Kansas: Michael Waltrip race report

NAPA Car at Its Best at End of 400-Mile Race Kansas City, Kansas. (Oct. 10) -- All NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers battle with the handling of their race cars, though some more than others on a given day. Veteran Michael Waltrip liked his...

NAPA Car at Its Best at End of 400-Mile Race

Kansas City, Kansas. (Oct. 10) -- All NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers battle with the handling of their race cars, though some more than others on a given day. Veteran Michael Waltrip liked his NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, but it wasn't until the last couple runs of the day that he was able to show the fans the power of the No. 15 car.

After starting from the 26th position, Waltrip wheeled the NAPA Chevrolet Monte Carlo to an 11th-place finish in the Banquet 400.

"Our car see-sawed from tight to crazy loose almost the entire day," Waltrip explained. "We moved into the top-20 and could hang with those cars, but my car just wouldn't handle like it needed to in order to be as fast as the top-10 cars - at least not until the end of the day. The effort by the NAPA team was over the top. Everybody worked really hard and did a great job on pit road. We gave it all we had and it paid off for us at the end of the race."

Crew chief Slugger Labbe was thrilled with his team's performance on pit road.

"The NAPA guys were on their game again. They were fast on pit road and did a great job adjusting the car to the track conditions. We were really loose on new tires, then the car was good in the middle of the run, then the car would tighten up. We had to do a lot of compromising, but Michael drove hard and the team didn't miss a beat."

Joe Nemechek swept the weekend winning both the Busch Series and the Cup Series races. Ricky Rudd gave Nemechek a run for the money on the last two laps, but came up .081 seconds short of the victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved to second in the points battle after finishing ninth in the Banquet 400.

The NEXTEL Cup Series arrives in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday for the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Busch and Cup teams will qualify Thursday evening. Waltrip and crew will race the same car they ran in May's Coca-Cola 600 where they finished second.

*** Michael Waltrip will replace Allen Bestwick in SPEED Channel's "Inside NEXTEL Cup" as host for the second week in a row while Bestwick recovers from a broken leg. ***

***NAPA donated another $5,000 for Waltrip's OPERATION MARATHON campaign for his11th-place finish in Sunday's Banquet 400.***

-dei/napa-

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