WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 16, 1999) - Early on at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Michael Waltrip's Philips Chevy showed signs of a tough battle that was being waged on the 2.45 mile road course. As the day wore on, the signs of that battle...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 16, 1999) - Early on at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Michael Waltrip's Philips Chevy showed signs of a tough battle that was being waged on the 2.45 mile road course. As the day wore on, the signs of that battle were not only evident on the exterior of Waltrip's machine, but also in its handling, as he fought a tight and uncooperative car to a 21st place finish in the Frontier at the Glen.
During the opening third of the race, Waltrip bounced around in the standings between 19th and 27th, hoping to find a way to free up what he described as a tight handling car. But, he also sustained damage to the front of his car during that part of the race, which may have sealed his fate for the remainder of the day. With each pit stop, the Mattei Motorsports crew tried various ways to loosen the car, but to no avail.
As the race wore on and different fuel strategies played out on pit road, Waltrip shuffled back to as far as 35th in the standings. But, the same cycle that moved him to the rear of the lead lap cars slowly allowed him to rise to the front, culminating in Waltrip leading a lap on pit road during a caution near the 70th lap. However, Waltrip was one of only two lead lap cars needing to pit at that time, and he came back out in 26th position for the final 19 laps of the race.
"This Philips Team did a really good job today," said Waltrip. "There just wasn't much we could do. I really think something was bent or broken on the car most of the day. It just didn't feel right-even under caution. It just didn't handle or respond like it should have."
Waltrip and the Philips Racing Team still stand 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup points heading to Michigan this week for the 22nd race of the 1999 season. Waltrip placed 15th at Michigan when the series made its first stop at the two mile oval back in June.