Michael Waltrip taking new car and high hopes into Coca Cola 600

HARRISBURG, N.C. (May 26, 1999) - Although practice for the Coca Cola 600 does not begin until Wednesday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip's preparation and planning for the race began moments after he drove to an eighth place finish in Saturday night's running of The Winston. Waltrip drove to his transporter right after the race, but then instead of climbing from his car, he remained seated and immediately went to work with crew chief Bobby Kennedy on a plan to put the Philips Chevrolet out front the following Sunday.

Michael Waltrip in the Coca Cola 600...

Starts:  13
Top 5s:  2
Top 10s:  4
Top 15s:  7
Ave. start:  20.77
Ave. finish:  17.54
Winnings:  $288,970
Best start:  2nd ('91)
Best finish:  3rd ('95)
1998:  18th

Michael Waltrip on...

...preparing for the Coca Cola 600 following The Winston:

"The Winston was frustrating because we went from one side to the other. I was pushing, and then I had them work on it, and I made it loose. So I had them work on it again, but we just never got there. That was disappointing. So, we talked about that and we also talked about what to do this week. We talked about whether to take our Winston car back for the '600' and we decided to bring a different one. We didn't feel like we were as good as we needed to be, and we've got a brand new car sitting at the shop, so we decided to give it a whirl."

...the difference between The Winston and the '600':

"Nowadays, I can't really tell a difference. I've won The Winston and that is the biggest, no-holds-barred sprint race you'd ever have. At the same time, I've been really competitive in what is the longest race we run, and you have to run them the same way. You've got to run wide-open every lap. There is no pacing yourself. You can't ever think that you're just going to 'ride' during the '600' because if you do that, there is somebody leading that race that is going to lap your butt."

...running 600 miles at Lowe's Motor Speedway:

"It's a hundred times more fun to run 600 miles at Charlotte than 500 miles at a place like Dover. Charlotte's a neat racetrack, so I don't mind the extra hundred miles. Actually, that extra hundred miles has had some real twists and turns on the finish of that event over the years, and it's kind of made it what it is."