Waltrip Gains Six Point's Positions with Runner-up Finish Harrisburg, N.C. (May 31) - Michael Waltrip finished second, his best-ever finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 and his best finish this season. Waltrip's...
Waltrip Gains Six Point's Positions with Runner-up Finish
Harrisburg, N.C. (May 31) - Michael Waltrip finished second, his best-ever finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 and his best finish this season. Waltrip's runner-up finish hurtled him six spots into the 24th position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
Waltrip started from the 12th position and when the green flag dropped, Waltrip took the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet forward, fast, never falling below his starting position. Waltrip entered the top-five on lap 11 and took the fourth position from Tony Stewart on lap 16. By lap 22 the No. 15 car was third behind Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler.
Several times throughout the race the NAPA car was the fastest car on the track, the NAPA team knew adapting to the track changes was going to be the key to maintaining a top-five position. Waltrip and the NAPA team made minor adjustments to the car throughout the four-hour and 12-minute race. Waltrip started out a little loose. As more rubber was laid on the track, the track tightened and so did the NAPA Chevy. Crew chief Slugger Labbe made changes to the race car that included air pressure adjustments to the right side tires.
Waltrip held his position in the top three for the majority of the race. Still holding strong in third with his eye on Jamie McMurray in the second position, the caution flag flew with just 10 laps remaining in the race.
"The last thing I wanted to see was the caution," Waltrip said. "I couldn't catch Jimmie, but I thought I had a chance at Jamie. That caution gave a lot of people a chance to get me. Instead of losing ground we gained and picked up second making the most of our night."
Waltrip did not catch Jimmie Johnson, but he did take the second position away from Jamie McMurray on lap 399.
"I knew this was going to be a good race for us after our fourth-place finish in the All-Star race last weekend," Waltrip continued after 400 grueling laps. "We were obviously real competitive from the word go. We had a good set up and great pit strategy. Jimmie's car was strong. There were times that we could catch him, but not all night long. I am proud of the NAPA team and the way we battled all night with the top three and four cars."
Waltrip will not have a lot of time to soak in his second-place finish as his schedule will keep him quite busy before landing in Dover, Delaware for this weekend's Busch Series and Nextel Cup events. Waltrip will spend Tuesday shooting a print ad for Goodyear to be seen in USA Today and will take part in two fundraising events. Tuesday evening he will appear at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, N.C., where he will sign autographs in hopes to bring awareness to the N.C. Zoologicial Society. The zoo will donate a portion of the proceeds for the day to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. On Wednesday evening Waltrip will take part in the Mike Helton Roast benefiting the M.S. Society in Greensboro, N.C.