Michael Waltrip takes a 15th away from Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 1999) - It's been a while since a trip to Michigan Speedway yielded much to Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. But Sunday, the two-mile oval returned a 15th...
Michael Waltrip takes a 15th away from Michigan
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 1999) - It's been a while since a trip to Michigan Speedway yielded much to Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip. But Sunday, the two-mile oval returned a 15th place finish to the NASCAR veteran, as well as some much-needed momentum with more than half of the 1999 Winston Cup season remaining.
Waltrip's finish was hard-fought, as he picked up three positions during the final 50 laps of the caution-free event. Up to that point, the Owensboro, Kentucky-driver studied the handling of his car during each of the first three fuel runs, searching for the proper balance in the hot, humid summer-like weather. Perseverance seemed to pay off as the day wore on, as Waltrip found himself turning solid lap times during the closing stages of the race.
"I love being better at the end than I am at the beginning," said Waltrip. "That's one of the things we accomplished today. The crew was just so great, with the adjustments they gave me. When you're racing, you're really trying to think about the car. But, it's great when you have a crew on pit road that's doing exactly the same thing "
Waltrip's finish capped off a weekend that appeared to turn the Philips Racing Team back in the positive direction it was headed earlier in the 1999 season. Waltrip's starting position of 16th was his best at a non-restrictor plate race since he placed the Philips Chevrolet 13th in the lineup at Darlington, while Sunday's top 15 finish ended a streak of six straight finishes of 18th or worse. Waltrip's Michigan performance also moved him up to 18th in the current Winston Cup point standings, leaving him just 24 points out of the 15th position.
Next Sunday, the Winston Cup Series continues at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Waltrip and his teammates will be looking to build on this weekend's run at the 2.5-mile tri-oval where Waltrip drove to 14th and 10th place finishes in 1998.