WALTRIP READY TO GET AFTER IT AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip heads into this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway with hopes of continuing the growth of his newly formed Waltrip-Jasper Racing team. With ...
WALTRIP READY TO GET AFTER IT AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA
NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip heads into this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway with hopes of continuing the growth of his newly formed Waltrip-Jasper Racing team. With equipment and pit support by Bill Davis Racing, Waltrip showed he could compete with the elite and established teams in NASCAR during Daytona Beach, Fla., Speedweeks.
Waltrip finished 18th in the Daytona 500, but was a contender before a pit road speeding violation sent him from ninth to 33rd with just 41 laps to go. The Owensboro, Kent., native wheeled the NAPA car back into contention but ran out of laps to make a strong charge at the lead pack. However, Waltrip felt like the positive weekend gives them momentum heading into NASCAR's West Coast swing.
"I'm pleased with where we are right now as a team. As a driver, you always want to win every race, but as a car owner you know that isn't very realistic," said Waltrip. "We were competitive at Daytona. I could tell we didn't have the kind of car that could make up for mistakes. But it ran well in the draft and it handled really good. Knowing that we can make the car handle well gives me confidence that we can be competitive at tracks like California and Las Vegas."
NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip on the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway...
What are your thoughts on racing at California Speedway this weekend?
"I'm looking forward to the race out there. We finished 13th last fall and had a top-10 run going before a late caution. Some teams took two tires, some got four and we got passed by a couple more than I thought we would. It was a good run for us and I hope we can repeat it with our new Waltrip-Jasper team."
What did your team do in the off-season to prepare for the Auto Club 500?
"We had a test out in Las Vegas, Nev., a month or so ago for this style of track. We didn't like what we had there, so we are taking a different car. There is a lot of hard work going on at Waltrip-Jasper Racing. The guys are really putting their heart and soul into this deal. 2006 is a very important year for our team because we want to make sure we build a foundation that can support everything we have going forward, which includes the NAPA Toyota Camry in 2007."