The Frontstretch: Behind the Wall: Dale Jarrett and the Chase Contenders by Brandon Daun -- Tuesday August 30, 2005

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Behind the Wall: Dale Jarrett and the Chase Contenders

Brandon Daun · Tuesday August 30, 2005


If NASCAR really wanted to entertain fans, they would edit the schedule so that Bristol Motor Speedway would host the season finale event.  The excitement that we witnessed at Homestead last season could never compare to a race at a short track that would determine a championship.But until Bristol can be added into the Chase, fans that love dramatic races can look back on the Sharpie 500 as the one that may have eliminated several strong contenders from this year’s championship hunt. 

Veteran drivers are often regarded as having more patience and wisdom than that of younger drivers.  Such was not the case Saturday night, when Dale Jarrett took the first opportunity he could to extract revenge on Ryan Newman, who spun him earlier in the event.  Jarrett’s actions caused him to fall three positions in the championship standings, while Ryan Newman fell one position and Kevin Harvick lost two. Newman now is ninth in the standings while Jarrett is 14th and Harvick is 16th.  With drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray also in contention for a place in the Chase, it is doubtful that either Harvick or Jarrett will have a chance at winning a championship this season. 

Aside from damaging other drivers’ chances at claiming a championship, the events that occurred at Bristol Motor Speedway may have damaged the sport for many weeks to come.  Will there be any further actions taken among the drivers?  Will Kevin Harvick or Ryan Newman look to earn payback on Dale Jarrett?  Anything can happen in the next two weeks among these three drivers, and the results will have a large impact on the Chase for the Championship.  Dale Jarrett has damaged his reputation after his actions Saturday night.  Fans may now see him as a driver with no patience and a driver who will do anything he can to get some sort of payback. 

Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth is now a serious contender for a place in the Chase.  While the contenders for the championship have yet to be decided, it is likely that Jack Roush will have all five drivers gunning for this year’s title.  Will fans really find enjoyment in watching a Chase with five of the ten drivers on the same team, or in seeing Jack Roush earn his third consecutive championship?  Before Bristol, Jarrett and Harvick had decent chances at earning a place in the playoffs, and now they will most likely be contending for the eleventh place points position.  I can’t imagine hearing a lot of positive feedback to a championship that will be contended among an entire multi-car race team.

So now that the Bristol banking is now silent until next season, it is time to look to California and Richmond to see who will be contending for the championship this year.  Dale Jarrett’s actions may have ended any chances that he or Harvick had to make the Chase, and may also have put Ryan Newman in jeopardy of falling out of the Top 10.  The events of the Bristol race have drastically affected the NASCAR world, with the fans losing respect for drivers, and the drivers losing respect for each other.  And if anything, Bristol has left many wondering if Dale Jarrett can repair his reputation, or if he will be driving with a bulls-eye on his car for the next few weeks.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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09/01/2005 07:04 AM
Dale Jarrett did less to ruin his reputation than Brandon Daun did by writing this article. Jarrett has been the perverbial “Mister Nice Guy” his entire career. Try, for a moment, to picture yourself in his shoes: you’ve been battling to get into, and stay in, the top ten all season. Other drivers vying for a spot in the chase are having a great race and have fast race cars. There are only 3 races to go. You’re sitting in 7th at a place where track position means everything. Then, Newman (someone very close to you in points)comes up from behind and effectively ruins everything you’ve worked so hard for all season. Could you even begin to image how that would make you feel? I don’t want to hear any excuses like, “well, that’s Bristol.” Or, “he should have used better judgement.” Jarrett by no means meant to involve Harvick, and I’m sure he just feels aweful about that. But he sure as hell doesn’t feel sorry for putting Newman in the wall, nor should he. Jarrett was doing what anyone of us would have done when they feel like everything they have done this season was taken away in an instant by one driver. I’m not saying what he did was right, nor am I condoning his actions. But me most certainly did not lose any respect. For too long he has gone about his driving quietly, almost too quietly. Some of his fans questioned whether or not the fire still burned. With that rash and irresposible action Jarrett’s fire is no longer in question.
09/01/2005 03:52 PM
You said Jarrett’s actions
caused him to fall three
positions in the standings.
I guess you didn’t notice how
he would drop in the points when
Newman wrecked him!
09/01/2005 10:07 PM
Everyone seems to be blaming DJ for this wreck. But think about it, Who usually is causing the Problems. The so called “young-guns”. Look at Bristol Newman got into DJ. Edwards got into both the Petty Cars. All season long DJ has been getting rrun over by this younger driver and about wreck or did wreck. {i.e Edwards at the Coke 600 Bump Drafting, Shane Hmeil at the Spring Bristol race, Earnhardt Jr at the Glen.] Yes all this driver say it was a accident, but how many “accidents” does it take before ya get fed up with there driving. So maybe banging up this young drivers is the only way that they will learn to be more careful when ya racing someone. And as for saying give DJ a fine, if NASCAR does i am sure that Rusty would be more then willing to help DJ pay that fine.
09/04/2005 02:13 PM
I guess no one noticed, so I’ll say it again: Newman did NOT take DJ out of the race for the chase. When DJ spun himself and Ryan out, he was running 6th or 7th. Therefore it was NOT Newman’s fault Jarrett ain’t gonna make it, but his own fault.