Eventful day lands Michael Waltrip a 13th place finish at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 22, 1999) - Sunday's Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway was just what the doctor ordered for Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. At times, he had a car...
Eventful day lands Michael Waltrip a 13th place finish at Michigan
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 22, 1999) - Sunday's Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway was just what the doctor ordered for Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. At times, he had a car good enough to chase down the leaders, and even for a couple laps, was the leader that everyone else was chasing. In his most competitive run since late July, Waltrip posted a 13th place finish, while picking up some much-needed momentum as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.
Waltrip's afternoon was eventful. He pushed his way as high as 12th place early on in the 200-lap event, before falling back as far as 25th during the middle stages. A number of well-timed caution periods during the race allowed the Philips crew the opportunity to keep adjusting on Waltrip's ride. The adjustments paid great dividends in the end, as Waltrip enjoyed a very competitive car during the final 40 laps of the event. During that stretch, he fought back from 20th to his final finishing position, with more spots in his sights at the checkered.
"We just adjusted and adjusted, and worked hard all day," said Waltrip. "I'm really proud of the pit stops and really proud of the effort."
Just prior to his final pit stop and final run of the day, Waltrip found himself at the head of the pack, leading his fourth race of the year. But, when he took the green flag and led the field into turn one, Waltrip's car didn't stick. In hindsight, he believes the culprit was debris on his tires, which didn't allow his to turn hard into the first corner. As he gathered the car back up, most of the lead lap cars went by, which returned him to the 20th position. But, when the caution flew shortly thereafter, the Philips crew used the opportunity to put on four fresh tires and make a spring rubber adjustment to Waltrip's car.
"I'm sure disappointed in the restarts. But, I don't know. I had something on my tires-twice. It felt like I was on dirt. I thought I worked them off, but I didn't," said Waltrip. "Fortunately, we came in and got four tires, and that really helped."
Waltrip's strong run allowed him to gain significant ground in the point standings on the drivers in front of him, although he remains 19th after 22 races. He is now just 85 points out of the 14th position with 12 races to go.