Martinsville II: Waltrip race report

Rubber ruins Waltrip's day. Martinsville, Virginia (Oct. 19) -- Hiccups happen in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing. Tires blow, parts fail, accidents occur and in the NAPA AUTO PARTS team's case on Sunday at Martinsville, Va., a small piece of...

Rubber ruins Waltrip's day.

Martinsville, Virginia (Oct. 19) -- Hiccups happen in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing. Tires blow, parts fail, accidents occur and in the NAPA AUTO PARTS team's case on Sunday at Martinsville, Va., a small piece of rubber got on the header, and burned up a plug wire causing the car to lose at least 100 horsepower resulting in a 26th-place finish.

"It was a tough day at the race track for the NAPA team," Waltrip described after racing 500 laps. "We started 15th after a decent qualifying run. The car was a little bit tight with a push in the front end. The team made some great adjustments to the car during our regularly scheduled pit stops by taking wedge out of the car and adjusting the air pressure. The car actually got really good. Then we developed a "miss" in the engine. Something happened and it just kept getting worse and worse and it eventually got where it would hardly run on the straightaways.

"The team did a great job with the pit stops today. We had very fast stops.

And then, when we got the car handling real well, we elected to stay out a couple of times and not pit to get tires. We just stayed out on the track to gain track position. We tried to hold them off even though our engine was failing us. We wound up 26th, which wasn't great obviously, but I think we learned a lot; we had a car today that was very competitive. It was unfortunate that we had a problem with our engine. Again, I don't know if it was internal or if it was just a carburetor problem or if something happened to the ignition system but we definitely had a problem that set us back.

"The team probably won the pit crew competition however, since we had great stops and we didn't stop when others did. The competition is based on how much time you spend on pit road. That's the cool part about having a good handling racecar and a fast pit crew; you can take advantage of the situation and stay out. When we did come to pit road they just consistently and routinely got the job done all day today.

"We go to Atlanta (Ga.) this weekend, a track where we tested just last week. The test went great. The car ran very good.

"Atlanta's a big weekend for me," explained Waltrip. "I race the Aaron's Dream Machine on Saturday in the Busch race. Aaron's is headquartered in Atlanta, and of course NAPA's headquarters is there as well. Coca~Cola is also headquartered there, so we have a lot of corporate partners that are in Atlanta. We enjoy the chance to come down there and visit with them. Hopefully we can win a race for them. Atlanta's been a great track for me over the years, I've always enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to getting down there and trying to win the race."

Next Sunday's race will be broadcast live from Atlanta Motor Speedway at Noon ET on NBC and PRN Radio.

-dei-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup