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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

President Travels to Daytona

NASCAR's Michael Waltrip

February 12, 2004

Drew, from Mount Airy writes:
Michael -- what do you think the best racing video game is? What do you like about it?

Michael Waltrip
I just like the realistic feeling I get when I do EA Sports NASCAR Thunder – it is a lot of fun. My palms sweat because it is so realistic and the tracks look so real. It is a good way to check into what we do.

Kristin, from Washington D.C. writes:
Hey Michael Huge Nascar fan here Your favorite charity is the Motor Racing Outreach. I was wondering what exactly is that and what events have ya'll held recently and how have you contributed? I think it is great that you can find the time to give back. Good luck this weekend

Michael Waltrip
We’ve had fundraisers. Everything we’ve ever done, we give money to Motor Racing Outreach. They are here for us – they are here for our families, week in and week out.

They are a wonderful Christian organization that makes life on the road much nicer. We’ve had golf tournaments, we had a party where we had our team there and a hundred different things and all of them MRO has benefited.

Jani, from Vail, Colorado writes:
What do you think of the President going to the Daytona?

Michael Waltrip
I think it is great. I was fortunate enough to get to go to the White House and check out where he works this past December.

Now he is going to go to Daytona and see where we work. I’m just honored that he is going to be here and hopefully he will enjoy himself.

Martin, from Louisville writes:
What do you think of the new tires?

Michael Waltrip
The tires are great. Nothing wrong with them. The race should be more entertaining for the fants because of it.

Last year, we had a great car and we were able to dominate the Daytona 500. It will be interesting to see if anyone is able to pull it off this year.

We feel like we have my car the way I like it. And I’m real optimistic about the chances – no matter what tires we have on them.

Clarissa-Mae, from Xenia writes:
I know Dale Earnhardt Jr is your teammate, but I don't totally understand the concept.

Racing seems to be an individual sport. So let's say with one lap to go there are three people vying for first place -- are you and Dale supposed to make sure the other person doesn't win? But in looking out for the team -- you might give the win to Dale.

It would seem to me that the sheer competitive nature of the sport would make me want to win even if it meant sacrificing the team effort.

Help explain

Michael Waltrip
The reason why we have teammates is that we do want to win every race. Our teammates allow us to have extra funding.

We have two cars and two sponsors but we share a lot of the costs associated with building those cars so we can spend more money on tires and we can spend more money on wind tunnel development and hire more people.

We have teammates simply to cut costs.

Ricky, from Talladega writes:
Hey, if you could change one rule in nascar what would it be? Or two rules?

Michael Waltrip
I think that if it were up to me I would just put the front of the car way up in the air so it couldn’t get sucked down to the ground to try to defeat some of the aerodynamic gains that have been made in recent history.

So a high air dam in the front I think would be my one rule and I want to change it now.

Bobbi, from Independence, MO writes:
Favorite track? Why?

Michael Waltrip
Daytona, because it is the most famous track and it is the one I like the best.

Jason, from Ottawa writes:
Mr. Waltrip, do you feel that the changes made to the Nascar Nextel cup are the right changes? Many people feel that the new point system that was adopted for the 2004 season was to big of a change. Also, are you happy with the new rule about not raceing to the yellow flag? Has this new rule made racing safer for all? Do you feel that this new rule gives an unfair advantage to the person that gets the "lucky dog pass"?

Jaon gl48

Michael Waltrip
I don’t think so Jason. I love the new rules.

Not racing back to the caution – it is just amazing the difference that makes in a race. Knowing that when the caution falls, you just quit.

You hold your spot and it has definitely made racing safer because the safety crews can get right to the driver right away and attend to him.

I don’t have an opinion on the Lucky Dog pass – I could take it or leave it. It doesn’t matter to me.

Steve, from Dover writes:
Michael You guys are in your cars for a long time. What if you have to hit the bathroom?

Michael Waltrip
I get this question all the time. Well, you hold it. You can’t cross your legs. So you just gotta get really good at holding it.

Jim, from Orlando writes:
Might sound like a basic question, but how important is pole? On raceday, does it give you extra confidence or is it just the obvious advantage?

Also, if you are stuck at the back of the pack -- do you still feel as confident that you can win the race?

And what is your strategy if you are in the very last spot?

Michael Waltrip
Qualifying is important Jim because it shows you have a fast car and you did your job right.

It can be an advantage in a race and sometimes it doesn’t really matter.

You have to have a good set up for qualifying and you have to have a good set up for the race.

steven, from Malaga New Jersey writes:
What is your favorite race course? What is the average number of race cars do you go through within a year?

Michael Waltrip
Daytona is my favorite. We usually use up 4 or 5 cars a year – but we use 20 in the process. And some of them roll over to the next year.

Abby, from Norfolk, VA writes:
There are always the "greatest" moments in sports. Whether it be Michael Jordan hitting the game and series winner against the Utah Jazz after playing with the stomach flu. Or the 1980 USA Hockey Team. Or Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception, or the injured Kirk Gibson hitting the game winning home run, NC State's last second shot to beat Houston in 1983...........Well, you get the picture.

What is the greatest moment in NASCAR history?

Michael Waltrip
Way up top would be Dale Earnhardt winning the Daytona 500. I would say that was it.

Jim, from Greenville writes:
What do you think of Bobby Labonte promoting the Passion of the Christ on his car?

Michael Waltrip
I think it is great. I’m a Christian and when I look up and see clouds and Christ’s name on his hood – it takes me to a happy place.

I’m really glad that we have the ability to make decisions like that that are obviously influential in a positive way on lots of people.

Bernd, from Radtke writes:
Good morning,

i am from Germany, sorry my English is bad... Mr. Waltrip: Are you interested at the Motorsport in Europe Formel 1. You have fun to drive in the Formel 1 ??? behind Michael Ralf Schumacher, Pablo Montoya and .... ???

Michael Waltrip
Hello Bernd

Well, probably not.

A) I’m too old.

B) I’m too big.

C) I can’t speak any foreign languages.

So I’ll pass.

Greg, from Miami writes:
Michael First of all, I think it's cool that you would appear on the White House web site.

Secondly, I read in the paper this morning that the Daytona will be seen in over 150 countries and in 23 languages.

I know why I like NASCAR. But did you ever think it would be this big globally?

Good luck on Sunday

Michael Waltrip
NASCAR 20 years ago – I never dreamed we’d be where we are today.

But over the last 5 or 6 years, it has become pretty obvious that a lot of cool things were going to happen in our sport and the growth really doesn’t surprise me any more.

I’m thankful for it.

Rachael, from Macon writes:
Hey Michael I love the fact that NASCAR has become an international sport. Do you think you will start racing overseas? Of course there are the Formula I races -- but why not expand NASCAR to some overseas sites?

Also, if you could race anywhere in the world, what three foreign cities would you select? And, of course, why?

Michael Waltrip
Hi Rachael

We have. I’ve gone to Japan and raced. That was fun to expose our sport to a different part of the world.

I would definitely pick a little town in Germany called Gengenbach where I visited before, Milan so Buffy could shop – she likes Italy. And London, so I can go around that circle.

Kelly, from New York City writes:
What do you think about NASCAR's decision to move to a playoff system? Pros? Cons?

I think it's great that the president will be there for the Daytona 500 on Sunday I wonder who his favorite driver is?

Michael Waltrip
It will be great. It will bring more attention to the sport. The fans are going to love it. The media will love it. It is going to be fun. Trust me on this one.

I think I am the President’s favorite driver, but I’m not sure.

Bill, from Raleigh, North Carolina writes:
Michael, This past December I went to the Richard Petty Ultimate Driving Experience. I have NEVER paid attention to NASCAR, but boy I sure do now That was the most awesome thing I have EVER done. I went 141mph. What is it like at 180-200mph with 25 other cars and 100 plus laps. You guys ROCK

Michael Waltrip
Racing is crazy.

Driving schools are fun because it gives fan a taste of what it is like out there – you get a feel for the track, and see what it is like to be bolted in a car.

But it is a lot different going 140 by yourself than going 180 or 190 with all those other people.

George, from Dover DE writes:
Michael. Does your faith in God prior to strapping into the driver's seat play a major role in your NASCAR successes and marriage to Buffy? We love you at the Monster Mile here in Dover Delaware God Bless,

Michael Waltrip
First of all, it is important to me that I have faith because I talk to God and I talk to Jesus when I’m racing and before I race.

That’s just a part of who I am and how I go about things. The church we attend is Lake Forest Christian Church in Davidson, North Carolina.

Matt, from New Orleans writes:
What do you think about the fact that sports superstars and race car drivers like yourself making millions of dollars while the minimum wage is under $6hour.

Michael Waltrip
Well, I race because it is what I love to do.

I never dreamt that I could make any money doing it so it is just the way it worked out.

I also worked at Wendy’s when I was a kid and got minimum wage so I’ve been on both sides of it.

But I’m just thankful that what I love to do lets me provide my family with a nice living.

Edwin, from Washington, D.C. writes:
Hi Michael

What is your favorite car outside of NASCAR?

I hope you win the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15th


Michael Waltrip
I like my Chevrolet truck – the Avalanche. That’s my favorite car.

Steven, from Malaga New Jersey writes:
What is it like racing on live television. What is your dream car.

Thankyou for your time.

Michael Waltrip
It is great to race live on television because the positive light that it shines on my sponsors.

We have a lot of people who are responsible for making our cars go fast.

There are so many people that signed on to support us and that needs to be on TV.

That’s why they signed to do this deal because the races are on TV. My favorite car outside of racing is a Corvette.

Fred, from Burlington, N.C. writes:
Hey Michael, Good luck this year Question, what do you think of the new rules this year, especially for the cup?

Michael Waltrip
Like I said earlier, the new rules are great. It will provide for more drama.

Michael Waltrip
Well, thats all the time I have. Great questions. Thanks ya'll.

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