Talladega: Michael Waltrip press conference

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA MONTE CARLO (second): "It was a good day for our team. We knew we had one of the fastest cars; Junior wound up being a little stronger than us all day. But I had a lot of fun running second and seeing how long I ...


"It was a good day for our team. We knew we had one of the fastest cars; Junior wound up being a little stronger than us all day. But I had a lot of fun running second and seeing how long I could sit there and protect it. We made a deal, whoever was there the other one would take care of him. I was proud of him for blocking for me when he needed to and that's what I did for him. Kurt, he was responsible for me running last at one point. I had a couple of runs on him buit he got to the yellow line before I could get beside him. I got all the way beside him but then I said I went under that line, what am I supposed to do now. Not knowing what the rule was for sure I backed off 'cause I didn't want to take a chance on getting blackflagged. I figured I could make it up. I got behind Kurt a couple of times and finally wound up running last. That was some tough times when I went from last back up to first. But Kurt is just a great race car driver; he understands how to run at Bristol and he understands how to be successful at Daytona and Talladega and he's done it in a short period of time. He blocked me off; he did what he had to do. That's not roughing you up; that's doing your job. I'm proud of him for learning so fast how to do his job."

"I don't understand how that all went down. Kurt and those guys had a big run on me on the last lap and gave me a heck of a push. I could not win the race because I was behind Junior and there was no one behind me. All those guys, Kurt, Jarrett, all those guys were fighting for positions themselves at times to get to us but they didn't position themselves in time to get a run on me or for me to get a run on Junior. He caught me coming through the tri-oval and I was able to block him off, and it pushed me it up beside Junior, but it was a little bit too little, a little bit too late."

ON THE CRASH: "I don't know what happened at all. I didn't see it; I was ahead of it. But when I got all the way to last and had to come from last and I got all the way up to third before the wreck happened I sensed that it was a real possibility (to be involved). Because for some reason everybody come up with the idea to run around the top. And they were running side by side into the part where I hit the wall. The further the race goes the more chance to wreck to happen are because people start to say OK I've got you going now and I don't choose to blame Talladega or the plate. It's the decisions that we make that cause the wrecks; and I don't know what happened."

ON EARNHARDT JR. AND HIS SUCCESS ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: "He's very talented, obviously, When I'm riding around behind him I see him doing things that I think to myself that was pretty smart. I'll say I don't know if I would have thought of that or he'll do something and I'll say nice, that's what I would have done. I observe him doing things that are really impressive. And so he's just learned a lot by watching on T.V. when he was growing up, I bet, and being at the races on the weekend and then he could apply what he learned directly to himself when he would get the car and he could perform. He does some pretty cool stuff, even at 180 mph out there; it's hard to do anything very cool out there other than just block people."

IF IT WASN'T YOUR TEAMMATE IN THE LAST 10 LAPS WOULD YOU HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENT? "Early in the race I would have led a lot. If you can appreciate this, I was positioned behind Dale Jr., just like Stacy Compton was positioned behind Jason Keller yesterday. There was nobody pushing me. The guys third on back were all fighting to position themselves to get to us. But none of them were able to get to us until Kurt finally broke free and got there coming to the checkered flag. I was in jail. The only thing I could do at that point was lose second because I was like a hanger-oner. They were going to get to me and pass me and I was going to slow down their momentum as they reached for Junior. So when they came by me and slowed down he could have blocked them off. I would have been in jail. No, I couldn't do anything, nor could've anyone done anything. I was just sitting there."

IS CHEVY ON A COMEBACK? "These four races are kind of on island. They're all on their own. So I don't how to answer that question exactly. I think we had been close enough where we could have won before with some of the Chevrolets. But as far as seeing a bunch of Chevys at the top of the finishing order week in and week out I haven't seen that and so I think that if everybody is honest that Chevy might be hurting at the other places; we were pretty good here."

AN EXAMPLE OF JUNIOR DRIVING A RACE CAR ON A SUPERSPEEDWAY: "Just changing lanes and goofing off. 50 laps into the 500 mile race what good it would do -- it's fun to goof around and learn what you can learn and try things to see if they work or not. And I think some of that helped me at the end of the race when I had to flight for my life; when I had to make some moves. He's just real comfortable with his car. We went down the back straightaway doing this -- and I thought that was pretty funny and we went all the way through 3 and 4 doing it, like that -- I guess that means, what's that mean, hang loose? He's just crazy. We're from two different generations, but we seem to be able to mesh pretty good."

-team monte carlo-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller