After Kansas only 114 points separate first from eighth. What is your take on how the Chase is evolving?
“The champion can come from any of those top-eight drivers and the race at Kansas was certainly a Chase defining race for Tony Stewart. He barreled into the start of the Chase leading the points. When he got there, he wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t showing the type of performance that he showed on Sunday. It makes these final races fun to watch as it keeps changing week to week. Tony Stewart went from being one of those eight to now being a favorite. Plus, nine of the top-10 finishers were Chase guys. I’m proud that the other guy was my driver, David Reutimann. But, with that said, you better be on your game. To be the best and win makes a guy like Tony a contender, immediately”
We are racing at a different time than usual at Auto Club Speedway? Do you like the change?
“I am looking forward to racing in the day at the Auto Club Speedway. I think it will be refreshing. The night races there were always fun, but the diversity in the schedule is what I think is really fun for me as a race car driver. You get to go to a track and deal with different variables. It is going to be hot from the word go and until the checkered flag falls. I think it might get a little cooler at the end but not that much.
“Plus, last week we saw a few engine failures. This is a 500-mile race with a high-speed, long, front straightaway. In qualifying, we can get up to 210 mph. It’s amazing we can do that in a stock car. Will engines be a variable? We’ll have to wait and see.”
Last week you started wearing a pink hat. What is that all about?
“October is breast cancer awareness month and NAPA has joined forces with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to raise $250,000. I wanted to show my support for the need to find a cure by wearing the pink hat that NAPA has produced for its employees. This partnership is a big deal for NAPA and it is a big deal for me. We’ll also be going pink at Charlotte. I’ll be driving the blue and pink NAPA/Susan G. Komen Foundation Toyota.”
NAPA GOES PINK! NAPA and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® are teaming up to raise $250,000 for the important cause. During the month of October, consumers who spend $25 or more at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS Stores or NAPA AutoCare Centers will receive a free NAPA/Susan G. Komen for the Cure travel mug.
Then on October 17, Waltrip will climb behind the wheel of the No. 55 NAPA/Susan G. Komen Foundation Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Auto Club Speedway
Media Alert: On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.
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|
|Shawn Soules||Catch Can|
|Ron Otto||Eighth Man||Craig Harper||Gas Runner|
|Mark Maloney||Second Gas Can|
Race: 30 of 36
Auto Club Speedway
Length: 2-Mile, D-Shaped Oval
Distance: 250 laps/500 miles
Date: Sunday, October 11
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN; Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Ch. 128
2008 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2008 Pole: Jimmie Johnson
Fri., October 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Fri., October 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Sat., October 10 at 1:30 p.m. & 2:45 p.m.
(Delay – 3 p.m. ESPN 2)
This Week in NASCAR
Mon., October 11 at 8 p.m.
Only on SPEED
All Times Eastern