Rockingham II: Michael Waltrip preview

The NAPA team tested at North Carolina Speedway on Oct. 29 along with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We tested down there last week," said Waltrip, "and we learned a whole bunch of stuff that we think will be really beneficial when we roll out the...

The NAPA team tested at North Carolina Speedway on Oct. 29 along with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"We tested down there last week," said Waltrip, "and we learned a whole bunch of stuff that we think will be really beneficial when we roll out the NAPA Chevy on Friday afternoon. Everything is looking good for us going into the last two races. We have run so well, yet have so little to show for our efforts, but we know our luck will flip. We are going to get with it and make things happen to finish this season the way we started it."

"We only got 5 1/2 hours in because of the weather when we tested," crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe said. "But we made some long runs and I feel like we were better than the other teams that were there. We did some really aggressive set-ups with a brand new car. Our results have not indicated how well we have run at the Rock in the past; plus, the places we have tested have been great tracks for us this year not matter what Michael's past performances have been. We're optimistic about Sunday.

Waltrip's best start at The Rock is second in 1995 and best finish is fourth in 1992.

A year ago:

The NAPA car was tight from the start of the 393-lap race. Air pressure was the first change Waltrip requested. By lap 125, the car was still pushing, but not as bad as it was in the first 100 laps; the NAPA car held the 33rd position. Waltrip along with both of his DEI teammates and Winston Cup point leader, Tony Stewart, were lapped by the race leader before halfway.

The car came to life after another air pressure adjustment and a track bar change around lap 215. Waltrip started running together on lap 290. Waltrip entered the pits 28th and returned to the racetrack 26th, the best he had been all day.

Fuel mileage determined final positions for several race teams. The DEI cars did not have to make final pit stops, but several other teams were forced to take on fuel. The NAPA team reaped the benefits of good gas mileage and found themselves among the top-20 at the end of the race. Waltrip brought the NAPA car home 19th.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip