For the first time in over a year Michael Waltrip doesn't have to worry if he is going to be in the race or not. Michael is currently sitting in 30th position and locked into the race at Martinsville. In fact the whole MWR team can be assured of racing at Martinsville, as the 44 and 00 are also in the top 35. Not bad for a team that last year struggled each week to get at least one car in a race. None of the teams can really relax as they are all not very far ahead of the 36th position but at least for this weekend they can concentrate on race setup during practice and get ready for Sunday instead of worrying about qualifying then having just a few minutes on Saturday trying to get a good race setup under the car.
There was a change in the off week at MWR, Bobby Kennedy and Paul Andrews swapped positions within the organization and Bobby will be Michael's crew chief. This could be a very good move for Mikey. Bobby has worked with Mikey for a long time in the Bush series. They have run well and won races so Bobby has a good idea how Mikey likes the car set up and he also knows how to handle Mikey during the race. As much as I am a fan, Mikey can piss you off during a race when you listen to him on the radio. He asks for changes and tells the crew chief what changes to make then when they don't work he gripes at the crew chief and gets all upset and then he really starts to lose positions. Well, Bobby doesn't have a problem telling Mikey to shut up and tell him what the car is doing where and he will decide what adjustments the car needs. This is just what Mikey needs in a crew chief. Someone who isn't afraid to tell the boss to quit bitching and drive.
Outlook for this weekend: Mikey and David need to get solid top 20's at Martinsville. For Mikey a top 20 could solidify his top 35 status for the remainder of the season. While David needs this type of finish to move up from 34th. As for Mike McDowell he needs a solid run and to stay out of trouble. If he can land a top 30 in his first race he will be doing well and should be safe in the top 35 for at least a couple more weeks.
Now is the time for some really good finishes. As those in the "Go or Go Home status" fight for a starting position you know that some of the drivers in positions 36 through 40 are going to start missing races. When this happens those in the top 30 can put some breathing room between them and the "go or go homers". Right now the focus has to be on all the cars with a lot more care given to the 44 as he sits in the 34th position. If David gets caught up in someone elses wreck early in the race then he could very well be in the sitituation he was in all last year fighting to make races.
Heres to a solid weekend for MWR. I'm not asking for wins just solid top 20 runs.