Today it was announced that Patrick Carpentier will drive for you next week at Infineon Raceway. What prompted your decision to do that?
“There are so many great road course racers competing in Sonoma this year, and as the owner and driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, I am in a unique position,” said Waltrip who has two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his NASCAR Sprint Cup road racing career. “If I see where I can improve my car’s performance then that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am a good road racer, but Patrick is a great road racer.
“I love being an owner and I want to get another win for NAPA. It will feel just as good if I get the victory for NAPA or watching from the pit box with Patrick driving the car. I appreciate NAPA allowing me to make these kind of personnel moves when I feel it is best for the team.”
What do you like about racing at Michigan International Speedway?
Michigan provides for a fun day of racing. You can go up high and run up against the wall or you can cut to the very bottom. You can expect to see people in the same car doing both things. Your car may work on the bottom, but then you may need to change things up and go up against the wall to find speed. You just have to drive your car and that’s what you love about the track as a driver – you can drive it anywhere. Sometimes you just have to adjust your line based on what your car is asking for.
“I like what we see during qualifying. It will be impressive as I expect to see speeds over 210 miles per hour heading into a corner. That’s hard to imagine but it’s true. It’s impressive considering the big, old car we race.”
How hard will Michigan be on engines?
“With the new gear rule that we run, the engines are not stressed as much as they used to be. In the past, we used to gear our motors for the back straightaway. We needed a lot of power down that short, back straightaway and it turned too much on the front side. Now, NASCAR has us in a box where we can turn our engines. You will see some failures on Sunday. It is inevitable, but I don’t feel it is a big deal.”
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Michigan International Speedway
2009 NAPA AUTO PARTS PIT CREW
|Shannon Myers||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: 15 of 36
Michigan International Speedway
Length: 2-Mile, D-Shaped Oval
Distance: 200 laps/400 miles
Date: Sunday, June 14
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN; Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Ch. 128
2008 Winner: Dale Jr.
2008 Pole: Kyle Busch
Friday, June 12 at 3 p.m.
Fri., June 12 at 11:30 a.m.
Sat., June 13 at 11 a.m. &
This Week in NASCAR
Monday, June 15 at 8 p.m.
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All Times Eastern