Michael Waltrip recorded his first-ever Winston Cup points event victory last year, adding his name to the list of winners at Daytona International Speedway and the prestigious Daytona 500. While Waltripís achievement will always share the heartbreak of the loss of friend and team owner Dale Earnhardt in that same race, the win proved that Earnhardt knew talent when he recruited Waltrip to his stable of drivers just a few months earlier. Waltrip almost repeated that win at the summer event at Daytona, but teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the win instead with Waltrip finishing in the runner-up spot his second of three top-five finishes for the year. His 24th-place season-ending position was an improvement on the 2000 seasonís 27th-place finish, and it suggests that Waltrip has found his groove and is climbing up the ranks of Winston Cup drivers. The younger brother of three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell, Michael Waltrip chose racing as a career path when he was 11. The Kentucky native started his racing career in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, and after winning the Charlotte-Daytona Dash Series championship in 1983 relocated to Charlotte, N.C. The 38-year-old driver continues to compete occasionally in the Busch Series, where he has eight wins and 11 poles, and in 2002 heíll look to add a another Winston Cup win to his roster.
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