ATLANTA 500 ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

NAPA RACING PRESS BOX FEATURING MICHAEL WALTRIP

Last week, MWR named Gene Nead as the interim crew chief for the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for the final 12 races of the season. Robert “Bootie” Barker remains with the organization and is working with driver Max Papis. Talk about the change.
“We have a lot left to race for this year and we had the opportunity to add depth to the organization. Gene will do a good job working with my NAPA team and Bootie can help in other areas that should help me, David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose, and our alliances with Prism Motorsports and Germain Racing. I want us to finish the season strong and anytime your organization can add quality people it should.”

What are your goals for this weekend especially working with a new crew chief?
“I think it is going to be easy for me. It’s just a matter of reporting back to Gene and letting him know what the car is doing. It is not a whole lot unlike what I was doing with Bootie. We just tell the crew chief what the car is doing. Then they go about trying to fix it and make it right. We ran so well at Bristol that it was rejuvenating for the team. It made me feel and know that we can do this job and we can run up front. We’ll just put our head down and make sure we focus on the car and report to Gene what it is doing. He can take it and add his two cents worth. He’ll tell me his thoughts and opinions. We’ll then sit down with all the crew chiefs and engineers and put that information together. I am really looking forward to it, but I don’t look at it as being the difference between daylight and darkness. I look at it as being a variation of what we have done so far this year with me trying to do the same thing and that’s report what the car is doing.”

What will it take to have a good run at Atlanta especially seeing what happened during the March race?
“I’ve run really well there in the past and I just think you have to focus. The track is big and fast, but it is mostly turns. It’s got real long turns so you just have to focus on the handling of your car. You need to get the most out of your car in the corners because that’s how you make up time on the track in Atlanta. I think what Kurt Busch did down there in the spring and winning the race by driving an inch off the wall – that’s how you have to do it.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 748th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the Atlanta 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in Hampton, Ga.
  • He will start in his 48th Sprint Cup race at the 1.54-mile track. His best Atlanta start is fifth (NAPA 500/Nov. 18, 2001) and best finish is fifth (March 18, 1991).
  • During his Cup career at AMS, Waltrip has earned one top-five and eight top-10 finishes. His average start is 24th and average finish is 22nd. He has completed 12,834 of 15,175 laps (84.6%) at the track and has led a total of 49 laps in competition.
  • The NAPA AUTO PARTS team is guaranteed a starting spot in the Atlanta 500. The team is currently 32nd in the owner points standings – just 190 points out of the top 25 in points.

NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Atlanta

YEAR START FINISH YEAR START FINISH
11/3/1985 19 39 11/16/1997 35 13
3/16/1986 31 19 3/10/1998 32 18
11/2/1986 22 20 11/8/1998 28 22
3/15/1987 16 39 3/14/1999 24 10
11/22/1987 26 38 11/21/1999 8 36
3/20/1988 16 12 3/12/2000 28 25
11/20/1988 28 7 11/20/2000 25 39
3/19/1989 13 20 3/11/2001 10 23
11/19/1989 30 26 11/18/2001 5 26
3/18/1990 19 38 3/10/2002 17 40
11/18/1990 27 14 11/27/2002 15 11
3/18/1991 13 5 3/9/2003 6 27
11/17/1991 7 40 10/26/2003 13 38
3/15/1992 21 28 3/14/2004 15 23
11/15/1992 25 14 10/31/2004 40 14
3/20/1993 22 14 3/20/2005 37 7
11/14/1993 31 6 10/30/2005 37 11
3/13/1994 32 23 3/20/2006 24 20
11/13/1994 27 10 10/29/2006 39 33
3/12/1995 39 35 10/28/2007 24 11
11/13/1995 7 12  3/9/2008 27 30
3/10/1996 27 9 10/26/2008 29 37
11/10/1996 33 11 3/8/2009 24 25
3/9/1997 31 7

EVENT FACTS
Race: 25 of 36
Atlanta 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway

Length: 1.54 Mile, Quad-   Oval
Distance: 325 laps/500 miles

Date: Sunday, Sept. 6
Time: 7 p.m.
ESPN, PRN, Sirius XM Satellite Radio

2008 Winner: Carl Edwards
2008 Pole: Inclement Weather

Notables
Sprint Cup Qualifying:
4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5
SPEED

Sprint Cup Practices:
11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5
SPEED

This Week in NASCAR
8 p.m.
Monday, September 7
SPEED

ALL TIMES EASTERN


2009 NAPA AUTO PARTS PIT CREW

Ryan Langley Front Tire Changer
Eric Wakeland Front Tire Carrier
Tony Cardamone Jack Man
Mike Ellershaw Rear Tire Changer
Don Marvel Rear Tire Carrier
Art Harris Gasman
Shawn Soules Catch Can
Ron Otto Eighth Man
Craig Harper Gas Runner
Mark Maloney Second Gas Can