Michael Waltrip Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Michael Waltrip finished 25th in Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Waltrip started 11th and raced in the middle to the back of the pack throughout most of the race. As the end drew close Waltrip made his way to the front. On the final lap Waltrip dove under Tony Stewart in the fourth turn in a battle for the lead and the likely race win. But the two cars made contact triggering a massive 20-car accident. The Aaron’s Dream Machine slammed into the wall leaving Waltrip with the 25th-place finish. The No. 55 returns to action Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Mark Martin behind the wheel of the Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota.
- Qualified 11th and finished 25th.
- Waltrip appeared like he would be the race winner.
- Waltrip and Tony Stewart made contact battling for the lead on the final corner of the race.
- No drivers were hurt in the 20-car accident that followed.
- The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine carried a special paint scheme in tribute to Aaron’s founder Charlie Loudermilk.
- Mark Martin returns to the No. 55 Saturday at Charlotte.
WALTRIP: “What happened on the final lap? “ We just did a great job. Rodney Childers, our crew chief of the Aaron’s Dream Machine had me in a position to win. I felt really comfortable with being on the inside and I felt happy with who I was with and we pushed our way through. I wasn’t totally stable anyway with the big push I guess it was (Casey) Mears was giving me and then when I went to turn down lower on Tony (Stewart) it got a little loose and then the crash. I talked to Tony. You know, when you don’t do this all the time people are quick to point their fingers at you, but Tony’s said, ‘I’m sorry, friend, that was all on me,’ and that means a lot. I couldn’t bare causing something like that. I had my foot on the floor board for sure and I was getting pushed as hard as I could go. I thought somehow maybe I was going to win one more of these things and that was going to be special. Heck, that’s the way it goes.”
How disappointed are you? “It’s pretty much a buzz kill when you get crashed on the last lap and you’re not able to finish. I can’t take it, it’s too much pressure on me as an owner and as a guy that’s the front man for the team. If I caused something — I just have to race defensively not to cause anything. Heck, on the last lap I thought maybe I was going to squirt though. I don’t blame Tony at all because anybody in the world would have had to block like that. That’s what you had to do on the last lap. I was hauling ass.”
- Matt Kenseth won the race.
- Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, David Ragan and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race took two hours and 56 minutes.
- The race featured 54 lead changes among 18 drivers.
- Five cautions slowed the race for 17 laps.
- NASCAR estimated the attendance at 88,000