NASCAR WCUP: Pride, prestige weigh large for Michael Waltrip at Indy
5 August 1999HARRISBURG, N.C. (Aug. 5, 1999) - The annual running of the Brickyard 400 stands for a number of things, not the least of which is a huge purse. But according to Philips Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip, the thought of a big payday is not the leading motivation for him when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series visits one of the most famous racetracks in the world. For Waltrip, it is more about the pride and prestige that accompanies a good run the 400-mile event, and on the heels of a productive test at Indy two weeks ago, Waltrip is hoping he'll have plenty to be proud of after Saturday's race.
Michael Waltrip at Indianapolis...
Michael Waltrip on...
...money as a motivator at Indianapolis:
"I would hate to say it doesn't matter, because it does. But, I don't go up there with that in my mind. I would just be so proud to lead that race and win that race. Then, when you got home, you would see how much money you had. That would be neat. But, my focus towards that race is just to be competitive. I want to run well at Indy so bad. I ran eighth the first year we were there, but I haven't been that good since then. Last year, we struggled and finished 21st. At a big track, at a big event, you don't want to struggle. You want to be right on. We had a good test with the Philips Chevy, so hopefully we'll be competitive. I promise I don't think about the money going up there. I just think about being successful and running well."
...the rising speeds at Indianapolis:
"The main reason for it is the overall aerodynamic package. Cars have gotten better aerodynamically, so they are going to go faster. Teams have also made their engines better. It seems like we make more power every week.
"This year, everything is lined up to where you should see record speeds. But, the track is really sensitive to temperature. Last year when we qualified, Ernie [Irvan] set a track record, but it was overcast and not really that hot. So, that could go out the window for one lap of qualifying, if it is really hot. But, for the overall length of the race, the speeds should be faster."