Dale Jarrett

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Robert Yates on cancer fight: ‘One day I’m beating it, the next day I’m not beating it’

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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Robert Yates said he was told by a doctor last week to gather his family and make plans for hospice because “you’re done in four weeks.” 

Four hours later, Yates’ future looked much better.

Another doctor told Yates, who is battling liver cancer, that the terminal diagnosis was wrong.

“I need both doctors, but I need a little cheerleading, too,’’ said the 74-year-old former team owner who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January.

Monday was a good day for Yates, who was at Stewart-Haas Racing to see Danica Patrick’s throwback paint scheme for next month’s Southern 500. The car Patrick will drive mirrors the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit red, white and blue Ford that Yates owned in the mid 1990s and the scheme on Dale Jarrett’s car in his 1999 championship season.

He also was presented a Daytona 500 ring by Stewart-Haas Racing. Kurt Busch‘s Ford was powered by Roush Yates Engines, which his son, Doug, operates.

“I’ve got a lot to be thankful for,’’ Yates said.

While his battle with liver cancer has cost him weight, it has not diminished his desire to remain active.

“If I get up and get out of the house and go to the farm and get on a tractor or lawnmower or bulldozer or something, I can stay on that all day long,’’ Yates said. “Sitting on it, pushing dirt and trees, I love it. I go home that night and sleep better. Sitting in a chair promotes sitting in a chair. I sat in the chair too much last week.’’

Yates first underwent treatment on Oct. 31, 2016. He has gone through chemotherapy and also experimental treatments.

“I told somebody a good while back that it is easier to win the Daytona 500 than to beat this stuff,’’ said Yates, who won two Daytona 500s with Jarrett and one with Davey Allison. “One day I’m beating it, the next day I’m not beating it.’’

The misdiagnosis last week came because Yates said a scan was measured incorrectly. He was originally told his cancer had grown 36 percent. The review of that scan showed that was incorrect.

Yates, who won 57 races as a team owner in NASCAR’s top series, remains feisty.

After one doctor told Yates about hospice over a number of visits, Yates responded: “I remember really well. You told me 10 times about hospice. … I know exactly who they are and what they do. Do not talk to me about hospice anymore.’’

That same attitude is evident in how he faces his illness.

“I’m going to fight it,’’ he said. “I plan to beat this if God is willing.’’

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Bump & Run: Is moving William Byron to Cup next year the right move?

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What do you think of William Byron’s move to Cup for 2018?

Dale Jarrett: I used to think that drivers needed more experience, a few years running in the Xfinity Series before they got into Cup because you kind of needed time to prove yourself there. A number of these young drivers, and William Byron being one of these, got an opportunity in a really good car right from the very beginning of his Xfinity career. He’s proven that he can race and win against the best out there, so why not? I would generally say that you need to stay there until you learn to win, and he already knows how to win against these guys. Go on and move. I’m all for it. Not that many are on that quick of pace to get there, but he’s certainly done it.

Kyle Petty: I think William Byron’s move to the Cup series is spot on! He’s won in every division he’s raced in, and not only won but contended each week. Why stay in a series if your ultimate goal is to race and win in Cup? My dad always said you learn habits racing in other divisions that don’t translate into the Cup series. His progress may take time, but ultimately the move now will pay off in wins and championships I believe.

Nate Ryan: Despite the comparisons to Joey Logano’s rookie season washout, Hendrick Motorsports is doing the right thing. If you think Byron is destined to win in Cup – and his performance in the Truck and Xfinity series the past two seasons certainly supports that belief – there is no point to delaying his promotion.

For every instance such as Logano’s (which really doesn’t apply because he unfairly was thrust into the untenable situation of replacing a champion with a high-profile sponsor and veteran team), there are several more that cast doubt on the importance of extra seasoning in the Xfinity Series.

Did staying an extra year in Xfinity after winning the championship as a rookie do much for Chase Elliott? Has Erik Jones suffered from only one full-time season? Did Xfinity experience mean anything to Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson or Kasey Kahne?

With two teammates in his age range and another who is a willing mentor (and a seven-time series champion), Byron will be nurtured at the correct pace for realizing his abundant talent.

Dustin Long: Byron’s overall experience can make one nervous, but he’s excelled in his limited time driving Trucks and in the Xfinity Series. He’s good enough that he made it worthwhile for Hendrick Motorsports to take Kasey Kahne out of the No. 5 car. It also doesn’t hurt that his salary likely will be a fraction what it is for a veteran driver such as Kahne. It’s understandable why Hendrick is making the move.

Considering how dominant Toyota has been lately, which would you take this weekend at Michigan – The field or Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott (who have two wins and three runner-up finishes in the last three Michigan races)?

Dale Jarrett: The field. I think things have changed. Both of those young guys have been outstanding there and proven to be the ones to beat. I just believe that the Toyotas have come too far. This might not be the type of track to where their engine combination shows up at its very best. I think it’s better whenever the RPMs get down a little bit lower, but I still think that they’ve just made such a huge gain with everything they’ve done. I think it’s the rest of the field, the Chevrolets and the Fords, trying to catch the Toyotas this weekend.

Kyle Petty: The field. I know Kyle can win. Chase has been close, and we all believe he can win. But Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have shown in the last four weeks at different tracks that they can dominate! If they’re in the field, I’ll take them every time! 

Nate Ryan: The field. Even though Toyota has only one win in the past 11 races at Michigan, it feels as if Larson and Elliott are underdogs to the speed of Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing. Unless it comes down to fuel mileage or off-sequence strategies, it’s tough to envision a Chevy winning at Michigan.

Dustin Long: I’ll take Larson and Elliott. Yes, Toyotas have dominated lately but Michigan hasn’t been a track that has been great to them. Plus, Toyota’s run hasn’t to end sometime. Doesn’t it?

Where do you place the Kyle Busch-Brad Keselowski rivalry in the sport’s history?

Dale Jarrett: It’s turned into a nice little rivalry. It’s got a ways to go to get back to things that happened in the older days and a few others in the modern times. It’s certainly in there in the top 10. It’s entertaining to watch and listen to. I think if it happened on a little more regular basis, and that’s hard to come. Rivalries generally come when the two drivers are really competing for wins on a regular basis. The other day they weren’t even competing for the win at that time. I think it’s only going to continue to get better for us. At this point in time, it will be just inside the top 10 with the possibility with the two of them continuing that we could see this be full fledge and a lot of fun to cover.

Kyle Petty: The BK/KB rivalry in still in its early stages. I’ll have to wait and see how it grows. Right now for me it’s just a footnote on a few seasons.

Nate Ryan: It’s among the more fascinating in recent memory because of their endless parallels (ages, fatherhood and truck team ownership), but it remains a few notches below Petty-Pearson or Allison-Waltrip. All the elements seem to be there, though, for future conflicts (though it would help if Keselowski’s cars were faster).

Dustin Long: It’s got a ways to go to match Petty-Pearson but for this era — where competition is more balance, making it difficult for the same two drivers to race for the win week after week — this is one of the better ones. I’d say it’s probably the best rivalry since 2000.

Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty join Krista Voda from the NASCAR Hall of Fame for today’s NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET. Joey Logano is today’s guest.

 

NASCAR America: Matt DiBenedetto is more than a driver with a long last name (video)

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Matt DiBenedetto was a guest on this week’s NASCAR on NBC podcast with Nate Ryan. During their chat, which covered how his family moved to North Carolina to further his career when he was younger, his positive outlook on matters and his life, he was played a tape SiriusXM NASCAR Radio uses of people, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., mispronouncing his last name.

To think of DiBenedetto as someone who a long last name is to overlook what he’s done this year.

Although DiBenedetto drives for a single-car team, Go Fas Racing, he is one of four drivers to have placed in the top 10 in both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 this year. He was ninth at Daytona and eighth at Indianapolis. The others who posted top 10s in each race are Kasey Kahne (seventh at Daytona, won Indy), AJ Allmendinger (third at Daytona, 10th at Indy) and Joey Logano (sixth at Daytona, fourth at Indy).

NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Jarrett discussed what stands out to him about DiBenedetto on Friday’s NASCAR America.

“I’m most impressed with his attitude and just the desire and determination he brings,” Jarrett said.

“I really like the determination and the passion he has to be a race driver, but yet understand his position right now at this point, he wants to move forward but he’s OK where he is right now.”

For more on DiBenedeetto, watch the video above.

You can listen to the NASCAR on NBC podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

 

NASCAR America: Pressure building as Joey Logano seeks to earn playoff spot (video)

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All but needing a win to make the playoffs, Joey Logano has five races left to do so, starting with Sunday’s event at Watkins Glen International.

Logano, who has made it to the championship race in two of the last three years, still has favorable tracks for him before the playoffs begin next month.

“I know I’ve heard him say that this weekend presents his best opportunity to win,” Dale Jarrett said Friday on NASCAR America. “I also think that Bristol and Richmond present him opportunities, but the sooner you can get it out of the way, the better.”

Slugger Labbe said it’s not just Logano who is under pressure.

“I think some pressure is on the team,” Labbe said on NASCAR America. “They’ve never arrived at Watkins Glen in the past needing a win … The thing the team has to do is not panic.”

Labbe also said that crew chief Todd Gordon “has to call a perfect race.”

Thirteen drivers have claimed a playoff spot with victories, leaving three spots open. Those three spots are owned by Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth. Logano is 69 points behind Kenseth for the final playoff spot.

For more on what Logano faces, watch the video above.

 

NASCAR America from 5-6 p.m. ET: Previewing Watkins Glen

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and previews this weekend’s action at Watkins Glen International.

Carolyn Manno hosts from Stamford, Connecticut, and is joined by Dale Jarrett at Watkins Glen and Slugger Labbe at NBC Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • We’ll have highlights of Xfinity Series practice. Plus, we’ll look ahead to Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series race.
  • We’ll go into the vault and relive some of Watkins Glen’s best moments with This Day in NASCAR and our top-5 list.
  • Watkins Glen will be a welcome site for a struggling Joey Logano. Will the historic road course provide the right formula for a ticket to the 2017 playoffs? We’ll examine his chances.
  • We’ll take a look back at the last seven days which provided a season’s worth of storylines.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.