CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 66 BlueDEF Toyota driver Michael Waltrip heads to Talladega Superspeedway for his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of 2014.
The Owensboro, Ky., native saw his bid for a third Daytona 500 victory end in a lap 144 crash in February. Waltrip nearly won the October 2012 Talladega race before a last lap wreck took him out of contention.
In 55 starts at Talladega Waltrip owns one win (September 2003), eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. He has also led 233 laps.
MICHAEL WALTRIP: “I have had the same strategy lately. I start the race and run in the back for a little while to get my legs under me. I want to make sure I understand how the car is handling and what it’s like to be out there drafting. I use the first quarter of the race as warm up. I make sure I understand all the intricacies of how the air is working on that particular day and how to use the air to my advantage. Then I try and go hard at the last half. I like to split it up into four quarters. The first one is sort of warm up, second quarter I try to get in the middle of the pack, third I try and lead for a few laps and be around at the end.
· Birthday: Waltrip celebrated his birthday on Wednesday.
· 66 team: Waltrip and Jeff Burton will drive the No. 66 for MWR in a limited number of races. A newly formed partnership between MWR and Jay Robinson Racing will allow the No. 66 to compete in all NASCAR Sprint Cup races with Joe Nemechek as the primary driver. Veteran Chad Walter serves as crew chief when MWR fields the Toyota. The team finished 41st at Daytona with Waltrip and 17th at Las Vegas with Burton.
· Waltrip Career Stats: Waltrip owns four Sprint Cup, 11 Nationwide and one Camping World Truck Series victory. He’s led 1,409 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Waltrip has started 775 Sprint Cup races, 279 Nationwide races and nine truck events. In four starts in 2013, Waltrip posted two top-five finishes. He has also led four laps and completed 740 of 741 laps.
· Display Visit: Waltrip will visit the Aaron’s display in the sponsor midway Saturday at 10:10 a.m.
· Chassis: Waltrip will drive Chassis No. 748 at Talladega. Waltrip drove this chassis to a 41st-place finish in the 2014 Daytona 500. Martin Truex Jr. also drove this chassis to a ninth-place finish in the 2013 Sprint Unlimited. Chassis No. 749 will serve as the backup. It has not raced.