Michael Waltrip Darlington Preview

Darlington is a high-speed overachiever in the eyes of Michael Waltrip HARRISBURG, N.C. (March 16, 1999) - When Darlington Raceway hosted its first NASCAR event in 1950, the promoters probably never figured speeds would top 170 miles per hour.

Darlington is a high-speed overachiever in the eyes of Michael Waltrip

HARRISBURG, N.C. (March 16, 1999) - When Darlington Raceway hosted its first NASCAR event in 1950, the promoters probably never figured speeds would top 170 miles per hour. While the track has retained its initial design, drivers have compensated by running as close to the wall as physically possible. That challenge, coupled with the difficult task of tire management, is what Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip is preparing for as the Winston Cup Series heads for its fifth stop of 1999 this Sunday.

Michael Waltrip at Darlington...

             Starts    Top 5s    Top 10s    Ave.Start Ave.Finish  Winnings
Spring races   13        1         5           21.85    15.00     $191,725

[Best start: 7th (1998); best finish: 3rd ('91); '98 finish: 16th]

Michael Waltrip on...

...handling the tight confines at Darlington:

"It's really hard to go fast there just because of the lack of room. If you think about racing everywhere else on the whole Winston Cup circuit, where else do we run right up against the wall? Nowhere.

"That makes it very unique - the fact that you're in the middle of a turn and right up against the wall. That's just simply because we have so much speed there, but yet there is not a whole lot of room. You just have to use every bit of the room that is available to you. If you think about Daytona, you know it was built for us to run 200 miles an hour, and we run 190. Darlington was probably built to run 100 miles an hour, and we're running close to 180 down the straightaways."

...tire management at Darlington:

"The guy that wins this race will be good on new tires and then be able to run that on out. In Winston Cup racing these days, you really can't give up anything. If someone is good on new tires and can beat you bad then, and then you beat them back on older ones, you haven't really gained a whole lot. The goal for us is to get the Philips Chevrolet balanced to where it's good on new tires, and then survive until the time we can get back to the pits."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip