Despite suffering a terrible year on and off the track in 2003, the #88 Robert Yates Racing UPS Ford team driven by Dale Jarrett will remain intact for another three seasons at least after the 1999 Winston Cup Champion signed a contract extension running until the end of the 2006 season.

Although Jarrett has suffered arguably his worst season in NASCAR's top flight since graduating full-time in 1987 this year, the new deal ensures that both driver and sponsor will stay together through the first three seasons of NASCAR Nextel Cup competition.

After taking victory in the second round of the 2003 title chase at North Carolina Speedway back in February Jarrett hasn't recorded another top five finish all season and currently sits a lowly 26th in the Winston Cup points table.

In addition to their on-track worries, which have included eight retirements in 30 starts, the UPS team have been rocked this year by the death of Tara Parker, wife of crew-chief Shawn Parker who in turn was brought in mid-season to replace out-of-favour brothers Brad and Todd Parrott.

"We couldn't be happier to have Dale's contract done through 2006," said team owner Robert Yates. "We've had a great relationship with Dale Jarrett and it's one we look forward to continuing. Dale and I started the #88 team together and I am lucky to still have him in the car. Dale and I both knew this contract extension was going to happen, it was just a matter of finding the time to sit down, putting everything out on paper and getting it signed."

In nine seasons together, Jarrett and Robert Yates have combined to form one of the most formidable teams in the NASCAR garage. In addition to winning the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship, Jarrett and Yates have scored 28 wins and14 Bud Pole Awards.

Behind the wheel of the #88 Robert Yates Racing Fords, Jarrett has scored wins in some of NASCAR's most prestigious events including victories in the 1996 and 2000 Daytona 500, and the 1996 and 1999 Brickyard 400.

"The biggest thing for everybody to understand is even though things have been difficult this year we weren't about to give up on this team and our goals," Jarrett said. "It's gratifying for me to know that Robert and Doug Yates and UPS want to continue this and believe in this to continue. I'm looking forward to seeing this team back where it belongs and that's winning races and contending for championships."

 

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