Michael Waltrip Talladega Race Report
Michael Waltrip, No. 15, Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, finished ninth.
MICHAEL WALTRIP SUMMARY: No. 15 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Michael Waltrip finished ninth in Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was Waltrip’s129th top-10 finish of his career and his best since Nov. 1, 2009 when he finished seventh at Talladega. Waltrip started fast leading lap 26 extending his streak of leading a lap to each season since 1985. The two-time Daytona 500 champion avoided trouble hanging near the back of the pack and drafting with Bobby Labonte for a majority of Sunday’s race. In the closing stages Waltrip surged to the front of the field amid the fierce racing to claim the ninth-place finish. Sunday’s race is Waltrip’s final Sprint Cup race of the 2011 season.
- Waltrip finished ninth, the 129th top-10 finish of his career.
- Sunday marked Waltrip’s 50th start at Talladega.
- Waltrip led lap 26 - the 1,381st of his career.
- 1985 was the last year Michael Waltrip did not lead a lap during a Sprint Cup season.
- Ken Butler, chief operating officer at Aaron’s, served as co-crew chief with Bobby Kennedy on the
pit box and team radio on Sunday.
WALTRIP QUOTE: “I want to thank everyone at MWR and Toyota for giving all of us fantastic cars and engines today. In the final lap we all had shots to win this and Martin and David nearly did. It was a great finish and I’m very proud of the performance. Also, thanks to Ken Butler for helping us out today. That was a lot of fun. A top 10 at Talladega is pretty awesome.”
- Clint Bowyer beat Jeff Burton to the checkered flag by 0.018 seconds for his fifth career Sprint Cup
- Dave Blaney, Brad Keselowski, and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five.
- The race featured 72 lead changes among 26 drivers
- Nine cautions slowed the race for 38 laps for an average speed of 143.404 MPH.
- The race lasted three hours, 29 minutes and 14 seconds.
- NASCAR estimated the crowd at 105,000