Michael Waltrip's #15 NAPA Auto Parts Dale Earnhardt Incorporated team may be leading the standings in the McDonalds Pit Crew Championship fuelled by PowerAde but on the track the team has been struggling for the past two months and Monday's rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 ended no differently as Waltrip retired with an engine failure.

Rain cancelled Sunday's running of the 325-lap event after less than 40-laps had been completed and when the teams and driver's returned to the 1.54-mile quad-oval on Monday morning, Waltrip restarted the No. 15 Chevrolet 10th.

A slight altercation on the second lap of the restart involving Waltrip and the No. 54 car driven by Todd Bodine forced Michael to bring the NAPA car down pit road to fix body damage on the right front. The NAPA crew stopped twice to make sure the car was in the best possible condition, then restarted 35th.

Forty-nine laps later, Waltrip entered the top-five.

"I just need a slight air pressure change," requested Waltrip. "My car is a little too tight and I have found I can run the bottom of the race track better now. My car is really fast - just a minor change is all I need."

The NAPA crew gave Waltrip what he asked for on lap 151. Waltrip was thrilled with the way his car was handling and held the sixth position on lap 173 when with no indication, the engine folded.

"The adjustments my team made to my car today were right on," explained Waltrip. "We had a really great car, and for the NAPA guys to keep us as competitive at the beginning of the day as we were at the end of the day is just admirable. Something broke on the lower end, which is unfortunate and very unusual for us, but I am looking forward to the next three races. We can still accomplish a lot of our goals. We are still in striking distance of the top-10 and we look forward to trying."

Waltrip is 14th in the NASCAR point's championship, 152 points from the top-10.

 

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