(2/26/17) Michael Waltrip finished his career with a top 10 in his 30th Daytona 500, coming home 8th in his #15 Aaron's Toyota. He was the oldest driver at age 53, and he was one of just five drivers who were not involved in any wrecks.
"I was in the middle of every wreck, it seems like, and we were just able to sneak our way through," Mikey said in the FOX booth after the race. "When Ryan Blaney had his problem off Turn 4, they wrecked in front of me and behind me, and I was the only one to go through, so... Wow. It just was a fun day. You know what's so special, Chris? It's just been a chance... you know, I don't like it to be about me, but it's a chance for people to say man, we appreciate you. You did a good job for thirty year. We're glad you're able to go out on your own terms."
The race came down to fuel mileage as much as it did dodging wrecks, and Mikey and his #15 team planned their strategy well. "It just was right on it," Mikey said. "My team told me that we were two laps short, and I needed to do everything I could to save. We lost the draft, which was unfortunate, because at the end of the race, I had a really good handling car, and we were passing people. It just happened to be one of those deals where it was right on the edge of fuel when we went back to green. People were saving, and people were pushing hard, and when that happens, you're going to have a mix-up at the end, and we certainly saw that."
(2/23/17) Michael Waltrip finished 17th in his Can-Am duel race, the second of two qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500. He will start 32nd in his #15 Aaron's Toyota for his last start in the Great American Race and in his career.
After hanging up his helmet, Mikey will continue to be a part of FOX's NASCAR broadcasting team. He was on pit road greeting drivers during his signature pit walk prior to the first duel. After speaking with Daytona pole winner Chase Elliott, he said, "This place is energetic. I'm in my happy place here."
(5/1/16) Michael Waltrip's #55 Peak Anti-Freeze Toyota finished 12th in the Geico 500, today's Sprint Cup race at Talladega. His #55 Peak Anti-Freeze Toyota sustained damage on lap 58 when Martin Truex Jr got into the back of the #55 and spun it. Mikey rallied back, enduring hardcore last lap racing from just before halfway and beyond as drivers raced in anticipation of rain that never came. He dropped back a few times to avoid aggressive drivers and wrecks.
"A 12th place finish for a small team like @premiummotrspts can help their @ToyotaRacing #Camry be better next race. Glad to be part of today," Mikey wrote on Twitter just after the race. Later, he posted more of his thoughts. "Nothing much has changed. My whole life all I wanted to do was race a car. Today I was a race car driver again and I loved it. When I was a kid I wanted to race against the very best drivers in the world, my heroes. Brother Darrell, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt. I did that and it was awesome. Today was my 60th Talladega Superspeedway race and 30 years later the only thing that's changed are the names. Jimmie, Denny, and now it's Dale Jr. I still want to line up against the best and see how I stack up. Im thankful I can do that. I led, got punted and saved it (wow!) missed some big wrecks and finished 12th. 30 years ago that would have been a great day. And today, it's still a great day. Nothing much has changed."
(2/18/16) Michael Waltrip is relying on his qualifying speed to make Sunday's Great American Race. A problem with his gas can relegated his BK Racing #83 Maxwell House Camry to a 20th place finish in the second Can Am Duel race this evening. Mikey will start 36th in his 29th Daytona 500.
"The car drove well. We just had problem getting the gas in it, so we had to come back in for an extra stop," Mikey said from FOX's Hollywood Hotel after the race. "These cars are running right on the edge. And you put them in a pack and make an abrasive move, it can really get away from you. So we're going to have to get to work on the #83 Maxwell House Toyota, because it's a little bit loose, and we learned that today. We look forward to Saturday, practicing some more."
All four BK Racing cars made the field for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series opener. David Ragan's #23 earned a spot after running the first duel, which Dale Earnhardt Jr won. Matt Dibenedetto's #93 raced onto the grid with a 9th place finish in the second duel, allowing Robert Richardson Jr to use his qualifying time to get his #26 on the grid.
(5/3/15) Michael Waltrip was unable to avoid a situation that sent him to the garage on Lap 18. The engine in Brian Scott's #33 expired, and Mikey's #55 Aaron's Dream Machine had nowhere to go but into the #33. He finished 37 laps down in 36th in this afternoon's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer finished 30th in the #15 5-Hour Energy Camry. The #15 was running in the top ten throughout closing laps but was collected in a last lap wreck.
Before the race, Mikey interviewed drivers in the infield. "These are my buddies. These are my people. This is where I come from." He asked people to interview his helmet, which was covered with photos of his friend FOX Sports reporter Steve Byrnes, who died of cancer on April 21st. The helmet went to his family after the race.
(2/22/15) Michael Waltrip overcame early damage, got back on the lead lap, and finished 26th in his 28TH DAYTONA 500 today at Daytona International Speedway. His driver Clint Bowyer came home 7th in the #15 5-Hour Energy Camry. Joey Logano won, and from victory lane, he thanked Clint for his drafting help.
Mikey talked about the Great American Race from FOX's Hollywood Hotel after the checkered flag. "Just like everyone predicted, early in the race, it became a handling race. You had to have a car that would stick in the corners. And our car was really good. And I was driving up through the field, got up inside the top twenty. There was a crash in front of me, and we got a little bit of damage. And then, from then on, I was just behind the eight ball. Congratulations to Joey Logano. Fortunately, I know how that feels like when you get one of those Daytona 500 trophies. I'm so proud of that team, of Joey, the job he does, and really proud too that I've been able to share the track with Jeff Gordon all these years. That's special too."
(2/19/15) Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will start 34th in the Great American Race. He finished 19th in the second Budweiser Duel race tonight at Daytona International Speedway. He laid back and protected his #99 Aaron's Dream Machine, preserving it for Sunday. His driver Clint Bowyer finished 5th in the first duel race; his #15 5-Hour Energy Camry will start 9th in the Daytona 500.
(2/15/15) Michael Waltrip will start 11th in the second Budweiser Duel race on Thursday. His #55 Aaron's Dream Machine ranked 22nd in qualifying today at Daytona International Speedway. His 6th fastest speed in the first round of qualifying moved him onto the next, but a clutch problem prevented him from advancing to the third. Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer, whose #15 5-Hour Energy Camry wrecked in the first round, will start 21st in the first Duel.
(10/19/14) Michael Waltrip's Jay Robinson Racing #66 MyAFibStory.com Toyota finished 16th in the Geico 500, today's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The car was loose early in the day but ultimately lacked speed. His drivers Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers finished 3rd and 20th respectively.
(7/6/14) Michael Waltrip's Jay Robinson Racing #66 Royal Peak Collections Toyota finished 19th in an incredibly weather affected Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Both Michael Waltrip Racing drivers finished in the top 10. Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine was 2nd, and Clint Bowyer's 5 Hour Energy Camry was 9th.
Typically, this midsummer race takes place under the lights the Saturday night closest to the Fourth of July. Thunder, lightening, and rain throughout the day yesterday spoiled that plan. At 9pm last night, an hour after the race was scheduled to start, NASCAR made the decision to postpone the green flag to 11:00am ET today. The sanctioning body called for two red flag periods for weather. A fleet of jet dryers took to the track but ultimately lost the track to rain. NASCAR called the race just before 3:00pm.
(5/4/14) Michael Waltrip's #66 BlueDEF / AAA Toyota finished 25th in the Aaron's 499, today's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. His Camry was loose throughout the race and was vibrating during most of it. Mikey chose to hang at the back of the pack much of the day to avoid wrecks, which he did. Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer both finished in the top 5. Brian's #55 Aaron's Dream Machine and Clint's 5 Hour Energy Camry crossed the stripe 3rd and 4th respectively. Fellow Toyota driver Denny Hamlin won his first restrictor plate race.
"It was tense!" Mikey commented from FOX Sports' Hollywood Hotel after the race. "And my car was so loose! And I think we saw that more than we'd anticipated today. Guys were really right on the edge of control. You needed some adjustments to get your car tightened up, and you needed that all important track position. I'll tell you what, my car had one set of tires that vibrated so bad, I couldn't hardly see. Once we got that squared away, we got the handling better, but man, Chris! When you restart with just two or three laps to go, and they're four wide, three deep in front of you, where do you go? I could not find anywhere to go. So we just survived and got a top 25 finish."
(2/24/14) Nine hours after the green flag waved, on lap 146, Michael Waltrip's #66 BlueDEF / AAA Toyota was wrecked out of the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick and Brian Scott had triggered the accident, and Alex Bowman got into Mikey as the #66 slowed.
"Well, I saw the cars get together ahead of me, and I got off the gas and was coasting under control, and someone behind me wasn't," Mikey said after his race ended. "And I'm not really sure what car started it, but a black one ended it for me. He ran me over pretty hard. And it was fun racing with the leaders. I stayed in touch with the lead pack. And I know, Krista, this battle to the finish is going to be intense, and I wanted to get the ol' Peak Blue DEF Toyota right up in the middle of it. But luckily, I've got AAA, so I'm gonna file a claim, and we'll be able to fix this baby up and will have it at Talladega in a couple of months."
Mikey finished 41st. His drivers Clint Bowyer also finished in the garage when his #15 5 Hour Energy Camry suffered engine issues; Clint was 42nd. Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine pit with 26 laps to go, and he finished eight laps down in 30th; Austin Dillon had wrecked him toward the end of the race.
(2/20/14) Michael Waltrip's #66 BlueDEF / AAA Toyota was destroyed on the last lap of the second Budweiser Duel race, one of tonight's two qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500. Although his 18th place finish did not earn him a starting position, Mikey will race in Sunday's Great American Race based on owner's point standings; he is 42nd on the grid. Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers ranked 20th and 32nd respectively in their #15 5-Hour Energy Camry and #55 Aaron's Dream Machine. Clint will start in the rear of the field with his car owner; his car was also collected in the multi-car accident on the last lap, having flipped 180 degrees before landing on its wheels.
After the second duel, Mikey noted that Jimmie Johnson's #48 had run out of gas, which had caused the wreck. "He had his hand out the window, so I think he lost his momentum, and Jamie just clipped him there. And I had a car right in front of me, and I moved up a little and hit another, tapped another car. And then I thought I saw my... I'm the owner of that 15 car, and I thought I saw him flipping. And he landed on his wheels, and we unfortunately caught the inside wall. You know, better judgment for our team would have probably been just, we had 15th locked up, and we couldn't really go anywhere. And hindsight's always 20/20, and the best decision probably would have been to just back out of that mess. But I don't get to race very often, and I get all... the adrenoline was pumping, and I was on it!"
Before competing in the second duel race, Mikey was in Fox's Hollywood Hotel with Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond for the first. He talked about his strategy in getting into the Daytona 500. "My best chance is just to go out there and run in the top 15," he said. "When we were here in July, I finished in the top 5 with everybody out there. So I think I have a good shot of doing just that. The strategy that I'm going to have is - when they throw the green flag, starting in 17th - I'm going to try to go to the front right then. But if it doesn't work, and your moves you play out don't get you where you're going, then you might just lay back and let things develop a bit. I think handling is going to be interesting tonight, and also watch closely all the side drafting you're going to see."
When Chris Myers recognized him for his impressive record at this track, Mikey said, "I've run well here over the years, but a fast car is what's going to make you run good at Daytona."
Jeff Hammond asked Mikey about potential drafting partners.
"Everybody's a fair weather friend," Mikey replied. "You talk a good game in the garage area beforehand. When you go out there to go race, it's a different story. So I'm just going to be on an island and do my own thing."
(2/16/14) Michael Waltrip ran a half marathon this morning, then jumped in his Camry this afternoon for Daytona 500 qualifying. He ranked 34th in his #66 BlueDEF / AAA Toyota. The #66 is the product of an alliance between Michael Waltrip Racing and Jay Robinson Racing. Clint Bowyer's #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota and Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine were 15th and 37th respectively for MWR.