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Michael Waltrip

Birthdate: April 30, 1963
Hometown: Owensboro, KY
Car Number: 15
Team: Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Sponsor: NAPA Auto Parts
Manufacturer: Chevrolet

Hobbies: Gold, Tennis, Working out in the yard
Spouse: Elizabeth 'Buffy'

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For Michael Waltrip
, 2001 is the season to lay all the cards on the table. Moving in to a high-profile ride with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Waltrip was charged with ending his 0-for-462 skein in the Winston Cup Series. In only his first race with DEI, he did just that, winning the 2001 Daytona 500.

Waltrip announced in September last year that he would be driving for Earnhardt in 2001. It puts Waltrip on the spot in 2001. In 16 seasons his best points finish is 12th, twice. He has two pole positions, the first of which came at Dover in 1991. Before 2001, his best Winston Cup finish was second place.

Waltrip has known exactly what he wanted to be since he was 11 years old. From that point on, he has pursued his dream and established a career as a race driver, like older brother Darrell, who retired last season after winning three Winston Cup championships. The younger Waltrip spent the early part of his career racing in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. In 1983, he won the Charlotte-Daytona Dash Series championship, then moved to North Carolina, where he lived with the Petty family for a time while trying to establish his career.

Since then, he has been successful in the Busch Series, where he continues to field a team, with eight wins and 11 poles. Waltrip also won The Winston all star race in 1996, when he became the first driver to win the special event after transferring from the Winston Open.


Press Release announcing Waltrip's move to DEI:

Waltrip's No. 15 NAPA ChevyNAPA Auto Parts joins the major leagues with Michael Waltrip and Earnhardt Incorporated
Champion Sports Group

Mooresville, NC (September 13, 2000)
Dale Earnhardt announced today that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will be expanding its motorsports program with the addition of a third NASCAR Winston Cup team in 2001. The newest DEI entry will be driven by Winston Cup veteran Michael Waltrip while carrying the blue and gold of NAPA AUTO PARTS. 

"The NAPA AUTO PARTS Winston Cup team is another move for DEI in its efforts towards winning championships," remarked Dale Earnhardt. "It takes the right combination to be successful. NAPA and DEI have had tremendous success over the years. When we decided to grow by adding another Winston Cup team they never hesitated to grow with us. It's a team effort and they've been a part of our team for six years. Michael was the final part of our newest team. I'm looking forward to having Michael around. We've been friends for many years and I know what he can do in a racecar. He's a talented driver that brings immediate experience to our program."

Waltrip in 1999Winston Cup veteran Michael Waltrip can't wait to get on the DEI bandwagon. "This is going to be good," said Waltrip. "Earnhardt is a fierce competitor that believes there's nothing good about second place. We've all seen it on the racetrack as a driver and now as a car owner. You want that in a car owner. I can't wait to work with these guys, it's kind of a 'who's who' list of people working at DEI. They've won races and championships and that's what I want to do, win races and bring another championship to NAPA and DEI. 

"I'm now an official member of the NAPA family," continued Waltrip, "I've unofficially been donating to the family fund for quite some time. As a kid my hot rod wasn't so hot and it needed a new part every week. I'd go to the local NAPA store and find what I needed."

"We are excited about what the future holds as we enter into the major leagues of auto racing, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. This is a big move for us and I can honestly say we would not do this with another team other than Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Our relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. over the years has brought NAPA two NASCAR Truck Series championships and numerous victories. We also are excited about having veteran Winston Cup driver, Michael Waltrip come aboard as driver and becoming the newest member of the NAPA family, " stated Steve Handschuh, NAPA President.

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teams have made their mark in the NASCAR racing world by claiming multiple championships in two of NASCAR's marquee series' including the 1998 and 1999 Busch Series and 1996 and 1998 NASCAR Truck Series titles. To date they have gone to Winners Circle in four NASCAR Winston Cup and two NASCAR Busch Series races in the 2000 season. DEI currently has two NASCAR Winston Cup teams featuring drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Steve Park. Terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. NAPA, the National Automotive Parts Association, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2000. The company was founded to meet America's growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. NAPA has been an industry leader ever since- an invaluable "partner" in the flow of parts from manufacturers to over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores and nearly 10,000 NAPA AutoCare Centers nationwide. NAPA is proud to say "We Keep America Running."



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