LOND POND, Pa. (AP) _ Despite success this season that includes victories and being in contention virtually every week, Dale Jarrett and Terry Labonte have much to do if either is to make a serious run at the NASCAR title.

The reason? Dale Earnhardt.

Still, Labonte insists that the 136 points by which he trails the seven-time Winston Cup champion is not an insurmountable barrier.

``There's no question that the Childress team and Dale are in a zone, but that pace is hard for anyone to keep up in this sport,'' Labonte said as he began preparations for the UAW-GM Teamwork 500.

``We knew we needed to work on our consistency if we wanted to stay in the championship race from start to finish, and with a couple of exceptions we've done just what we set out to do.''

Trailing Earnhardt by 215 points after 12 of 31 events, Jarrett realizes his task is even more formidable.

``My job is to beat the 3 car every week,'' he said of Earnhardt. ``And the way he is running, we're going to have to beat him every week.''

For Labonte and Jarrett, Sunday would be a good time to start, especially on a track kind to both last season. Labonte is the defending champion, Jarrett the winner of the most recent event at Pocono International Raceway.

With a victory and series-leading four poles, Labonte is a major force on stock car racing's top circuit for the third year in a row. The only reason the 1984 Winston Cup champion is not closer to fellow Chevrolet driver Earnhardt is a poor start.

``You have to stay out of trouble and be around at the end each week to stay in the hunt,'' the 39-year-old Texan said.

Because of finishes of 24th and 34th in the first two races. Labonte has been scrambling since to get back in the fight. He has done well, with top-five finishes in eight of his last nine races.

``None of the other teams and drivers can do anything about how well another team might be running at a given point in the season,'' he said when asked if he closely monitors Earnhardt. ``You just need to take care of your own business and try to reach your goals.

``Hopefully, we'll keep on track with ours.''

Ford driver Jarrett began his season with a flourish, prevailing in the non-points Busch Clash before taking the Daytona 500 for the second time. He led the points race after each of the first seven events, but fell to third by finishing 29th at North Wilkesboro in April.

His worst showing this season was 36th, when he spun on some fluid and crashed while contending two weeks ago at Dover. It dropped him to fourth in the points race.

Jarrett is in a unique position, one certain to keep him busier than most drivers over the next 2 1/2 months. On Labor Day weekend, he will try to become just the second driver ever to claim a $1 million bonus for winning three of NASCAR's biggest races in the same year.

``It's definitely going to be on our minds, even though we've got a lot of work to do between now and then,'' Jarrett said. ``To ever have thought when I started in this business a little over 18 years ago that I'd be racing one day to win a million dollars in one race is pretty unbelievable.''

In addition to his victory in the Daytona 500, the 39-year-old son of two-time Winston Cup champion Ned Jarrett won the Coca-Cola 600 last month at Charlotte. The younger Jarrett will win the big bonus with a triumph at in the Southern 500 at Darlington.

Both he and Labonte figure to be among those battling for the pole in qualifying Friday for the $1.3 million UAW-GM race at Pocono. Also expected to make a strong run for the front row are the Chevrolets of Labonte's teammates, Jeff Gordon and Ken Schrader.