Michael Waltrip in the hunt for the Daytona triple

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (July 1, 2003) -- Entering the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5, Michael Waltrip has a chance to put his name next to racing legend Cale Yarborough in Daytona International Speedway's record book. Waltrip has won...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (July 1, 2003) -- Entering the 45th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 5, Michael Waltrip has a chance to put his name next to racing legend Cale Yarborough in Daytona International Speedway's record book.

Waltrip has won the last two NASCAR Winston Cup Series point events at the historic 2.5-mile tri-oval - the 2002 Pepsi 400 and the 2003 Daytona 500.

The driver of the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet will be gunning for three-in-a-row at the "World Center of Racing" in the exciting mid-summer classic under the lights on Saturday, July 5.

The only driver who previously accomplished three straight victories was Cale Yarborough, who won the 1967 Pepsi 400 and the 1968 Daytona 500 and Pepsi 400.

But Waltrip, who also captured the 2001 Daytona 500, isn't getting caught up in the hype about the record. He simply wants to win.

"You don't worry about stuff like that until it's done," Waltrip said. "That's not what motivates you. What motivates you is to try to beat everyone else. I never really thought about being a two-time Daytona 500 champion. I was just there to win the Daytona 500.

"Records are cool. When it's all said and done, you look at your records. When you're in the middle of it, you're driven to be the best and outrun everybody."

With the resources and knowledge that Dale Earnhardt Inc. possesses about restrictor-plate racing at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway, Waltrip has an excellent shot of pulling off the record win.

Nobody in the garage spends more time on restrictor-plate development than DEI. In the last 10 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega, DEI has won eight with Waltrip delivering three of those victories.

But just because he has a great team and a reliable drafting partner in Dale Earnhardt Jr., Waltrip realizes he's not a lock to win every restrictor-plate race.

"I don't feel invincible at all but I do feel like before it's all said and done that I'll be part of the story," said Waltrip, who'll also compete in the Winn-Dixie 250 Presented By PepsiCo on Friday, July 4. "(I feel like) we'll be able to fight our way to the front even if we fall to the back or whatever, we will definitely be part of the story and be one of the cars that you'll have to beat to win."

Tickets for any of the Pepsi 400 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 1-800-PITSHOP.

-dis-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Cale Yarborough