Michael Waltrip's day ends in turn one wall at Pocono POCONO, Pa. (June 20, 1999) - The final 50 laps of Sunday's Pocono 500 held a great deal of promise for Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. But, that promise went unfulfilled 48 laps...
Michael Waltrip's day ends in turn one wall at Pocono
POCONO, Pa. (June 20, 1999) - The final 50 laps of Sunday's Pocono 500 held a great deal of promise for Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. But, that promise went unfulfilled 48 laps from the finish, as Waltrip's car slammed backwards into the turn one wall at Pocono International Raceway, ending his day with a 37th place finish.
Waltrip started the race from the 13th position and began sorting his car out for the 500-mile grind on the 2.5-mile oval. With the event seeing several cautions during the first half, Waltrip and crew chief Bobby Kennedy took advantage of several opportunities to dial in the Mattei Motorsports entry. As the race wore on, the handle on Waltrip's car steadily improved, moving him closer and closer to the front.
With a quarter of the race remaining, Waltrip found himself in the 14th position after a sub-16 second pit stop gained him four spots while the race ran under caution. His new spot in the running order was his highest since the opening lap of the race, and he was now driving the best car he'd been in all day. But, following the restart, Waltrip entered turn one and was forced to brake when the field slowed in front of him. Unfortunately, not everyone behind him followed suit. Waltrip was struck by another car, and spun into the outside retaining wall, bringing heavy damage to the rear of his machine.
"Everybody checked up in front of me," said Waltrip, "so I checked up, but whoever was behind me didn't, and hit me wide open. I mean wide open."
Waltrip was uninjured in the incident, but walked away from Pocono extremely disappointed.
"It's just a shame," said Waltrip. "We made great adjustments, had great pit stops. We had worked and worked all day to get the Philips Chevrolet into a position to run up into the top 10, and then to have this happen."
With Sunday's result, Waltrip slipped to 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. The series continues next Sunday with the first road course event of the year at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.