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Homeward Bound: Darrell Waltrip Fails to Qualify

2 October 1997

CONCORD, NC -- Darrell Waltrip has failed to qualify for the UAW-GM Quality 500. This marks the first time since Waltrip went full time Winston Cup racing back in 1975 that 'Jaws' has not qualified for a race.

There was a short time back in 1990 when Waltrip did not attempt several races due to injuries received during a practice session for the Fire Cracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Waltrip's string of consecutive starts will therefore end at 216.

According to a team spokesman, NASCAR summoned Waltrip to the trailer to fully explain what was about to happen to him. Waltrip, well knowing before he stepped into the trailer what he was going to hear, only nodded when the news was delivered. DW's answer - "I understand."

The spokesman went on to describe Waltrip's mood as "extremely disappointed".

The situation unfolded when Terry Labonte, last years champion, was -assigned- the single former champions provisional by NASCAR.

NASCAR then took the next four cars based on car -owner- points. This is when Waltrip's luck ran out.

Six other drivers will also load up and go home early along with Waltrip. They are Dave Marcis, Rick Mast, Mike Skinner, Greg Sacks, Steve Park and Elliott Sadler substituting in the #40 car that Robby Gordon left last week.

Showing just how determined these drivers are, Kenny Wallace was willing to burn his ride to the ground to get in the show. "I told the car, 'you ain't got no choice in this matter.' I didn't go with any brakes in the car because there was no need to. I wasn't gonna use them even if I would have had them. I told the car, 'either you stick or you wreck. those are your only choices.'

As a note Kenny Wallace, who ran 47th fastest in qualifying yesterday, was the fastest driver in second round qualifying.

Mike Snow -- The Auto Channel