The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 Report: #21, M. Waltrip

3 September 1997

By McLean Marketing 
 #21 Michael Waltrip, CITGO Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Mountain Dew Southern 500 Race Report
 Darlington Raceway
 August 31, 1997
DARLINGTON, SC - On a holiday weekend that symbolizes the end of summer, 
Michael Waltrip and the CITGO Ford brought an end to a summer season of 
little success. Waltrip scored his first top 10 finish of the summer and his 
sixth of the year, this weekend at Darlington Raceway.

Waltrip ran in the top 10 the entire day and was competitive throughout the 
race. He started the Southern 500, widely considered the most difficult race 
of the year, in the 14th position. This was Waltrip's best start since 
qualifying 8th at Daytona and he quickly jumped into the top ten within the 
first 40 laps.

The Wood Brothers crew had an excellent day in the pits. Waltrip brought the 
CITGO Ford in for service eight separate times with none exceeding 20 
seconds.  The fastest pit stop of the day came on lap 273 when Waltrip was 
running 4th and after a 17.22 second pit stop, Waltrip left pit road in 2nd 

As temperatures approached the 100's, clouds and light rain moved in for the 
last 100 laps of the race. The clouds brought in cooler temperatures that 
effected the track conditions.  

"We were catching the leader and mowing them down," said Waltrip. "Then 
during the last part the race, the clouds came in and the track really 
tightened up. We stopped the bleeding though. Seven weeks in a row out of the 
top 20 is not characteristic for me or this team. We're back in the top 10 
and maybe we can keep it going between now and the end of the year."

Waltrip led two laps during the race and finished ninth, the last car on the 
lead lap. Waltrip moved up one position to 15th in the Winston Cup point 
standings. This week the Winston Cup Series heads to Richmond, Virginia for 
the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400.