The NAPA Racing team is coming off a good weekend at Martinsville. Recap your weekend.
“When we unloaded, I ran the first few laps and I thought, ‘Man, this is cool.’ My NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota felt like it needed to. My other two teammates were able to make qualifying runs and got up into the top 10 on Friday’s practice sheet. The NAPA team never made a qualifying run. We just worked on our race set up. We were pretty confident that we would be very competitive on Sunday and indeed, we were. I am proud of my team and I am proud of the progress my organization continues to make.”
What makes Texas Motor Speedway challenging and fun for you to drive?
“It’s just a strange track. It’s really unique. It’s fast and the exits of the corners are just really sharp. It’s weird. They flatten out in a hurry and they are tight. While it is a wide open and fast track, it is very technical. You have to really watch exiting both Turns 2 and 4.
“You’ll also see cars running at the bottom and at the top. As the track has matured, the groove is widened out. You can certainly make good time on the bottom, which is where we saw last year’s winner Carl Edwards run. I like to run up top at times so you have options there.”
Is there a difference between Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway?
“They are actually quite different and that’s mainly because of the pavement. The pavement at Texas has a lot of grip. You are going to run a really fast speed in qualifying, but you are also able to maintain that speed throughout a race run. When it comes to lifting off the gas, you do it at both places. At Atlanta, once you get into a green-flag run, you probably lift more times than you are on the gas. You coast forever. The same thing happens at Texas. In qualifying trim you are going to really hold the gas down and run a fast lap. But once you get some time on those tires, the grip starts to go away. You will ride up the hill and then be off the gas a lot. You may also be on the brake a little bit.”
When it comes to Sunday’s race, do you expect it to be about pit strategy? Will fuel mileage determine the outcome of the race?
“I don’t think we’ll see that kind of a race played out this weekend. It’s funny how it works sometimes. At the end of the year, you seem to line up some of those types of races, but I don’t see it happening this time. I think the winner will have to outrun the competition instead of outlast them.”
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
|NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics – Texas Motor Speedway|
|2009 NAPA AUTO PARTS PIT CREW|
|Ryan Langley||Front Tire Changer|
|Chris Hall||Front Tire Carrier|
|Tony Cardamone||Jack Man|
|Andy Thurman||Rear Tire Changer|
|Dwayne Moore||Rear Tire Carrier|
|Shawn Soules||Catch Can|
|Ron Otto||Eighth Man|
|Mike Ellershaw||Hose and Sign|
|Craig Harper||Gas Runner|
|Mark Maloney||Second Gas Can|
Race: 7 of 36
Texas Motor Speedway
Length: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Distance: 334 laps/501miles
Date: Sunday, April 5
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
FOX, PRN, Sirius XM Radio
2008 Winner: Carl Edwards
2008 Pole: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Sprint Cup Qualifying:
4:30 p.m. ET
Friday, April 3
Sprint Cup Practices:
1 p.m. ET
Friday, April 3
12 p.m. & 1 p.m. ET Saturday, April 4
Nationwide Series Race:
2:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 4 ESPN 2
This Week in NASCAR
8 p.m. ET, March 30