Caution Flag Costs Waltrip Top-10
Richmond, Virginia (Sept. 12) - The No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS team produced another strong car for veteran driver Michael Waltrip Saturday, but an untimely caution flag during green flag pit stops set Waltrip back a lap in the Chevy Rock N' Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Waltrip, who qualified 19th for the 26th race of the season, ran in the top-10 climbing as high as eighth for several laps. The car was tight early according to Waltrip, but he managed to stay in the top-15 until the caution flag waved during green flag pit stops putting the NAPA car and several other cars a lap down which had already made their pit stops. Waltrip restarted in the 23rd position.
Waltrip's speed the remainder of the night was comparable to that of a top-five car. His car finally loosened up and he passed several cars to finish 13th moving him from the 17th to the 16th position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
"I could run low for most of the race because I was so tight," Waltrip explained. "Once the NAPA team loosened me up enough we were fast. My car was great, the pit stops were great and my spotter did a fantastic job keeping me out of a major accident."
Jeremy Mayfield won the Chevy Rock N' Roll 400. Mayfield along with Ryan Newman, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch secured the final four spots in the Chase for the Championship. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second behind Mayfield and will start the championship chase from the third position.
The next stop for the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team is New Hampshire International Speedway where Waltrip dominated the race one year ago before the gas can got caught in the racecar during a gas and go stop. Waltrip had to return to the pits. The fastest car in the Sylvania 300 finished 26th, the last car one lap down.
***NAPA donated $5,000 to Waltrip's OPERATION MARATHON Fund because the No. 15 car finished in the top-15 Saturday night. NAPA will donate $15,000 for every top-five finish, $10,000 for every top-10 finish and $5,000 for every top-15 finish in the remaining 10 races.***