Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michael Waltrip - Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Preview


What are your expectations for this weekend?
“Our car was really good at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I was really proud of my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. In my opinion, Indy is a whole lot like New Hampshire. Hopefully, we can figure out how to get the NAPA Toyota up front at Indy.”

What makes Indy a unique track?
“It is basically symmetrical. It might be a foot or two different, but both ends are alike. However, because of the grandstands, it looks like you are going to go into a tunnel with all the people. It makes Turn 1 look twice as tight as Turn 3, when in reality, they are exactly the same. For some reason, it is tough to get that in your brain that there are no differences. You have to fight yourself to try and drive both ends the same way. The corners are also sharp which just makes momentum be the name of the game. If you can somehow get your car set entering the corner a little bit before the guy ahead of you, and get that gas down and hold that inside, the momentum you make off the turn is how you pass people.”

What do you need to run well at Indianapolis?
“It takes everything to run well at Indy. The car needs to handle well. It needs a lot of downforce to get through the corners and it has to have a lot of power. Indy is a track where the teams with big power usually run well. The car has got to handle well because it has four turns that require you to get through them well so that you can carry your momentum heading into the long straightaways. It is a lot easier to run well there when you have a car that has a lot of horsepower. It is definitely a horsepower track.”

Heading into Indy are you happy with MWR’s on-track performance so far?
“When I was going to the airport after the Chicago race, I read where Hendrick Motorsports got its 27th one-two finish. MWR hasn’t had any yet. I realize that Mr. Hendrick has been doing this for 25 years and we have been doing it for just over two years. We have a lot of good people at MWR that are trying to figure out what we need to make these cars even better. David Reutimann remains in contention for that top-12 bid to get into The Chase. Our organization is focused on that. We’ll just keep plugging to get better and to figure out why those other cars can go faster than ours. I believe that David, Marcos Ambrose and I can drive better than where we are finishing. We are competitive, but we can always do better. We just need to keep tweaking on the cars and it will come to us.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 744th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the 20th event of the 2009 Sprint Cup season, the Brickyard 400, gets underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

  • He will start in his 14th race at the Brickyard. His best start is third (Aug. 7, 2005) and best finish is eighth (Aug. 6, 1994).

  • Waltrip has completed 1937 of 2081 laps (93.1%) at the track and has led a total of one lap in competition. His average start is 17th and average finish is 23rd.

  • The NAPA AUTO PARTS team is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. The team is 30th in the owner points standings.

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