FOOD CITY 500 - BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY


NAPA RACING PRESS BOX FEATURING MICHAEL WALTRIP

Do you have to change mentality as a driver since you have gone from superspeedway and intermediate racing to a two-week stretch of short-track racing?
“I don’t think you do at all. It’s the same 42 guys that you are going to line up against. They are going to race you just like they do everywhere else. You have to bring your A game and you race every lap like it is the last one. That’s how NASCAR racing works.”
 
Bristol is the fifth race of 2009 which means after the race, NASCAR  locks in the top-35 drivers using this year’s owner points. What do you expect to see?
“It is certainly an interesting story that we have going on back there. You have the No. 71 team. Those guys have done a great job getting themselves into the top 35. Mark Martin is just barely in as well as Ryan Newman. Then outside, you’ve got Scott Speed. At Martinsville Speedway, he may have to qualify in on speed unless something good happens to him this weekend. It certainly is going to be fun watching the points standings play out.”

You have won at Bristol two times in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. What did it mean to you and your team to finish first?
“Winning at Bristol is special. It is awesome to get to stand in victory lane and feel over 100,000 people cheering. It’s quite a feeling to have because you know that you were just in an impressive car match. I was fortunate to win Bristol in my Nationwide car that we built behind my house. I think that win meant more to my guys than if we had won Daytona. It is a special feeling to have success at a place like Bristol.”

How has the track changed going from asphalt to concrete as well adding the progressive banking?
“It made the track raceable. It used to be that everyone from first through 42nd had to hit someone if you wanted to pass. It was bump and run. You couldn’t make up any ground any other way. Now, we have two lanes. If someone is running the bottom, you have an option to go up to the top and get around them. I am just a big fan of racing. I don’t like to see a bunch of cautions. It’s amazing now to see that we actually have green-flag pit stops at Bristol. We used to never see that. Now we do. We also get to run three wide at Bristol. That’s another thing that we used to never see. The racing is great now.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 730th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in Bristol, Tenn.
  • He will start in his 46th 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-5 and eight top-10 finishes. His average start is 23rd and average finish is 20th. Waltrip has completed 19,679 of 22,348 laps (88.1%) at the track and has led a total of 69 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 Food City 500. The team finished 29th in the owner points standings in 2008. Currently, Waltrip ranks 16th in the driver and owner points standings
NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics – Bristol Motor Speedway
YEAR START FINISH
4/6/1986 24 32
8/23/1986 22 13
4/12/1987 23 13
4/10/1988 22 12
8/27/1988 32 31
4/9/1989 7 11
8/26/1989 11 32
4/8/1990 20 20
8/24/1990 27 9
4/17/1991 25 23
8/24/1991 31 25
4/5/1992 10 17
8/29/1992 22 14
4/4/1993 15 14
8/28/1993 24 10
4/10/1994 23 5
8/27/1994 28 7
4/2/1995 33 22
8/26/1995 3 15
3/31/1996 25 10
8/24/1996 6 6
4/13/1997 39 21
8/23/1997 33 25
3/29/1998 32 9
8/22/1998 12 16
4/11/1999 39 12
8/28/1999 14 37
3/26/2000 23 11
8/26/2000 19 19
3/25/2001 29 22
8/25/2001 40 39
3/24/2002 9 30
8/24/2002 3 22
3/23/2003 28 25
8/23/2003 3 42
3/28/2004 8 10
8/28/2004 36 27
4/3/2005 27 19
8/27/2005 22 15
3/26/2006 34 32
8/26/2006 29 16
8/25/2007 16 23
4/16/2008 40 23
8/23/2008 42 30
EVENT FACTS
Race: 5 of 36
Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway

Length: .533-mile oval
Distance: 500 laps/266.5 miles

Date: Sunday, March 22
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
FOX, PRN, Sirius XM Radio

2008 Winner: Jeff Burton
2008 Pole: Jimmie Johnson

Notables
Sprint Cup Qualifying:
3:30 p.m. ET
Friday, March 20
SPEED

Sprint Cup Practices:
12 p.m. ET
Friday, March 20
SPEED

Tape Delay
1 p.m. ET Sat., March 7
SPEED

This Week in NASCAR
8 p.m. ET, March 23
SPEED