Bristol: Michael Waltrip preview

Bristol according to Waltrip. Just Being at Bristol..."How can anyone not like Bristol?" Waltrip said. "All the enthusiasm around that city makes it thrilling to be a part of the entertainment. It is certainly impressive to look around during...

Bristol according to Waltrip.

Just Being at Bristol..."How can anyone not like Bristol?" Waltrip said. "All the enthusiasm around that city makes it thrilling to be a part of the entertainment. It is certainly impressive to look around during the pre-race activities and see all the people that come to Bristol. It is a rewarding feeling to know that so many people are interested in what we are doing."

Important Factors at Bristol... 'You've got to have a car that handles well," explained Waltrip. "If you handle well, you are fast. If you are fast, you don't usually get wrecked. If you are slow and holding people up, then you'll get your car torn up. Spotters are probably more important at Bristol than any other place. The track is so quick that if there is a wreck in turn two, you need to know it. The high banks can really blind you, so I depend on my spotter to be quick on the draw to let me know when and where to go."

2003 Season Comments... "We are pleased that our cars are running so well," Waltrip said. "The first of the year offers up nice diversity on the schedule with Daytona, Atlanta, Darlington, Texas and now Bristol. We usually run well, but we haven't qualified well at Bristol. We hope to do both better this weekend. Our goal is to pick up our performance a notch at every track."

Waltrip Third in Winston Cup Point Standings... Waltrip finished fifth at Darlington for his third top-five effort of the season, tying him for the series lead with Kenseth and Kurt Busch. He maintained the No. 3 ranking for the second consecutive week and is one of three drivers to be ranked in the NASCAR Top 10 all five weeks of the season. Waltrip is dramatically ahead of his pace of a year ago, when he ranked 24th after five starts. He has posted seven top-10 finishes in 34 starts at Bristol, but has not enjoyed one since this race in 1998 (9 starts). Last season, he finished 30th in the Food City 500 and 22nd in the August race. (Provided by NASCAR Public Relations)

What Happened Last Year? Waltrip ran top-10 practice times all weekend and qualified ninth for the Food City 500. As it goes, Friday's ninth-place qualifying effort was the highlight of Waltrip's race weekend. The NAPA car was running eighth on lap 11 when Tony Stewart bumped Michael to the outside. Waltrip had already communicated his car was loose off of the corners, so when he received Stewart's nudge, the NAPA car hit the wall knocking out the toe. The car was repairable and still quite fast...until...Kyle Petty decided he didn't want to pit and hit the NAPA car hard in the left front. This incident caused the center link to bend and bent both lower tie rods. The No. 15 team persevered finishing the Food City 500 30th.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch