Drawn Out Day in Martinsville Yields 15th-Place Finish for NAPA Team Martinsville, Virginia (April 18) -- Michael Waltrip, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Monte Carlo and an 18-year veteran of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...
Drawn Out Day in Martinsville
Yields 15th-Place Finish for NAPA Team
Martinsville, Virginia (April 18) -- Michael Waltrip, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Monte Carlo and an 18-year veteran of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was headed toward a top-10 finish in Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway when a bump from Ricky Rudd sent Waltrip spinning. The seasoned Waltrip kept the NAPA Monte Carlo from hitting the wall and rebounded staying on the lead lap. Waltrip finished 15th after starting from the 37th position.
The NAPA car began the 500 lap race "violently loose" according to its pilot. Constant communication and outstanding performance in the pits assisted Waltrip with every position he gained.
"We started behind the eight ball a little bit," said Waltrip, "but we were fortunate enough to stay on the lead lap. I am thankful that we were able to run competitively all day long and make good adjustments so that we could run solid lap times. We had a good day in the pits. The NAPA team picked up spots consistently throughout the day and even when we had a jack break in the pits, it didn't slow our guys down. They have been tough to beat on pit road since last year and their heads are still in the game. The last few weeks have been fun being competitive and we are looking forward to winning"
Sunday's finish marks the No. 15 team's third top-20 finish in three consecutive weeks, which catapulted the NAPA team two spots into the 31st position in the NEXTEL Cup Series standings. Waltrip, who was 37th in points after Darlington (race #5), is now only 127 points out of the top 20.
The NEXTEL Cup Series begins its first practice at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday morning at Noon (EDT) in preparation for Sunday's Aaron's 499. The race will be broadcast live by FOX and MRN Radio at 1:30pm (EDT) on April 25, 2004.
"The press is already hyping our return to Talladega," Waltrip said. "It's exciting for our team to be one of the teams to beat at such an amazing place. It should be a great weekend for the NAPA team."