How happy are you to have left Fontana with a top-15 finish?
“I am really proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish at the Auto Club 500. I was nervous heading into this past race weekend because last year, we couldn’t pass a soul. We were terrible. While we got off to a great start at Daytona this month, I knew California would be more indicative to what we would see throughout the course of this season. I believe we have passed an important test. We were really strong throughout the early and middle stages of the race. We started the Auto Club 500 in the last spot and we were able to drive up through the field and pretty much stay on the lead lap. We were able to gain a lot of ground. I am really proud of Bootie (Barker) and the guys and what we were able to accomplish in California. As for my other two drivers, Marcos Ambrose and David Reutimann had good races too so all three teams are off to a good start.”
Do you still like what you see with the new car especially after you drove your Nationwide car this past weekend?
“Absolutely. I really believe this new car is great for racing. The car we are racing now in Cup is a much better race car. Guys can do more stuff by driving them than they could with the old car because the old car was so aero dependant. Now, we are not really leaning on the air that much. We are working on set ups, springs and shocks. It isn’t quite as dramatic when you get behind cars. It makes for much better racing.”
What can we expect to see this weekend at Las Vegas?
“Las Vegas Motor Speedway is really fun to race on. Granted, everyone likes the way the garage is set up. It is very fan friendly. But the best part I like about Las Vegas Motor Speedway is it provides for really good racing. You can go three wide. You can race all over the track. There is a lot of speed out there so it provides for plenty of side-by-side racing. You go to Vegas to do the shows and have fun and when they throw the green flag on Sunday, you are going to see another good show. Plus, it’s always nice to see Wayne Newton and the showgirls in victory lane.”
What does it take to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“When you look at the teams who have been successful, you’ve got Hendrick and Roush. Predominantly, those two teams have been the only ones to have been able to figure Vegas out. When you take those teams into consideration, they are basically going to have nine cars out there. That’s about a quarter of the field that you are going to have to beat. It’s very difficult to overcome those super teams, but it’s not impossible. It’s my plan to take them on and beat them.”
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
|NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics –Las Vegas|
Race: 3 of 36
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Length: 1.5-Mile, Tri-Oval
Distance: 285 laps/427 miles
Date: Sunday, March 1
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Radio
2008 Winner: Carl Edwards
2008 Pole: Kyle Busch
Sprint Cup Qualifying:
6:30 p.m. ET
Friday, Feb. 27
Sprint Cup Practices:
3:00 p.m. ET
Friday, Feb. 27
1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Feb 28
This Week in NASCAR
8 p.m. ET, March 2