Gibbs racing.

In 2003, Jarrett began the season by winning at North Carolina Speedway, but only posted five more top-ten finishes, relegating him to 26th in the final standings. He rebounded in 2004 to finish 15th in points, despite not winning a race. In 2005, Jarrett got his most recent win at Talladega Superspeedway.

During the 2006 season, Jarrett had four top-ten finishes, with a best finish of fourth at Kansas. His best starting position was second and he finished 23rd in points.

In the 2007 season, Dale Jarrett and his sponsor UPS left Robert Yates Racing and joined the newly formed team of Michael Waltrip Racing. The three-time Daytona 500 winner made his television debut in 2007 as an analyst ESPN during Nationwide races.

He retired from driving five races into the 2008 season and became ESPN’s lead NASCAR analyst.

Jarrett retired with 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup and 11 NASCAR Nationwide Series wins.

Dale Jarrett Biography (Book) Page On Dale Jarrett