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JARRETT HOPING TO WIN MORE THAN SHOOTOUT.

Byline: - Tim Haddock

Dale Jarrett enters the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday as the defending race champion.

But what started as a promising year for the Robert Yates Racing driver unraveled into a challenging NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season.

It was his only victory of the year.

``The win certainly was great considering the year we'd had in 2003, so it was a great confidence booster for the team,'' said Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Ford Taurus.

``It wasn't an indicator of how we would perform at the beginning of last season, but it was a great mood lifter for the UPS Team.''

Jarrett even admits that he had a little luck on his side in last year's Shootout.

``Obviously, we didn't have the fastest car in that race last year, but I was able to put our car in front of what was probably the fastest car at the end, which was Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.'s car,'' Jarrett said.

``So that helped us win that race.''

Twenty drivers are eligible for the race, which pits the pole winners from 2004 against each other.

``The Shootout is always a fun race and it is really an event for the fans,'' Jarrett said.

``I've always said that racing at night makes everything appear to be a little more spectacular. It's fun racing at Daytona at night.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 10, 2005
Words:238
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