Jarrett will call it quits at site of rocky beginning

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CONCORD, N.C. --- A day after Dale Jarrett drove in his final Sprint Cup points race, he was sinking putts left and right Monday on his way to shooting 69 on the golf course.

So it's perhaps fitting that Jarrett spent Wednesday unveiling his plans for his final track appearance at May's All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. For it was at this track that Jarrett's storied racing career -- and his golf game -- were nearly ruined 28 years ago.

As Jarrett's handlers unveiled a car with a special paint scheme for his final race and track promoters hawked special ticket packages, Jarrett talked about the scary wreck that nearly ended his career before it started.

"When you get out of a car and you're on the ground and your foot is turned the wrong way, then you're not sure what's going to happen," he said.

Jarrett, the son of two-time Cup series champion Ned Jarrett , was a young driver trying to make it in 1980 when he got a spot in the field for a late-model sportsman race at the track an hour from his home in Hickory, N.C.

With three laps to go, Gene Glover blew an engine and Jarrett rammed into the back of Glover's slowing car. The impact shattered Jarrett's ankle.

"They assured me I'd probably walk again," Jarrett said. "They weren't sure about golf, and that was a little upsetting at the time."

Jarrett decided to run only the first five points races this year, finishing 37th on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. But he wanted to end things where his career got off to a rocky start.

Before the 51-year-old becomes a full-time racing analyst for ESPN, he'll be honored on All-Star weekend May 17-18.

Jarrett will be inducted into the track's court of legends with his father, and he hopes his last race gives him his first win in the non-points event.

LAZY DAYS: The Sprint Cup Series will get its first of three open weekends this week, and many drivers will take advantage of the free time by doing nothing.

NASCAR revamped the schedule this year to eliminate the open weekend after the second race, choosing to start the year with two test sessions, an all-star event and five regular season races before giving everyone the weekend off.

"It's always a good time for an off weekend," Jeff Burton said.

The Nationwide Series is scheduled to run at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, but a lot of the Sprint Cup regulars are taking that race off, too.

Kevin Harvick leads the Nationwide Series and owns two cars in Saturday's race. He's taking the day off.

"We will be at home, relaxing and just kind of taking it all in," Harvick said.


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