Monday, October 05, 2009

Early Crash Takes Waltrip Out of the Running at Kansas Speedway NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Relegated to 38th-Place Finish

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – For the second straight week, a crash put a kibosh on Michael Waltrip’s chances for a solid finish. During Sunday’s running of the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway, the two-time Daytona 500 champion was forced to take evasive action on lap six to avoid Paul Menard who lost control of his car in Turn 2. Waltrip successfully made it by, but was then crashed by another car. It resulted in significant damage to the right front of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. The team went to work in the garage and got Waltrip back out on lap 77, but all he could do was gain positions through attrition to finish 38th.

“For the second week in a row, we had bad luck,” said Waltrip who started the 267-lap event in 29th position. “I didn’t even get a chance to break a sweat. Menard spun out and I slowed down. I was able to miss him and another car. I thought I was going to be OK and then I got hit. I guess the guys behind me couldn’t see what was happening. I got ran over.”

Points leader and pole sitter Mark Martin led the field to the green flag and in two laps, the NAPA Toyota was scored in 23rd position – a gain of six spots. The second lap in the race also saw Joey Logano go for a spin in Turn 2. The race went back to green on lap five, but three circuits later, Waltrip’s promising day ended prematurely.

“It’s a shame because the NAPA Toyota was good,” added Waltrip. “We struggled all weekend, but Gene (Nead) and the guys got together and came up with a plan. When the race started, my car turned really well. It was just a little free off the corners. It was a lot better than yesterday. We made progress and it resulted in a strong start.”

Winning the Price Chopper 400 was Tony Stewart. He had a top-10 car all day but a call for two tires on the final stop enabled him to come out on top as Greg Biffle’s team opted for a four-tire stop that took longer to complete. Stewart won the battle off pit road to claim his fourth victory of the season. Following Stewart to the checkered flag to round out the top-10 finishers were Jeff Gordon, Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing’s David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.

Waltrip’s other teammate Marcos Ambrose had a solid showing as well in only his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series outing at Kansas. He crossed the line in 14th place.

Next Sunday, the Chase moves out west to the Auto Club Speedway. Broadcast coverage gets underway at 1 p.m. eastern on ABC. It can also be heard on MRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

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