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.”