Darlington Raceway

Hi Everyone –

Darlington wasn’t very kind to Michael Waltrip Racing or JTG-Daugherty Racing for that matter. My night could have been a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Talladega Nights”. My NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads Toyota was on fire. My engine blew up in a major way. We broke a rod and there was a fire. We got quite a bit of coverage on it. In all my interviews after getting out of the car, I credited the NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads for helping me stop my car quickly and safely. NASCAR driver Greg Biffle asked me if the fire scared me and it did a little bit because of all the unknowns. When all the flames went up, I didn’t get burned, but the flames also didn’t go out as quickly as I thought they would. The flames started burning things in my car. The main thing I was thinking was to get somewhere on the track where I could get out. The cool thing was I got out of my car quickly and with no problems. Back in 2007 at the Auto Club Speedway, I caught on fire and had a hard time getting out of my car. I was stuck in there because the old car was so much smaller inside. I want to thank NASCAR for the new car. Tall guys like me can race on with little worries. I even called my buddy Ron Capps and told him he didn’t have anything on me after Darlington.

I watched the end of the race from my motor home and I have to say, I loved the end of the Southern 500. It was an intense finish. I enjoyed watching Mark Martin make his move. He ran low. Jimmie Johnson was running second and he chose to run high. They mixed it up a little bit. I found out as I sat on my couch that I really like racing. I was so into watching those last 30 laps because I knew the personalities out there on the track. I knew what Mark had and what he was all about. I also knew Jimmie. Mark looked like he was going to tie himself to the bottom and play all his chips from down there. Jimmie was all over the place trying to figure out what he needed to do to get by Mark. I love racing and I wished I would have been out there mixing it up with them.

This weekend should be exciting too with the 25th running of the Sprint All-Star Race. The format is a little different this year. There are four segments. The first segment is 50 laps and it includes a green-flag pit stop on lap 25 that everyone must complete. Then there are two 20-lap segments with a final 10-lap shoot out. I started on the outside of Row 2 for the 10-lap shoot out in 1996 and I won. I was able to win the race from the fourth spot. I don’t know if you are going to be able to win it from much further back in the field.

Last year, we saw Kasey Kahne win the Fan Vote to transfer into the Sprint All-Star Race. He went on to win the whole deal. That just shows you how good everyone is. When that green flag falls for the first 50 lapper on Saturday night, any one of those cars in the field can win the race. As a fan, I want to see that – but I hope to see it from inside my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Wish me luck and enjoy the race!
Michael Waltrip

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