Atlanta: Michael Waltrip preview

Waltrip Looks to Put NAPA Team's Season Back on Track at Atlanta Atlanta, GA (Mar. 15, 2005) --This weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is an opportunity for Michael Waltrip and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Team to get their 2005 season turned...

Waltrip Looks to Put NAPA Team's Season Back on Track at Atlanta

Atlanta, GA (Mar. 15, 2005) --This weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is an opportunity for Michael Waltrip and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Team to get their 2005 season turned around in time to make the "Chase for The NEXTEL Cup", the final ten races of the season. Waltrip is coming off of a 21st-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), a track that Dale Earnhardt, Inc., has struggled at in the last two years. With plans in motion to improve their results at the lower banked speedways like LVMS, the NAPA team will head to Atlanta, Richmond, Bristol, Phoenix, and Charlotte in the upcoming months. All five tracks are events that both Michael Waltrip and the DEI organization have had success at in the past.

"It's going to be cool going to Atlanta with Michael," said Eury Jr. "He knows his way around that track and if we bring him a really good car and setup, that could be a possible win."

Waltrip will be driving chassis 22 this weekend, the same car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the spring Atlanta race in and ran third with in the fall race getting before getting caught up in a wreck. Waltrip drove chassis 22 in its first race as a No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy at California Speedway just three weeks ago. The car was obviously fast as Waltrip climbed 15 positions before a mechanical failure ended the race early for the NAPA team.

"Tony Jr. and I have been looking forward to Atlanta for a long time and feel we can do well there," said Waltrip. "Dale Jr. won at Atlanta last year with the same team and car I have this weekend. Hopefully we will go down there and get us a win to get this season headed in the right direction."

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts...

* Michael Waltrip has seven top 10s and led 48 laps at AMS

* NAPA AUTO PARTS, the primary sponsor of the No. 15 Chevy, is headquartered in Atlanta, GA

* Waltrip and the NAPA Chevy will test at Texas Motor Speedway March 22-23 following Sunday's Atlanta Race

* Tony Eury Jr. and the NAPA team visited victory lane last year in this event as the then Budweiser team

* Michael and Buffy Waltrip presented a check to Victory junction Gang Camp for $923,000 last Sunday, as a result of their OPERATION MARATHON fundraising campaign

Michael Waltrip Quotes...

Talk about the top 35 being locked into the race with NASCAR's new qualifying rules...

"At Las Vegas the coolest thing happened in recent memory, the fastest 43 cars raced on Sunday. That's what NASCAR was looking to accomplish with the top 35 being locked in and the rest of those cats racing for spots in the field. The top 35 all qualified well into the field, and the last seven spots were made up of drivers that had to race their way in and they did. The ones that didn't make the race were just not fast enough. It was really cool."

Were you able to run the high line with the new rules package at Vegas last week?

"In California we were a little bit concerned about not seeing guys run up high. This past week at Vegas you could run all over the place. With the rules package and the tires we had on the car, I thought it was a very entertaining race."

Talk a little about decision to present the $923,626.73 OPERATION MARATHON check last Sunday to Victory Junction Gang ...

"Buffy and I are real proud of this effort. Our goal was to raise a million dollars and we are going to go well past that. We just gave Kyle and Patty (Petty) what we had in the bank today since we are back here in Las Vegas. We thought if we gave it to them for $923,000, people might think 'poor Michael didn't make his goal and we should send them 10 bucks'. That's part of the reason for doing it now, but the main reason is it's money in the bank that the camp can put to use right away."

Tony Eury Jr. Quotes...

Talk about your outlook for the NAPA Chevy as well as your testing plans in the upcoming weeks...

"This upcoming test at Texas is important for our program to improve on the flatter tracks. We are working on it. Meanwhile we are going to Atlanta, Bristol, Phoenix, and Charlotte, and all five are a possible win."

-dei-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Michael Waltrip , Tony Eury Jr.