Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waltrip Previews New Hampshire

Sunday was the first time you were not at a track since November of 1985. What was it like watching the race as a car owner from home?

“It was awesome to be able to see all the cars on the road course and follow all the strategies that were being implemented by the teams to try and win the race. Marcos Ambrose started last. His crew chief Frankie Kerr made an awesome call by having him pit on lap 13. You will find that if you do the same thing the leaders do all day long at Infineon Raceway; you are never going to catch them. You have to mix it up there. Frankie went out on the edge and had Marcos pit early and out of sequence. Marcos ran fast times by himself and did not get mixed up in all the traffic. They ended up having a really strong day by finishing third. I also enjoyed watching Patrick Carpentier do a nice job for us by finishing 11th in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. Reutimann was 23rd with a couple of laps to go and got knocked off course so he ended up 31st. That’s much better than the 41st-place finish he earned the year before. He’s now only 40 points out of ‘The Chase’ so the way he runs week in and week out, he can certainly wedge his way back into it.”

This weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a short race. As a driver, do you approach the race differently by racing hard as soon as the green flag drops?

“I think it has gotten that way for all of the races. The competition is just so tough. You have to be on your game at the drop of the green flag. You can go a lap down if you are just a little bit off. You have to push from the very start. The event doesn’t race any different to me because of the intensity you need in order to have success at this level at all tracks.”

You’ve always liked racing there. Why?

“I just love what Mr. Bahre accomplished over the years and all the work he did to bring NASCAR racing to that part of the country. When going up there at this time of year, the weather is refreshing. It is just a fun stop on the circuit. I also love the changes they made to the track. They made it even flatter down low so you have more options. When you go into the corner, you can try to hold it down low on the low line, but there is also some banking up high so it allows for more options when you get down into the corner.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 741st NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the 17th event of the 2009 Sprint Cup season, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, gets underway at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon, New Hampshire.
  • Waltrip will start in his 27th Cup race at the 1.058-mile track. His best start is 4th (July 25, 2004) and best finish is 2nd (June 29, 2008) in the NAPA machine. In total, he has two top-five and five top-10 finishes at NHMS.
  • Waltrip has completed 7,381 of 7,672 laps (96.2%) at the track and has led a total of 78 laps in competition. His average start is 22nd and average finish is 23rd.
  • Last year, a fast NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and good pit strategy enabled Waltrip to record his best finish of the season by scoring second place in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. The event was shortened due to rain and washed out Waltrip’s chance to challenge Kurt Busch for the victory.
  • Waltrip has raced in three Nationwide Series events at Loudon. He has collected one top-five and two top-10 finishes. He has led 13 laps in Nationwide Series competition at the track.
  • Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the NAPA team is 29th in the owner standings. The team is less than 70 markers out of 25th and less than 175 out of the top 20. The NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.

Radio: PRN; Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Ch. 128

This Week in NASCAR
Monday, June 29 at 8 p.m. Only on SPEED
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