Martinsville provides bitter education for Waltrip

Martinsville provides bitter education for Michael Waltrip MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 1999) - Ninety laps into Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Martinsville Speedway, Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip had a choice to make: get...

Martinsville provides bitter education for Michael Waltrip

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 18, 1999) - Ninety laps into Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Martinsville Speedway, Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip had a choice to make: get mad, or get the most out of the frustrating remainder of his day. Without hesitation, Waltrip chose the latter, and used the final 400 laps of the Goody's Body Pain 500 to learn everything he could for the return trip to Martinsville in September.

Waltrip started the race in 29th position, but began to encounter problems almost from the outset. Smoke was reported from the back of his car, and it was only a matter of time before worry became real trouble. When the Mattei Motorsports crew went under the hood of Waltrip's machine, they found a small leak in an oil line. With the field turning race laps at just over 20 seconds, the repairs cost Waltrip 18 laps, and eliminated any hope of a decent finish. From that point forward, the best the team could do was use the rest of the day to collect a few more points and a lot of knowledge about the flat, half-mile oval, while accepting a 39th place finish.

"When we went back out, our goal was to run as hard as we could every lap. It's just that much more knowledge for when we come back next time," said Waltrip. "We weren't great, but at the end we were running pretty decent. The only problem I had today was that for 18 laps, we stood still.

"You just hope little things like that don't happen to you. It seems like something kicked up off the racetrack, and cut an oil line. How the heck do you do anything about that? What we'll do is go home and look at it, and see if there's anything we could have done different or anything we can do next time to keep that from happening again. It's just unfortunate to have a car that the team prepares good enough to run all day long, and have a little thing like that determine a result like we had."

Waltrip slipped to 13th in the Winston Cup point standings with Sunday's finish, and will now head to Talladega Superspeedway for what he hopes will be a promising weekend. Talladega marks the second of four super speedway races on the schedule this year, the first of which yielded a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip