Waltrip fired up over return to Martinsville. MARTINSVILLE, VA. (Oct. 9, 2003) -- When Darrell Waltrip discovered that Martinsville Speedway was going to host two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2003, he danced a little jig. The ...
Waltrip fired up over return to Martinsville.
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (Oct. 9, 2003) -- When Darrell Waltrip discovered that Martinsville Speedway was going to host two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2003, he danced a little jig.
The difficult half-mile oval has long been one of Waltrip's favorite tracks He also won 11 Winston Cup races at Martinsville. But, more importantly at this point in his life, it is a track where his wife Stevie allows him to leave retirement behind for a couple of Saturday afternoons each year.
"It was really a stroke of luck for me when they added a second race at Martinsville," Waltrip said recently. "I never dreamed that would happen, but man, I'm glad."
Waltrip will be making his second visit of the season to Martinsville Speedway on October 18 for the running of the Advance Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. And after a seventh-place finish in last spring's Advance Auto Parts 250 at Martinsville, Waltrip is pumped.
"In my life, just any day at a race track when I'm driving is a great day," said the three-time Winston Cup champion turned star television commentator. "To go out and bump and grind with the guys and to be up there with a chance of winning like last spring, well, that's even better. If I'm gonna be able to race in three races a year, I want to take advantage of it. I don't have that many times to race left."
Waltrip's selection of Martinsville Speedway as the centerpiece of his limited Craftsman Truck schedule shouldn't come as a surprise, even though most drivers rate it as one of the most difficult tracks to get around.
"You listen to a lot of the drivers and they tell you it's one of the toughest tracks they go to as far as getting around and the finesse it requires. I've found it to be the same way," said Waltrip. "You see rookies really struggle. You'd think a little half-mile track would be easy to get around. People are shocked at how hard it is to get around.
"But I've always done well there and that makes it fun. It's the short-track atmosphere I love. I'm a finesse driver, not the kind of guy that stomps it and spins the rear tires. I keep it smooth. I have a knack for the short tracks. That's what I know."
A month before the Advance Auto Parts 200, Waltrip was itching for race weekend to arrive.
"I've got the best of both worlds. I get to be a part of racing ... hang out with the drivers. I've got more fans than I've ever had," said Waltrip. "I don't want to race too much. It just helps me getting out there with the guys I haven't competed with, guys like Jon Wood and Carl Edwards, guys that never had the chance to race me.
"After Martinsville last spring Jon Wood said 'if he's that good at 56, he must have been really good at my age. That keeps me in my fraternity."
Waltrip will attempt to get his Three Stooges Chevrolet in the field when qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts 200 begins at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 17. MW Windows Pole Day continues with Winston Cup cars going under the clock at 3:05 p.m.
The Advance Auto Parts 200 starts at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 18 and the SUBWAY 500 at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 19.
Good tickets remain for all events and may be ordered toll free at 877-RACE-TIX, 276-956-3151 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com. The Martinsville Speedway ticket office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.