Bristol: Michael Waltrip race report

Waltrip Earns First Top-10 This Season Bristol, Tenn. (March 28) - Michael Waltrip, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, overcame 11 caution flags to earn his first top-10 finish in six races at Sunday's Food...

Waltrip Earns First Top-10 This Season

Bristol, Tenn. (March 28) - Michael Waltrip, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, overcame 11 caution flags to earn his first top-10 finish in six races at Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Waltrip, who started from the eighth position (also his best start of the year), kept his Monte Carlo in the top-15 all 500 laps and finished 10th in the No. 15 car owned by Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

"I hope this is a sign of things to come," Waltrip said. " In five out of the six races we have run this year I have had fast racecars, and finally we have a finish to prove it.

"The race was good all day long for the NAPA Chevy. We were real steady, but we didn't need all the caution flags late in the going. Unfortunately, that is the way it worked out. The yellow flags and red flags messed up our strategy at the end of the race, but the NAPA crew did a great job keeping me up front all day. I am proud of their effort and the fact that everyone has their chins up. We are down but we are not out."

Waltrip's foresight on not being out of the game - the top-10 game that is - looks to be right. Waltrip currently holds the 34th spot in the driver standings with 456 points, 442 points behind the leader. In a team meeting prior to the Food City 500, Waltrip reminded his team that while being 10th after 26 races is still their goal, it is important to remember that any team within 400 points of the leader with 10 races to go will contend for the championship. All things considered, that means the NAPA team only needs to make up 42 points to be in the title hunt.

"I am a numbers guy," explained Waltrip. "I think that it is important to show my team that we are far from being out of the game. With any luck, we'll make up those 42 points in Texas and keep our focus on being there in the end."

Waltrip and the NAPA team will compete on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas, where Waltrip has two top-10 finishes in seven races. The Samsung 500 will be broadcast by FOX and PRN Radio at 1:00pm (ET).

-dei/napa-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Michael Waltrip