Phoenix Michael Waltrip Preview

Phoenix is a problem turned opportunity for Philips driver Michael Waltrip HARRISBURG, N.C. (Nov. 1, 1999) - In many ways, this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway puts Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip in...

Phoenix is a problem turned opportunity for Philips driver Michael Waltrip

HARRISBURG, N.C. (Nov. 1, 1999) - In many ways, this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway puts Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip in the position of having everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Last year, he experienced the ultimate low at Phoenix when he failed to qualify for the first time in 13 years. With that disappointment as motivation, Waltrip sharpened his focus on the series' flat tracks heading into 1999. After a season of steady improvement on those racetracks, Waltrip now heads to Phoenix confident and looking for a good finish.

Michael Waltrip at Phoenix...

Starts:  10
Top 5s:  0
Top 10s:  2
Top 15s:  3
Ave. start:  25.00
Ave. finish:  23.60
Winnings:  $127,200
Best start:  11th ('88, '92)
Best finish:  9th ('89, '93)
1998:  DNQ

Michael Waltrip on...

...improving his flat track performance:

"Not qualifying at Phoenix really bummed me out last year. I had started 387 races in a row, so to have that happen was really disappointing. But even with that as my most recent experience there, I'm looking forward to going back because of the way we ran at Richmond and the way we ran at Martinsville this fall. Those were tracks that have not been real friendly to me in recent history either. But overall, we had good runs at both places and were able to take a lot away from each race.

"I was really concerned at the start of the season as to whether or not I would be successful on those tracks. You can basically look back to 1994 and '95, and see that I was in the top 10 in points most of the season, but then those tracks would take me out of it.

"When I came to this team, I knew this was an area where I could run well, but needed to concentrate on. I wanted to build cars and run tests and do the things that it took to turn those places into pluses instead of minuses. And that's what we've done, which makes me look forward to heading out to Phoenix."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip