Wednesday, August 19, 2009


What is your take on The Chase?
“With just three races left to get into The Chase, it is really tight. If you are Juan Pablo Montoya in seventh, he cannot rest easy. If he breaks a motor, he could very well be on the cusp of not making it. Drivers in positions seventh and all the way down to 16th have a shot of making it into The Chase. Anything can happen. I am glad to see Reutimann is still in it as a contender. He’s just 100 points out.”

Why is fuel mileage coming into play quite a bit this season when determining the outcome of a race?
“It’s all about strategy. Crew chiefs are making the drivers pit outside their window and it is not uncommon for a crew chief to say you can go 45 laps, but pit with 55 to go and save me some gas. If you can go 45, then why go 55? It gives them track position, but it doesn’t give them enough gas to get to the finish. It’s all about trying to get that competitive edge. At Michigan, the driver that finished 33rd was leading the race when he ran out of fuel. The guy that finished 31st was running in the top five when he ran out. That’s how competitive things are. That’s how tightly the cars are stacked together. You just have to take chances. I don’t really like talking about races being all about fuel mileage. It’s all about strategy.”

Bristol is the last track we go to this season that has pits on the front and backstretch. Is it tough pitting there?
“If you are pitting on the back straightaway under green-flag conditions, you’ll come down the front straightaway and it can be confusing. People have to understand that you are running a half mile in 15 seconds. Spotters are so important at Bristol to help keep us straight and provide us with all kinds of information. The driver needs to be told with 10 to go that he’s going to pit and where he needs to go. Drivers need all the information they can get at Bristol so they don’t make silly mistakes.”

Bristol is one of your favorite tracks. What are you really looking forward to?
“Double file restarts -- shootout style. They are going to be so much fun.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 747th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in Bristol, Tenn.

He will start in his 47th race at the .533-mile track. His best Bristol start is third, three times (August 26, 1995, August 24, 2002 and August 23, 2003) and best finish is fifth (April 10, 1994).

During his Cup career at BMS, Waltrip has earned one top-five and eight top-10 finishes. His average start is 23rd and average finish is 20th. Waltrip has completed 20,176 of 22,851 laps (88.3%) at the track and has led a total of 71 laps in competition.

In Nationwide Series competition, he has two victories (April 3, 1993 & August 23, 2003), five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

The NAPA AUTO PARTS team is guaranteed a starting spot in the Sharpie 500. Currently, the team ranks 31st in the owner points standings and is 213 points out of the top-25. Waltrip is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.

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