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    Say It Ain't So, Dale!

    jarrett2.jpgThis weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, the clock finally winds down on the career of the 1999 Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett, a little more than a hundred miles from the Hickory, N.C. track where his racing career began in the 1970s. Jarrett first broke into the senior circuit in 1984 and landed a full-time ride in 1987, moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and winning the first of three Daytona 500s in 1993. From there, Jarrett went on to drive for Robert Yates Racing in 1996 in the blue #88 Ford Motor Credit car, and for the next 6 seasons he finished in the top-five in points every year, perennially challenging Jeff Gordon for the champion-ship in the height of Gordon’s career. It’s been said, however, that the true measure of a man is not from what he does but rather how others speak of him, and it’s clear from the interviews of the fellow drivers with whom he has competed against over the past 21 years that he is held in the highest regard among his peers. Jarrett fans are obviously saddened by his departure and disappointed that he won’t be a part of Michael Waltrip Racing’s eventual success in the UPS Toyota, but the silver lining is that he’ll be moving to the broadcast booth for ESPN, so although he won’t be driving anymore he’ll continue to have as big an impact on the sport as he always has.ups44.jpg

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