Dale Jarrett

NASCAR America: Driver-to-driver with Kevin Harvick

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Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick spoke with NASCAR America’s Dale Jarrett about a variety of topics Wednesday in the “Driver-to-Driver” segment.

On Talladega’s placement in the playoffs:

“From a selfish competitor standpoint, it would be great to see it at the end of the regular season. Even if it wasn’t the end of the season, I think it would be great to leave it out of the playoffs just because we spend all year doing things that would be much more predictable in the last 10 weeks.”

Pressure of must-win scenarios in elimination races:

“I like those moments. I think they’re very challenging. I love the thrill of being able to succeed in those moments. Because there’s really no higher high than being able to accomplish something when you have no other option.”

On the Charlotte “Roval”:

“I love the fact that they’re mixing things ups … I like unique events. … I love that Charlotte Motor Speedway stepped out of the box and said hey, let’s run on the roval, the Charlotte road course, whatever you want to call it, have a unique event and see what people think of it.”

Watch the above video for the full interview.

Bump & Run: Who makes the cut at Kansas, who doesn’t?

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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Which four drivers will fail to advance in the playoffs after Kansas?

Kyle Petty: Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (points deficit too great to make up in one race), Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson (for these two I think it comes down to stage points).

Dale Jarrett: Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson. Even though Kenseth has the capabilities of qualifying well and getting the stage points, they haven’t been able to finish off races. I think Ryan Blaney is fast enough to get stage points and can manage a top-10 finish and keep him ahead of Jimmie Johnson.

Nate Ryan: Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray. I think Blaney and Kenseth have shown the speed to be worthy of advancing, but the consistency has been absent.

Dustin Long: Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray. While Blaney has finished no worse than 11th in the last three 1.5-mile tracks, he’s scored two stage points in those races combined. Doesn’t give much confidence he’ll score enough to stay ahead of those behind him Sunday.

Why do you think or don’t think Kyle Busch will advance?

Kyle Petty: Kyle Busch makes it! Two reasons: 1. He has speed, others that are ahead of him have struggled on 1.5-mile tracks. 2. He can score stage points and ultimately win! He’s proved that all year.

Dale Jarrett: Kyle Busch runs up front all day and might even get somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 stage points and then is going to finish in the top three, if not win the race. I think that is enough to get him in there.

Nate Ryan: I think he could win Kansas, and at the very least, I think he will amass enough stage points to propel him back over the cutoff line.

Dustin Long: Wouldn’t surprise me if he won or scored another top five at Kansas to advance. I think the odds are much greater he advances even with his deficit.

What is the best place for Talladega in regards to the playoffs? Regular-season finale? Beginning of a round? Middle of a round? Last race in a round?

Kyle Petty: I like where it is in the middle of a round as a fan. It can help your driver or at least give you hope your driver can come back from a bad Talladega. As a driver I would want it as the first race in a round. So no matter what happened I had two races to recover. As a fan or driver, I hate it as a cut race because, as we saw Sunday, so much that happened is because of plain old luck, good or bad.

Dale Jarrett: I wish we would pose this to the drivers and see where they might want it. I honestly think it’s in the perfect spot right now. I don’t like the idea of it being the first race in a round. I think there is more attention to it and more pressure put on it by being right there in the middle. I think it gives a driver and a team opportunities to look at that first race, which this year was Charlotte, and try to see about getting something done as Martin Truex Jr. did and not have to worry about the consequences of Talladega. Then it also gives you an opportunity on the back end to see where you are and what you need to do. My crazy self as a fan and a media person would love to see it at some point in time be either one of two things — the final regular-season race or the final race of the season to determine the champion.

Nate Ryan: I think Denny Hamlin and the Drivers Council are correct in moving it to the regular-season finale. That seems the best of all worlds – offering protection for drivers already with victories while providing an opportunity for a long shot hoping to snatch a spot. And for winless drivers trying to earn a berth on points, no one likely would be safe – which also feels right.

Dustin Long: I like where it is, but if people want to move it, make it the opening race of the playoffs when then are 16 playoff contenders. That could enhance the next two races as those with bad finishes at Talladega scramble to make it to the next round.

NASCAR America: Don’t count out Kyle Busch at Kansas (video)

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Kyle Busch is ranked ninth, seven points below the cut-off line to advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup playoffs, heading into Sunday’s Round of 12 finale at Kansas Speedway.

While many of his fans may fear that with back-to-back poor finishes at Charlotte and Talladega, Busch will be eliminated at Kansas, the NASCAR America crew on Monday felt exactly the opposite.

They’re bullish on the younger Busch’s chances of advancing to the third round of the playoffs – very bullish.

Here’s why:

Dale Jarrett: “Other years, you have two bad races like he’s had, he wouldn’t have a chance of going to Kansas other than winning. I think he’s very capable of winning at Kansas. He has two opportunities here: he runs well in both stages, let’s say he earns 17 to 20 points and he gets himself in a good position and then he runs in the top-five, which he’s done on a regular basis recently. I think he has great opportunity and gets through (to the Round of 8) with no problem.”

Nate Ryan: “At one point, Kansas Speedway was a house of horrors for Kyle Busch. It took him 10 years to get his first win there. Now, he’s had five straight top-fives there. He had 16 stage points in the race there at May. And because Toyotas are running really well on mile-and-a-half speedways, he’s qualifying well, I think you can count on him amassing a significant number of stage points and probably more than the guy he’s below on the cutline right now, Jimmie Johnson.”

Kyle Petty: “I know we’re looking at the points; don’t look at the points. In the first 26 races, he was in contention almost every week. Honestly, I don’t think the stage points are going to matter … Kyle Busch can go there and win this race and all this speculation, all this doubt, can be thrown out the window. He’s still a favorite, as far as I’m concerned.”

NASCAR America: What Talladega win meant to Yates family (video)

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It was a heartwarming day Sunday for engine builder Doug Yates.

While he was happy that Brad Keselowski and his Ford – powered by a Roush-Yates engine under the hood – won the Alabama 500, it was also a strong reminder of his father, Robert, who passed away nearly two weeks ago.

“My dad and I loved racing here together so much, from the time we started with Davey Allison back in 1987 when he won here,” Doug Yates said. “It’s an emotional time.

“It’s a great place, I’m glad I’m here, feels like coming home, and I know he would be so proud of us and all the hard work that everybody at Roush-Yates Engines put in, and Ford Performance and the drive that Brad Keselowski and Team Penske put on was really special.

“We’re really proud to be here and I know my dad’s smiling today.”

Also, check out what Dale Jarrett, Nate Ryan and Kyle Petty had to say about the significance of the Yates family legacy to NASCAR over the years.

 

 

NASCAR America: Charlotte will provide several challenges for 12 remaining playoff drivers (video)

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When the second round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs begin this Sunday, it presents a number of challenges for the 12 drivers fighting it out for this year’s championship.

First off, it’s imperative for drivers to get off to a good start.

But at the same time, all 12 of the remaining championship contenders will be looking ahead to next week’s race at Talladega.

The reason is simple: a bad showing in Charlotte, coupled with the always unpredictable outcome at Talladega, could seal a driver’s chances of being eliminated from advancing to the third round even before the final race of the second round two weeks from now at Kansas.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Jeff Burton and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett gave their thoughts on Charlotte and looking ahead to Talladega:

BURTON: “Historically, if you run well at Dover, you run well at Charlotte. I think the fact that Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott ran so well, it’s going to show us we’re in contention here and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see those two guys running in the front again at Charlotte. And that starts to mix up who we think the favorites are. I know everybody thinks the top 3 are just walking into Homestead. I don’t believe that. If they have problems, they’re going to have to earn it. I just think Charlotte is very important to set the tempo for the second stage.”

JARRETT: “I think it’s going to show us so much about exactly who’s going to be part of that round of 8. You don’t want to go to Talladega if you had a bad weekend at Charlotte, knowing you have to make up anything there, because it’s already stressful enough and you don’t want to put yourself in that position. But I think a lot of what you do at Charlotte can transfer to Kansas, as well. It’s going to be interesting to see how some of these drivers play this.”

Check out the video above for more of Jarrett’s and Burton’s thoughts.