The Chase just tightened up. Are you surprised?
“Chad Knaus was right. Last week on “This Week in NASCAR”, he said the Chase was far from over. His team couldn’t have any problems or it would invite teams back into the mix. After Texas, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are back in contention. It is going to be so much fun for the fans to watch these last two races with the outcome being very much in doubt. A guy like Mark Martin who has been so close to winning several championships now has another chance to race his teammate and win the deal. I think Jimmie Johnson is one of the most underrated drivers in the history of NASCAR. He does more with a race car than I think anyone has ever done. He is going for a fourth-straight championship. I think what happened in Texas wasn’t good for Jimmie obviously, but we now have a battle going into Phoenix.”

What do you like about racing at Phoenix International Raceway?
“What I love about Phoenix is the fans. They come from all over – Canada, the west coast and the central part of the United States. It’s cool to see the fans watching from Rattlesnake Hill. It is just a great event. There is a lot of excitement for the racing in Phoenix because of the intense action on the one-mile track.”

Phoenix has a unique curved pit road. Does it present any challenges?
“I think it is interesting that the curviest part of pit road is the most desirable place to pit. The access road on pit road is an element we have to consider when we have to merge back out onto the track.”

Do you think a shorter schedule would benefit teams and NASCAR?
“I like the schedule just the way it is with 38 weekends during the course of a season. It keeps our sport on the pages of the newspapers and on television all year long. I think we need it to stay the same.”

Do you think we should shorten some of the lengths of the races from 500 miles to 400 miles?
“I think our crown jewel events like the Coca-Cola 600, Daytona 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 should remain the same and make those races the big deals. Then shorten the rest of them to 300 or 400 miles. I think it would make those races be more significant, but yet enhance the competition and make our racing more entertaining at the other venues.”

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts

  • NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will start in his 758th NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he competes
    at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.
  • He will start in his 24th race at the one-mile track. His best PIR start is 11th (Nov. 6, 1988 and Nov. 1, 1992)
    and best finish is second in the NAPA machine (April 23, 2005).
  • During his career at Phoenix, Waltrip has earned two top-five, four top-10 and 12 top-25 finishes. His average start is 28th and average finish is 25th.
  • Waltrip has completed 6492 of 7180 laps (90.4%) at PIR and has led a total of 26 laps in competition.
    • Entering this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the NAPA team is 32nd in the owner points standings and is guaranteed a starting spot in Sunday’s race.


    NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Phoenix

    11/6/1988 11 28 10/28/2001 26 23
    11/5/1989 23 9 11/10/2002 38 20
    11/4/1990 29 43 11/2/2003 17 5
    11/3/1991 30 24 11/7/2004 19 17
    11/1/1992 11 11 4/23/2005 28 2
    10/31/1993 23 9 11/13/2005 42 33
    10/30/1994 25 36 4/22/2006 42 42
    10/29/1995 37 34 11/12/2006 19 42
    10/27/1996 31 16 4/12/2008 28 24
    11/2/1997 30 26 11/9/2008 25 24
    11/7/1999 41 33 4/18/2009 32 37



    Ryan Langley Front Tire Changer
    Richard Coleman Front Tire Carrier
    Getty Cavitt Jack Man
    Mike Ellershaw Rear Tire Changer
    Britt Caulder Rear Tire Carrier
    Art Harris Gasman
    Shawn Soules Catch Can
    Ron Otto Eighth Man
    Craig Harper Gas Runner
    Mark Maloney Second Gas Can

Race: 35 of 36
Phoenix International Raceway

Length: 1.0-Mile Oval
Distance: 312 laps/500K

Date: Sunday, Nov. 15
Time: 2:30 p.m.
ABC, MRN, Sirius XM Radio

2008 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2008 Pole: Jimmie Johnson

Sprint Cup Qualifying:
5:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13

Sprint Cup Practices:
2 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 13

1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14

This Week in NASCAR
Monday, Nov. 16 at 8 pm
Only on SPEED

All Times Eastern