Texas: Michael Waltrip preview

Michael Waltrip Texas Fast Facts... * NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will make his 11th start at Texas Motor Speedway in Sunday's Samsung/Radioshack 500. He joins only 12 other drivers who have started every NEXTEL Cup event at ...

Michael Waltrip Texas Fast Facts...

* NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip will make his 11th start at Texas Motor Speedway in Sunday's Samsung/Radioshack 500. He joins only 12 other drivers who have started every NEXTEL Cup event at the 1.5-mile speedway in Fort Worth, Tex. Waltrip also has seven NASCAR Busch Series starts at TMS. That places him tied with Jeff Burton for second in total starts with 17. Joe Nemechek leads all current NASCAR drivers with 18 starts (9 NEXTEL Cup/9 NBS).

* In addition to being at the top of career starts at TMS, Waltrip will also be the first driver to race all three current makes of cars at the speedway in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series. Waltrip made his first start at TMS in the Wood Brothers Ford. He then raced a Chevrolet for eight years, before switching to Dodge in 2006. Next year Waltrip moves to Toyota, where he will once again lead all drivers in this most obscure statistic.

* The NAPA team will race chassis BD 94 at Texas Motor Speedway. It is a brand new car at Bill Davis Racing in 2006 and was raced by Waltrip at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20, where he finished 20th.

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TEXAS CONTINUES TO GROW IN WALTRIP'S EYES

In a state where everything is bigger and bolder, Texas Motor Speedway was built to be the largest outdoor sports and entertainment facility in the United States. It was obvious from the start, if they built it the fans would come. And they did.

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip said the facility was magnificent, except for one little thing. "When Texas opened it was so great because the fans were awesome and the place looked so big and nice," Waltrip said. "I couldn't wait to get there. But once we raced on it, that feeling went away." Waltrip wasn't the only driver to lose that loving feeling. All of the drivers complained that the track design was not conducive to racing. In fact, the inaugural race got off to a bang literally with a double-digit pile up in turn one at the drop of the green flag. However, things are completely different today as TMS is now one of the finest race tracks in the world in Waltrip's eyes.

"The track originally made me sick to my stomach, because you just couldn't race there. It wasn't much fun for the drivers or the fans," said Waltrip. "Thankfully, Eddie Gossage and his team listened to the drivers and spent the money to make Texas Motor Speedway one of the best tracks on the circuit today. Last year we were able to race two and three-wide. That kind of racing puts on a good show for the fans and lets the driver's race. It's one of my favorite tracks now."

NAPA AUTO PARTS driver Michael Waltrip on the Samsung/Radioshack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway...

What are your thoughts on racing at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend?

"I ran good last year at Texas. I drove up to the lead and finished sixth in the race. I had a real fast car and we know the setup from then and hopefully we can put it under the NAPA car this weekend and get some results. This season has been really tough for us, but nobody said it would be easy."

-wjr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Michael Waltrip , Joe Nemechek
Teams Bill Davis Racing