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 will start in his 732nd NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • He will start in his 15th race at the 1.5-mile, tri-oval. His best TMS start is fourth (April 8, 2002) and best finish is sixth in his NAPA machine (April 17, 2005).
  • During his career at Texas, Waltrip has earned three top-10 and six top-25 finishes. His average start is 26th and average finish is 24th.
  • Waltrip has completed 4255 of 4686 laps (90.8%) at Texas and has led a total of 14 laps in competition.
  • Waltrip will be pulling double duty in Texas. Besides driving the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, he’ll also be behind the wheel of his No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Nationwide Series event on Saturday, Feb. 14. It will air at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
  • Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, Waltrip is 17th in the driver and owner points standings. The standings are extremely close. The NAPA team is just 40 points out of the top 15 and 74 points out of The Chase. The NAPA is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.
  • NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics – Texas Motor Speedway
    4/7/1997 21 9
    4/5/1998 40 9
    3/28/1999 29 14
    4/2/2000 21 29
    4/1/2001 7 39
    4/8/2002 4 28
    3/30/2003 37 17
    4/4/2004 41 20
    4/17/2005 21 6
    11/6/2005 31 41
    4/9/2006 42 26
    11/5/2006 38 43
    4/6/2008 20 31
    11/2/2008 15 27
    Ryan Langley Front Tire Changer
    Chris Hall Front Tire Carrier
    Tony Cardamone Jack Man
    Andy Thurman Rear Tire Changer
    Dwayne Moore Rear Tire Carrier
    Art Harris Gasman
    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
Samsung 500
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