From Revelry to Reality: Waltrip Skips Celebration to Ready for Atlanta Race
Monday, September 29, 2003
Michael Waltrip won his second race of the season Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but the celebration had to wait ¿ he had a helicopter to catch.
Less than 12 hours after leaving Talladega, Waltrip was at Atlanta Motor Speedway, testing his No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in preparation for the Oct. 26 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.
Also testing Monday was Georgia native Buckshot Jones, who will drive the No. 99 Aaron¿s car for Waltrip in the Oct. 26 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Waltrip¿s fastest lap was 29.86 seconds (185.666 mph), which only eclipsed Jones¿ quick lap (185.109 mph) by 0.09 seconds.
Busch Series racer David Green, who is fourth in points, also tested. His fastest lap was 180.293 mph (30.75 seconds).
¿You work so hard to do your best to win each week,¿ Waltrip said. ¿That¿s your goal every time you go to the track. When you win, you did your job and when you don¿t, you know you have to work harder the next time. Especially at a track like Talladega, you¿re really more relieved than excited when you win. You have a little party and then you get back to work.¿
Waltrip hopes the win will help he and his team, headed by crew chief Slugger Labbe, to overcome a recent streak of bad luck.
¿Until Sunday, there were five weeks in a row where we hurt results-wise,¿ he said. ¿I told Slugger and the boys that we could win the next five and make everybody forget our streak of bad finishes. We got the first one Sunday and now we¿re going to have to win them all through Atlanta so I can make good on that promise.¿
Waltrip actually has two chances to make good on his promise in Atlanta, as he is running both the Oct. 25 Aaron¿s 312 Busch race and the Oct. 26 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Winston Cup race.
¿The Aaron¿s 312 is always one of the races I¿d like to win because it¿s in Aaron¿s hometown and all of those guys get to see the race,¿ Waltrip said. ¿I wouldn¿t say I try any harder than usual, but it would be a great race for me to win.¿
He dominated the 2003 race, spending 114 of 203 laps in the lead. He was forced to pit for fuel with 15 laps remaining and finished second to Jamie McMurray .
Waltrip said he would have gambled and most likely won had it been any other Busch Series race, but the extra 12 miles made that impossible.
¿Most Busch races are 300 miles,¿ Waltrip said. ¿I like the idea of the drama of 12 extra miles. Sure it cost me last year, but I knew how far the race was when I took the green flag.¿
All three drivers will continue testing Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 24-26 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend.
Tickets are still available for all three days of racing action by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.