Archive for August, 2009

Bristol Motor Speedway

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

I always take the week leading up to Bristol off. Monday was a busy day with team meetings. We did the television show Three Wide Life. I also did the TWIN show on SPEED. After that, I left and went to the mountains for a few days to play golf. I love going up there with friends. It’s beautiful up there this time of year. That was basically my week and vacation before going to the track.

I always enjoy going to Bristol Motor Speedway. The fans are amazing. The track is a lot of fun. I appreciate the atmosphere. We didn’t have a very good Friday. Our car wouldn’t turn well through the center of the corner. It just would not rotate and go left as good as I wanted to. We qualified 36th, but Bootie and the NAPA team got with the other two cars and shared information. They traded notes. When the race went green on Saturday night, it was just a good car. It drove well. It turned better. It did everything that I needed it to do. Considering where we started, we were able to race up there pretty well. I was having fun and having a good night. Unfortunately, with a few laps to go, we blew a left rear tire. We had a tire rub and it blew out. It ended our night prematurely. That was very disappointing. Nevertheless, it was a pretty cool night to run well and be able to pass. It was nice to race people and do all the things you sign up to do as a race car driver.

Earlier in the day, we had the NAPA Race Day Experience. There were a lot of people and energy in the tent. It is really fun to hear how excited everyone is about Martin driving the car next year. It makes me feel good that the NAPA folks and everyone in the family are looking forward to him driving my car. That’s going to be pretty cool.

This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are off. I am going to Chicagoland to commentate the Truck race for SPEED on Friday. I will be at the track and looking forward to seeing what happens. The Truck race is a lot of fun for me to be a part of.

Tonight on TWIN, I am going to do something a little different. I am going to Twitter to everyone during the show. The show is taped at 4 p.m. on Mondays, but at 8 p.m. tonight, I will watch the show live with the fans. I will be doing a commentary of what we were talking about and how it played out. If you want to follow, my Twitter address is Twitter.com/mw55. Fans can ask me questions. I think it will be a lot of fun and I believe the show is unique and interesting. By me Twittering, I think it will make more people enjoy it. So if you want to follow along tonight, please do!

All My Best,

Michael Waltrip

Michigan 2

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

The CARFAX 400 was a bad day for the NAPA team. Our car handled really bad. We were really lucky that we didn’t spin out. On the last lap, I was able to pass five people which was kind of fun. We were at Michigan about a month ago and our car handled and ran about the same way. We are disappointed in our car and our performance on Sunday because we should have been a lot better than that. It’s hard to have a day like that. I love to race. I race to win. I race to pass people. I feel like there wasn’t a whole lot of that on Sunday.

The NAPA team needs to concentrate on points to make sure we can get as many as we can for Martin to start the 2010 season with. We beat most of the people behind us and around us in points so that was one positive about Sunday.

It was also a really hot day. I have been training really hard to make sure that when it is a hot day, I am ready to race all the way to the checkered flag. I felt really good physically when I climbed out of my car. Thanks Gio!

As for the other teams, I am really proud of David Reutimann and his No. 00 team. They were able to take their car and get a top-10 finish out of it. He and crew chief Rodney Childers did a good job getting it tuned up. The NAPA team was not able to accomplish that. We were about 30th in every practice. We qualified 30th and that’s pretty much where we ran. We finished 27th. That’s not acceptable. We just need to work really hard on our cars. We need to figure out what Reutimann’s team does that makes them go faster than us. Even Marcos Ambrose and his JTG-Daugherty team struggled at Michigan.

I want to say congratulations to Toyota driver Brian Vickers who won the race. He was one of the drivers favored to win and the “experts” said he could. It was good to see him come through and be fast. His first NASCAR Sprint Cup win was controversial so it’s nice to see him get one like that. He earned it.

Before I go, I want to talk about how fun our hospitality event was with the NAPA people from the U.S. and Canada.  We are really proud to represent them. As usual, the NAPA folks were there in full support. I really wished I could have run better for them. We’ll just go to Bristol and try to do it all over again – but only A LOT better. 

Bye for Now,

Michael Waltrip

Watkins Glen International

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Hi Everyone –

Watkins Glen was really disappointing because our team made such great strides at Infineon Raceway from the time they got there and to the checkered flag. They got an 11th-place finish. I was really proud of the effort at that race. Patrick Carpentier did a great job. This time around, it seemed like they got off on the wrong foot after having that practice crash. They were able to rebound in qualifying and on Saturday. Then on race day, they put themselves in a position where they thought they could be competitive. They certainly ran well to be competitive at the start, but then they kept getting caught up in messes. There were a lot of messes in that race and we were involved in a couple of them that hurt us a lot. We didn’t get a very good finish so that was disappointing. We had high hopes for Watkins Glen.

As for the rest of the organization, I was very proud of the JTG-Daugherty team and Marcos Ambrose. They got us a second-place finish. It shows that our cars are where they need to be. David Reutimann ran competitively. It was the best finish he has ever had on a road course. I am proud of him as well. With all that said, our Sprint Cup teams are done road racing for the rest of the season.

After Watkins Glen, Reutimann is still in a position to make The Chase. It is going to be difficult, but he is still in a position to make it. That’s fun for all of us at Michael Waltrip Racing to watch. Marcos is gaining on just about everyone around him. We still have 14 more races to go and I am looking forward to every single one of them as I’ll be back in the NAPA Toyota for the rest of the season. I plan on having the best runs of the year in these last 14 events. I feel like that is very possible to accomplish because of all the effort and preparation we are doing with our cars and our teams.

One thing I am hoping for when it comes to this weekend is good weather. The weather needs to cooperate with us. It would be nice to actually race on Sunday like we are supposed to. So far the weather is looking like sunny and 85 degrees. Let’s hope it stays that way.

 I’m going to go now and I hope you guys enjoy the race and can catch me on Monday for This Week in NASCAR on SPEED. Have a good rest of the week and enjoy your weekend.

Bye for now,

Michael Waltrip

Pocono

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Hello Everyone –

It was a tough weekend for us at Pocono. Our car wasn’t quite the way we were hoping it would run when we unloaded on Friday. I got sideways in practice. I ran off the road to save it and when I did, it tore up the splitter. I had to go to a back-up car. All and all, we made a lot of progress during the race. We had a chance to have a solid top-20 run and the longer the race went on; the car got even better. It went pretty well. Unfortunately with about 20 laps to go, there was a wreck. I was on the bottom and somebody came down from the top and I had nowhere to go. I hit him. It really messed us up.

The new car is certainly very track-position dependent especially at a place like Pocono. David Reutimann was able to get some track position and run right up front. Unfortunately he got spun around and when he did, he got into our teammate, Marcos Ambrose. All three cars had a tough day.

Marcos is currently in Dover today participating in a Goodyear Tire test. The test is really beneficial for all of us. When a car gets to test like that we should be able to gain some great information from it.

Patrick Carpentier is going the drive the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for me at Watkins Glen. It should be a lot of fun for me to watch.

I am looking for Marcos to be the main man to beat up there at The Glen. I expect Patrick to give him a real run for his money. I think it would be awesome for MWR or JTG-Daugherty Racing to have a car find its way to victory lane up there.

This past Saturday, I left Pocono after practice for Nashville Speedway. SPEED was broadcasting the NASCAR Camping World Series event. I saw a lot of good fans from that area. I consider it my old stomping ground. Darrell does too. I saw a bunch of NAPA Racing fans there. It is always good to go to a different part of the country and see folks that support our team. I really appreciate that.

Today I am off to Iowa for a couple of days with Kenny Wallace. I am doing some dirt racing. I don’t plan on actually driving but I will be there for support and signing a bunch of autographs. Then it is up to Watkins Glen on Sunday to support my teams and cheer them on. Our goal for this weekend is to have all three teams have solid top-five or top-10 finishes. That’s not a bad goal to have is it? 

Have a Good Week!

Michael Waltrip