Chat with Michael Waltrip
Waltrip sits in 17th place in the points standings, with one top 10 finish this season. After starting 21st last weekend at Martinsville, Waltrip finished 13th. He is a two-time Daytona 500 winner, grabbing the checkered flag in 2001 and 2003.
While Michael Waltrip Racing has entered cars in races for years, the 2007 season, after signing on with Toyota, marked the first time MWR fielded a full, full-time race team.
Send in your questions now, then join Waltrip at 11 a.m. ET Friday!
Michael Waltrip (11:01 AM)
Hey, how's it going everyone?
Michael Waltrip (11:02 AM)
Good morning from Texas Motor Speedway. We're about to run the Napa Car on Sunday and hopefully have a great weekend for MWR.
Jimbo, North Carolina
Which do yoy enjoy most, driving the 55 NAPA car or being the owner of three succesful cup race teams?
Michael Waltrip (11:03 AM)
I think I enjoy driving the most. Owning is s different world. It's like driving a bit, as you have to have teamwork, folks to run the day-to-day operations. Just to pick one or the other, they're so different that it would be difficult to do so, but I continually wake up in the morning excited about the opportunity to go race my car in circles.
Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
What do you think of David Reutimann being called "The Franchise of Michael Waltrip Racing?" Would you agree with that?
Michael Waltrip (11:05 AM)
We want David to feel that he's as an important part of MWR as anyone. He's very soft-spoken and has a demeanor that doesn't draw attention, so we wanted him to know we think highly of him and that he's an important part of who we are. I want him to enjoy it and live it up a little.
Thomas Lexington, KY
Hey Mikey, great start to the season. As a KY boy what do you think do you think about the hire of John Calipari to UK?
Michael Waltrip (11:06 AM)
As Kentucky boy who lived in North Carolina, I'm very happy about it. It's a great hire. I don't think most Kentucky fans have ever gotten over Pitino winding up at Louisville. We really think this could be a coaching move that could put the Big Blue back where they belong--fighting for a national championship.
How many more nationwide series races are you going to run in this year?
Michael Waltrip (11:07 AM)
I think I have about 14 total. Texas is my third. We have eleven or twelve more to go. We work every day to try to add to that. We have about seven or eight races that are unsponsored so far, and we'd like to get sponsors for those races and run more. That's the goal.
Michael Waltrip (11:08 AM)
It's a chance for me to get to drive for Aarons again, which is important to me. They are one of the cornerstones of MWR, and they've been with me since 1999. Reutimann and I are racing for them this weekend.
Steven Golebiowski Los Angles, CA [via mobile]
Just how interchangable are the COT's verse the old cars? Are you finding you have to build just as many COT's as the old cars to accommodate the different tracks?
Michael Waltrip (11:10 AM)
We've probably built more new cars initially, trying to learn and improve them, but they are way more interchangeable than the old one. You could take a car from Phoenix to Texas, whereas before, the aerodynamic differences with the old car because of the rules and they way they were policed, it wasn't as open. Anytime the rules are open more, you'll spend much more money figuring out how to exploit those rules. If you have a small box, everyone will be confined to it.
Pete C (Newark De)
Just wanted to chime in and say that your one of the best owner in the business and Please dont stop racing after this year. What do you think the major difference in your teams from last year toi this year? You guys are running significantly better.
Michael Waltrip (11:12 AM)
I think we were gaining on it at the end of last year. When the season ended, we just kept working on our cars and adding people to our team. We didn't get smaller, and all of our tech and engineering support remained the same. That alone moved us up the ladder--some teams lost a car due to not being able to maintain their business models. We stayed the same and improved overall. We're beginning our third season at MWR, and we've been facing teams who have done this for years, so we have a lot of ground to make up.
Hey Mike, been a huge fan since before DEI and am really enjoying the progress you guys are making this year, it is finally nice to see all your hard work coming to fruition. Just wondering if they have solved the Toyota engine issues that were occuring earlier this season and have you guys gained the horsepower back that you had to give up to make sure the motors had a better chance to finish the races.
Michael Waltrip (11:14 AM)
I don't think we've gained it all back, but we're gaining it back. We had really strong engines at California, but unfortunately some of them failed. You have to go into a bit of a defensive mode or lockdown, and go back to what will get you through the 500 miles. While we're racing the engines that are reliable, and you know there is more power on the bench, you have to make sure that power is there all day long.
Michael Waltrip (11:15 AM)
Don't forget the NAPA hat swap...go to NAPA and trade in your new one. Go to MichaelWaltrip.com or my fan page on Facebook and check it out!