What kind of pressure are guys like Kasey Kahne going through right now who are in The Chase, but not locked in?
“David Reutimann is currently 15th in the points. He is just outside and he doesn’t have any pressure. He just needs to race and hope for the best. He did a great job in Atlanta to finish fourth in the Aaron’s Dream Machine. It was awesome. It’s going to be tough for him to make it, but if something happens, he may be able to squeak in. If you are anywhere from seventh to 13th, you know that everything will have to be just right on Saturday night to make it in. Nothing can be taken for granted. Watching guys like Matt Kenseth struggle early in the Atlanta race and then pull it together in the end was impressive. Clint Bowyer didn’t have a good race and it ruined his bid to make The Chase. These guys are going to be walking on a razor’s edge on Saturday night. One mistake and they will be on the outside looking in.”

Talk about the track.
“Richmond International Raceway is a great track. People love the track. It’s been sold out forever. For the drivers, it is fun to drive and there are quite a few drivers that got their first victory at Richmond. It’s a track that has always had a lot of options. Sometimes when a track is repaved, there is one groove and it is the bottom. But when they first repaved Richmond, it didn’t change. We could still go right outside the wall. You’ll see guys literally run up high and scrape the wall in Turn 4 and you’ll also see guys run down low and digging on the bottom. That’s why people like me love the place and it is because of those options that you have as a driver.

“One thing that you will also notice about the track is it gets really crowded. It is three-quarters-of-a-mile in length and there are 43 cars that are competitive. Those cars are going to be arguing over space. You could easily be in contention to win the race starting from 35th or 36th, but it means you will have to make it through all that traffic and survive. It’s very doable, but it isn’t easy.”

Do you think drivers who have multiple wins in a season should be guaranteed a spot in The Chase?
“No. I think drivers have to race every week. You have to be a team that contends on a consistent basis to qualify. Our points system is a good thing so to qualify, I believe consistency is the most important criteria versus the number of wins you have.” 

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 749th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes in the Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va.
  • Waltrip will start in his 45th race at the .75-mile track. His best start is second (Sept. 9, 1990) and best finish is ninth in the NAPA machine on May 14, 2005.
  • During his Cup career at RIR, Waltrip has earned two top-10 and 22 top-25 finishes. His average start is 24th
    and finish is 25th.
  • Waltrip has completed 15,720 of 17,603 laps (89.3%) at the track and has led a total of 81 laps in competition.
    • Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the NAPA team is 32nd in the owner points standings. The NAPA is guaranteed a starting spot in Saturday night’s race.


    NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Richmond

    2/23/1986 21 25 3/2/1997 14 27
    9/7/1986 19 14 9/6/1997 29 35
    3/8/1987 14 12 6/6/1998 33 40
    9/13/1987 7 19 9/12/1998 31 26
    2/21/1988 26 31 5/15/1999 38 22
    9/11/1988 6 12 9/11/1999 36 38
    3/26/1989 22 13 5/6/2000 38 19
    9/10/1989 9 23 9/9/2000 40 43
    2/25/1990 23 27 5/5/2001 12 35
    9/9/1990 2 14 9/8/2001 41 20
    2/24/1991 15 17 5/5/2002 27 24
    9/7/1991 31 30 9/7/2002 26 36
    3/8/1992 7 34 5/3/2003 37 12
    9/12/1992 23 33 9/6/2003 33 32
    3/7/1993 26 23 5/15/2004 18 10
    9/11/1993 15 19 9/11/2004 19 13
    3/6/1994 5 31 5/14/2005 23 9
    9/10/1994 20 26 9/10/2005 28 31
    3/5/1995 35 23 5/6/2006 30 31
    9/9/1995 19 28 5/3/2008 27 37
    3/3/1996 35 36 9/7/2008 34 28
    9/7/1996 22 14 5/2/2009 30 24


    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

Race: 26 of 36
Rock & Roll 400
Richmond Intl Raceway

Length: .75 mile-oval

Distance: 400 laps/300 miles

Date: Saturday, Sept. 12

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN; Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Ch. 128

2008 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2008 Pole: Kyle Busch

Cup Qualifying
Fri., Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m.

Cup Practices
Fri., Sept. 11 at 12 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.

This Week in NASCAR
Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.
Only on SPEED

All Times Eastern