Darlington: Michael Waltrip preview

Waltrip wants to be part of Darlington's history. Mooresville, N.C. (March 12, 2003) - Michael Waltrip and the NAPA team will face one of the toughest racetracks on the NASCAR schedule this weekend running 400 miles at Darlington Raceway. The...

Waltrip wants to be part of Darlington's history.

Mooresville, N.C. (March 12, 2003) - Michael Waltrip and the NAPA team will face one of the toughest racetracks on the NASCAR schedule this weekend running 400 miles at Darlington Raceway. The track "Too Tough to Tame" is known as the granddaddy of super speedways and the track every driver wants to conquer - including Waltrip who will qualify for his 36th race at the 1.366-mile oval.

"The history of a racetrack has a lot to do with my excitement entering a race," Waltrip said. "Darlington is almost 54 years old and claims some of the best racing tales in NASCAR's history."

The NAPA team tested Darlington last week and seeks to be a part of Darlington's story this weekend in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

"I hope this will be the weekend that quiets the talk of our performance only on restrictor plate racetracks," continued Waltrip. "There are four plate races and 32 unrestricted races. With that said, it is more important to do well at the other 32 if you want to contend for a championship, but it is hard to ignore the desire to run well at the Daytona 500, our sport's biggest race of the year. Our preparation over the winter and during our test is going to make us competitive at Darlington.

"We won the Daytona 500, then all three cars struggled at Rockingham. The third race in Las Vegas we had a great car and got the lead early, made one wrong adjustment but came back around and we finished a solid third. Last week I don't know what happened, but we were off - way off. I think that even with last week's challenges everybody knows we can win somewhere other than a plate track - including Darlington. My attitude is that we will not only win anywhere, but we will win anywhere soon."

Waltrip is third in the NASCAR Winston Cup point's race. He trails leader Matt Kenseth by 75 points and last year's Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart who holds the second spot by 36 points.

"I am happy to have a good enough car to pursue wins and a championship," explained Waltrip. "There is a lot of work ahead of us - 32 races to be exact, and we are not concerning ourselves with the points races right now, as much as we are focusing on performance on a week-to-week basis. The points will come. I think it is important to get through at least one third of the season before evaluating the points."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip