Martinsville II: Michael Waltrip preview

Waltrip Looks for Surprising Twist at Season's End HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - With five races remaining in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup Championship and the crowning of a new series champion, NASCAR fans have focused their attention to the fierce...

Waltrip Looks for Surprising Twist at Season's End

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - With five races remaining in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup Championship and the crowning of a new series champion, NASCAR fans have focused their attention to the fierce battle between the 10 chase contenders. Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge, is just fine with that. "I can guarantee you that if the fans are focused mostly on the Series leaders, then those drivers in the top-10 are so busy scratching and clawing their way to a championship that the other 33 drivers on the track are the least of their worries," Waltrip said. "We might just be able to sneak up on them."

Waltrip, who has struggled to put together strong back-to-back performances this season, has been criticized for focusing too much on the 2007 season, but the veteran driver dismisses the talk. "I'm a race car driver, that's what I do. When I'm on the track all my efforts and thoughts are focused on putting the NAPA Dodge in contention to win a race," Waltrip said. "When I'm in the car I'm focused on the now."

The 'now' for Waltrip this weekend is Martinsville Speedway. He will make his 42nd start at the paper-clip shaped oval on Sunday, where his highest finish is third in the spring 2000 race. "I've been around Martinsville enough to know what works and what doesn't. We're going to give it our all, and hopefully things will go our way. Two weeks ago, we came close to our first top-10 finish of the season. Maybe this is the week," added Waltrip..

Michael Waltrip Fast Facts.

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will make his 42nd start at Martinsville Speedway. Waltrip's best finish at the track is third (2000) and his worst is 39th (1999).

Waltrip ranks fifth among active drivers for the number of career starts at Martinsville with 41.

Waltrip has amassed one top-five and five top-10 performances at Martinsville in 41 starts. His average starting position is 24.292 and his average finish is 20.365.

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip on the Subway 500...

What are your thoughts on returning to Martinsville Speedway?

"Martinsville is one of the oldest tracks on the schedule and there have been a lot of great finishes there. With 43 cars on tracks as short as Martinsville and Bristol, you're going to see a lot of bumping and fighting for position which the fans enjoy. But with that kind of racing come a lot of collisions. Hopefully, we can avoid those. We did a good job two weeks ago in Talladega of avoiding "The Big One", and if our luck continues we stand a good chance of getting a good finish. I've cracked the top-10 there a few times and as any competitor I'm itching to do better. Last week was a disappointment for us to finish so poorly in front of our families and home crowd. I'm confident this week we'll rebound. One thing's for sure, this is going to be an exciting race."

-credit: mwr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip