Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/15/14
CORNELIUS, N.C.— If the 2001 & 2003 Daytona 500 champion can be considered a dark horse pick to win Saturday night’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway then Michael Waltrip might be a good bet to take home another trophy. The No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver won this race in 2002 and led four laps in the 2013 Daytona 500. He finished fourth at Talladega in May in the sport’s most recent restrictor plate race and only a last corner accident deprived him of a chance for victory at Talladega in October 2012. Saturday’s race marks the founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing’s 51st Sprint Cup start on the Daytona high banks. Among drivers in Saturday’s race, only Terry Labonte’s 61 starts at Daytona exceeds Waltrip. In addition to his television and ownership duties, Waltrip will race in all four superspeedway races in 2013. WALTRIP ON DAYTONA: “My confidence heading into Daytona is really high. We are coming off a top-five finish at Talladega so I know we have a chance to win this weekend. We were competitive during the entire race at Talladega. We were also pretty good at Daytona in February. We led a few laps and ran in the top five until a mechanical failure took us out of contention. I am confident and looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend. It would be awesome to bring home a win for our friends at Aaron’s.” CREW CHIEF RODNEY CHILDERS ON WALTRIP: “Michael (Waltrip) does a really good job at those places. He just really understands the draft and where he needs to be and where he doesn’t need to be, really. I think sometimes it’s as much not getting in a bad position then it is anything. He does a good job for us at those places. Hopefully we can do the same thing again at this coming race and take care of our equipment and be there at the end.” DIS VETERAN … Waltrip has made 76 point series starts at Daytona International Speedway in NASCAR’s three top-series. The Owensboro, Ky., native has captured four wins at the 2.5 mile tri-oval including two Daytona 500 victories. He has also scored 12 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. SUPERSPEEDWAY STUD… Waltrip is considered to be one of NASCAR’s top superspeedway driver’s in history. He has started 104 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona and Talladega. The two-time Daytona 500 champion has grabbed four wins, 14 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes. MWR IN 2013: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored one win (Martin Truex Jr.—Sonoma), 12 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes in 17 races. MWR drivers have led 360 laps. With nine races until NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, Clint Bowyer is third and Truex is ninth in the standings. CAREER STATS: Waltrip owns four Sprint Cup, 11 Nationwide and one Camping World Truck Series victory. He’s led 1,405 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Waltrip has started 772 Sprint Cup races, 279 Nationwide races and nine truck events. PARTY: The MWR Girls will host a fan appreciation event 9—10 p.m. Friday at the Blue Grotto in Daytona Beach. The girls will be take pictures with fans and raffle prizes. MWR team members will attend to interact with fans. -Michael Waltrip Racing PR

Ohio State player wearing Kosta Karageorge's No. 53

Rob Ryan: I love Sean Payton

NJIT pulls off shocking upset over No. 17 Michigan

Warriors owner: No one in organization liked Mark Jackson

Report: Anonymous teammate blasts Robert Griffin III

Big Ten could see a bowl eligible team miss postseason


Cam Newton on struggles: ‘You realize rainy days don’t last’

Five questions to ask ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings

Redskins tickets selling for as little as $1

Andrew Miller agrees to four-year, $36M deal with Yankees

Brandon Marshall out for the season with collapsed lung

Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Has TCU done enough to clinch a playoff bid?

Five things to watch on Sunday

Is Jay Cutler on his way out in Chicago?

Four craziest possible NFL playoff scenarios

Is Colin Kaepernick's future up in the air in San Francisco?

Mariners start ad campaign after Nelson Cruz signing

WATCH: Kemba Walker makes game-winning layup at buzzer

WATCH: Antetokounmpo posterizes Chris Bosh

WATCH: Tiger Woods dry heaves before making birdie at 1st hole

WATCH: Trevone Boykin catches TD pass on trick play

WATCH: Arizona center pukes on ball, snaps it anyway

Yasiel Puig lands on cover of MLB The Show 15

Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Is Jay Cutler on his way out in Chicago?

NJIT stuns No. 17 Michigan

Warriors owner: Nobody liked Mark Jackson

Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Werth headed to jail for speeding?

In remembrance of sports columnist Bryan Burwell

What if the USFL didn't fold?

How do you know if your team is the “Mystery Team”?

Bulldogs OL saves day at strip club?

Game of the week: Seahawks vs. Eagles

Yankees trade for Didi Gregorius

Ortiz: BoSox must step up for Lester

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.