From what I've observed DJ is a great person. Unfortunately, he has recently proven to be less than a great NASCAR driver with regard to either placing well or winning. I'm sure I couldn't possibly have the depth of knowledge with regard to the big scheme of things as the UPS committee responsible for this decision. With that said, I believe they made the wrong choice.
NASCAR is all abt. $$$ say what you want abt, their fans etc. but NASCAR knows how to make $$ as does UPS the "FIRST TOYOTA" in NASCAR = big $$$$......which I'm sure will "tinkle down" on us......... in 08 right?????
While it is an undeniable fact that Dale Jarrett's recent performances have been poor, it is just as important to point out that his teammate, Elliot Sadler, has not been doing well neither. Elliot Sadler is currently ranked 19th in points, with DJ ranked 21st in points respectively. With that said, many NASCAR critics and journalist believe that the majority of blame belongs to the team, and not to the individual drivers. After all, you are only as good as your equipment. The bottom-line is that Robert Yates Racing (RYR) has not built competitive cars for their drivers, and has had a hard time adjusting to the newer Ford Fusion chassis. The fact that RYR only fields two cars in the cup also hurts their chances, because they have lower amounts of data collected, with an even lower number of personnel and engineers to analyze that data, and to see what works...and in RYR’s case, what doesn't work. The teams that consistently perform better, i.e. Roush (5 cars), Hendrick (5), Gibbs (3), Childress (3), have a lot more chances to learn from mistakes and make appropriate changes to their vehicles every race weekend. Waltrip Racing will initially field three cars.
With that said I believe that signing with Jarrett and Toyota will be a great move in both business and racing performance.
As the World's second largest automaker only behind General Motors, Toyota continues to outperform and increase revenue, while other companies are quickly losing market share. According to a July 3rd 2006 article by Bloomberg.com, sales for the month of June were poor for almost all companies except Toyota. GM's decline was at 26 percent from a year earlier and Ford's was down 6.9 percent. DaimlerChrysler AG's sales tumbled 13 percent, with a 15 percent slide at Chrysler. Honda Motor Co. rose less than 1 percent and Nissan Motor Co. slid 19 percent. Toyota on the other hand, posted a 14 percent gain. Take a look at their stock prices; Toyota has an overwhelming lead with prices at $104.38 per share, followed by DaimlerChrysler at $49.10, and GM at $29.48 per share. By the way, the Camry is the best-selling car in the United States (Forbes).
When UPS decided to follow Jarrett to Waltrip Racing, it also made a partnership with Toyota. Toyota is a powerful leader in the auto industry whose reputation is that of reliability, quality, and service...characteristics which UPS shares with Toyota, and would love to market to potential consumers. Toyota also has a greater appeal to many international customers, which equates to a larger following and consumer core, for UPS to target in its marketing campaigns. According to CNBC, "NASCAR estimates it has some 75 million fans that purchase over $2 billion in annual licensed product sales. They are among the most brand-loyal, with an estimated 72 percent opting to buy the products sponsoring their favorite drivers." In other words, a Toyota loyalist who associates with the partnership between UPS and Toyota is more likely to ship goods via UPS than FedEx, as would a DJ fan. Despite his fading statistics, Dale Jarrett has a huge fan following, and keeping that fan base is a positive for UPS. As UPS continues to expand internationally, this kind of publicity and marketing potential is a tremendous asset to our growth.
As far as racing goes, there will be a clear parallel between Toyota's statistics in sales and in racing, both will OUTPERFORM.
During its inaugural season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, a Toyota Tundra visited 'Victory Lane' four times and recorded five pole positions, as well as 25 top-five finishes. It claimed additional bragging rights with the 2004 Rookie of the Year driving a Toyota. That following year in 2005, a Toyota Tundra made it to 'Victory Lane' nine times and Tundra drivers registered 13 pole positions, as well as 40 top-five finishes.
The fact is that other teams are afraid of Toyota's potential to create a major rift in the Nextel Cup. Toyota will spend millions on research and development in order to ensure that its teams have all the resources they need to do well and win. While other automakers are reducing the amount of money spent on R&D, Toyota will continue to increase cash flow to their investment.
Finally, for all you Dale Jarrett nay sayers, you only have two more years. After these two years, UPS will have a great opportunity to sign a younger and more competitive driver to compete against Denny Hamlin of FedEx. These drivers will be more attracted to driving a Toyota, and the chance to be associated with both a leading racing team and sponsor will give UPS the crème of the crop to choose from.
IMHO, it's behind the scenes, and jarrett himself why they aren't doing good. Maybe the 2007 season will bring jarrett to race the truck. As mentioned before, it's all about the $$$$. Just think of the publicity having Toyota in NASCAR for the first time+Waltrip+UPS=$$$$. Who cares about a winning driver. Although it would nice to see Jarrett win much more.