Victim of Wreck Lands Waltrip in 27th Bristol, Tenn. (Aug. 29) - After suffering from damage to the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet because of falling victim to a crash in turn two on lap 388, Michael Waltrip finished 27th in the Sharpie 500 at ...
Victim of Wreck Lands Waltrip in 27th
Bristol, Tenn. (Aug. 29) - After suffering from damage to the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet because of falling victim to a crash in turn two on lap 388, Michael Waltrip finished 27th in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
The No. 15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. prepared car started 36th after having to go to a back up because of a crash in qualifying on Friday. The NAPA crew put a fast car under Waltrip for the race having to make a few adjustments early in the race because the car was skaty and felt like there was too much air in the tires according to Waltrip.
From lap 85 to the time of the accident, Waltrip was happy with the handling of his NAPA Chevy and asked for no changes. Pit strategy did not play into Waltrip's positioning on the race track. He maneuvered toward the front the old fashioned way by passing cars one at a time to move from 36th to 13th. Several cars wrecked in front of the No. 15 on lap 388. Waltrip appeared to have dodged the accident, but Waltrip's pressure gauge told him differently. During the incident, a large hole was knocked in the radiator and the oil line fitting was broken off of the filter mount.
The crew made repairs to the car behind the wall and Waltrip returned to the racetrack on lap 407 after a 19-lap absence. The NAPA car ran with the top-10 even after being wrecked, but finished 27th.
"We all know going into Bristol that anything can happen," Waltrip stated. "The fact that the NAPA team not only gave me a fast back up car, but evaluated and fixed our damage in just 19 laps at a small track like Bristol just goes to show you that we have one heck of a race team."
Waltrip's teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the 500-lap race by 4.4 seconds over Ryan Newman who finished second. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five.
Waltrip remains 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings after the Saturday's race. The NEXTEL Cup Series returns to the track on Sunday, September 5, 2004 for the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway.