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'Gentleman Jarrett' from the beginning
|Speed Mail Steve|
Ironically, Ned has said on several occasions that he tried to discourage Dale from going into racing. A lot of folks know that Dale is a great golfer, but he was a great athlete in high school, period. He played basketball, and he was the quarterback on the football team. Ned didn't want him to go into racing because he didn't want him to have to deal with the emotional heartache of losing a ride or losing a sponsor. The father remembered several Thanksgiving dinners that were pretty solemn occasions because he had to figure out how he was going to race the following year. Even through all of that, it's what Dale wanted to do, and he went after it. Dale lost a ride driving for Cale Yarborough, and he's lost sponsors. But he hung in there. If there ever was a deserving champion, it would be Dale Jarrett.
NASCAR on FOX and SPEED host and reporter Steve Byrnes has covered racing for more than 20 years.