"All-star" event or not, former champion Michael Waltrip says Winston is all-out race HARRISBURG, N.C. (May 18, 1999) - You can remove the points from the equation one race out of the year, but according to Michael Waltrip, it doesn't change ...
"All-star" event or not, former champion Michael Waltrip says Winston is all-out race
HARRISBURG, N.C. (May 18, 1999) - You can remove the points from the equation one race out of the year, but according to Michael Waltrip, it doesn't change anything once the green flag drops in The Winston. Waltrip, who captured a win in the prestigious event back in 1996, expects nothing less than an all-out battle Saturday night in the 15th running of the unique event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Like many other drivers, Waltrip will run a special paint scheme during this weekend's event. The Owensboro, Kentucky driver will go after his second win in The Winston in four years behind the wheel of the No. 7 Klaussner-Sealy Chevrolet.
Michael Waltrip in The Winston...
Starts 6 Wins 1 Top 5s 1 Top 10s 2 Ave. finish 11.17 Winnings $299,000 1998: Started: 8th; finished: 11th; winnings: $19,000 Highlights: Won the 1996 event after advancing from The Winston Open, establishing himself as the only driver ever to accomplish that feat.
Michael Waltrip on... ...running The Winston: "The Winston is a very special event. It's one all the competitors enjoy. People say it's like an all-star event, but I really don't agree. When it comes to an all-star game in football or basketball, those guys don't have to go 100 percent. They can let their friends shoot, or make sure everybody scores. In our all-star game, we're still running 200 miles per hour down the straightaway. So, it gets really serious once we start. In that respect, it's a lot like a regular race. But, the atmosphere is awesome. Everybody is loose and there to enjoy the weekend."
...what it took to win The Winston in 1996: "The car just handled so well, and I think that's what being successful at Charlotte is all about. That's what Charlotte has been about for a hundred years. Winning The Winston was great. What everybody talks about is me passing those two cars coming off turn two with eight laps to go. That was exciting for the fans and it looked cool on TV. But when I got down to the end of the back straightaway for the first time with the lead, dove into turn three and that car stuck like it did, that's when I knew that race was over. There was no way they were going to catch me the way that car was handling."
...returning as a former winner: "It was pretty cool to go back as the defending champion, but that's been a couple years ago now. One night, that was my event and that's a special memory. But, it doesn't make me look forward to it any more than other events. When I get there, I'm ready."