Talladega Superspeedway

Hi Everyone –

I want to start out by saying how proud I am of my teammates — David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose. I’m proud of Reutimann because he’s thankful and he’s happy. He’s one of the guys. When we started Michael Waltrip Racing, we wanted to be part of the story and be up there racing with the big teams. I think maybe the story of the year is Marcos Ambrose. He came from Australia and hasn’t even seen these cars until a couple years ago and very rarely do people come from other disciplines of motorsports, other countries, and get in these cars and be able to do it. Marcos has done it and he’s competitive. At Bristol, he had a top-five run all day long. Every week he steps up. I am just real proud of his team and the benefits of our alliance with JTG-Daugherty Racing. I am just proud of the cars we’re building and what we’re doing.

Heading into the Talladega weekend, I was just a little disappointed in my year so far. I think my car has been good and we’ve been fast. But, I have made some mistakes. I love my NAPA car and I love being the driver for NAPA, but I want to bring NAPA a championship. If we can figure out an option of getting a championship with that team and winning more races with that team then that will be something we will have to look at really hard. I still want to race. I didn’t sign up to be a race car driver so I could wear this cool suit. I signed up because I want to win. I think I can win, but week in and week out, we need to step it up with the 55 a little bit. NAPA has been my sponsor for nine years and we’ve won the Daytona 500 and had some success. They market me better than anyone in the garage area. They are the best sponsor in my opinion with the way they go about marketing my team and me. I feel like I owe them. I owe them results. I owe them wins and I owe them a championship. That’s what Michael Waltrip Racing is working hard on.

This weekend I pulled double duty at Talladega. I drove the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Nationwide race. I just want to say what a great job Jerry Baxter (crew chief) and the guys on the Aaron’s Camry did. Last week at Phoenix we had a fast car. We had a fast one on Saturday too. We have nothing to show for it because we got wrecked. If the team keeps giving me cars like that then it’s going to be a good year for us. 

When it came to the Aaron’s 499 race, the good news about our day was all three of our cars were ultra competitive. We all had issues that we had to deal with. Marcos was able to overcome them to get a top-five. We had a real shot at a solid top-five finish or a top-10 finish for sure if we could have made it through that last wreck. Unfortunately, we didn’t. We’ll just hang our hats on the fact that all of our cars continue to be competitive and head to Richmond.

Richmond is a great track for me. I love it. It is one of my favorites. David Reutimann led the most laps there in the fall race. I think one of the things I enjoy most about 2009 is watching Marcos. What is he going to do next? He’s done really well at some of the toughest tracks we’ve been to. As a driver of the NAPA Toyota and as Michael the race car driver, I love that track and am looking forward to it. As the owner of the team, I cannot wait to see how all three cars will perform. It has been truly enjoyable to show up at the track every week and know that our cars are capable of winning the race.

This week don’t miss out on seeing my acting debut on My Name is Earl. It will air Thursday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. It will also be available to watch on the show’s Web site. Then on Saturday, I will be on NASCAR Race Day. It airs at 5 p.m. on SPEED. I’ll be talking about NAPA’s new paint scheme on my car for Richmond and Darlington. I’ll give you a hint … it’s NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads!
Sincerely,

Michael Waltrip

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