Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Michael Waltrip Previews LifeLock 400 at Michigan Int'l Speedway


Today it was announced that Patrick Carpentier will drive for you next week at Infineon Raceway. What prompted your decision to do that?
“There are so many great road course racers competing in Sonoma this year, and as the owner and driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, I am in a unique position,” said Waltrip who has two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his NASCAR Sprint Cup road racing career. “If I see where I can improve my car’s performance then that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am a good road racer, but Patrick is a great road racer.

“I love being an owner and I want to get another win for NAPA. It will feel just as good if I get the victory for NAPA or watching from the pit box with Patrick driving the car. I appreciate NAPA allowing me to make these kind of personnel moves when I feel it is best for the team.”

What do you like about racing at Michigan International Speedway?
Michigan provides for a fun day of racing. You can go up high and run up against the wall or you can cut to the very bottom. You can expect to see people in the same car doing both things. Your car may work on the bottom, but then you may need to change things up and go up against the wall to find speed. You just have to drive your car and that’s what you love about the track as a driver – you can drive it anywhere. Sometimes you just have to adjust your line based on what your car is asking for.

“I like what we see during qualifying. It will be impressive as I expect to see speeds over 210 miles per hour heading into a corner. That’s hard to imagine but it’s true. It’s impressive considering the big, old car we race.”

How hard will Michigan be on engines?
“With the new gear rule that we run, the engines are not stressed as much as they used to be. In the past, we used to gear our motors for the back straightaway. We needed a lot of power down that short, back straightaway and it turned too much on the front side. Now, NASCAR has us in a box where we can turn our engines. You will see some failures on Sunday. It is inevitable, but I don’t feel it is a big deal.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 740th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the 15th event of the 2009 Sprint Cup season, the LifeLock 400, gets underway at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Waltrip has competed in 47 events at MIS. His best start is first (June 23, 1991) and best finish is fourth (June 16, 2002) in the NAPA machine. In total, he has two top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Michigan.

Waltrip has completed 8,755 of 9,291 laps (94.2%) at the track and has led a total of 16 laps in competition. His average start is 22nd and average finish is 20th.

Waltrip has raced in 11 Nationwide Series events at MIS. He has collected one win, two top-five and six top-10 finishes. He has led 68 laps in Nationwide Series competition at the track.

Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, Waltrip is 32nd in driver and owner standings. He’s less than 100 points out of the top-25 in the championship standings. He is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.

Race: 15 of 36
LifeLock 400
Michigan International Speedway

Length: 2-Mile, D-Shaped Oval
Distance: 200 laps/400 miles

Date: Sunday, June 14
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET

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