Waltrip to Replace Bodine in 1999
HARRISBURG, N.C. (AP) _ Michael Waltrip will replace Geoff Bodine in the Mattei Motorsports entry for the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season, team owner Jim Mattei said Monday night.
Mattei became a partner in the team in August of 1997 and recently bought out the remaining interest from Bodine, who bought the team late in the 1993 season from the estate of the late Alan Kulwicki.
Waltrip, 35, the younger brother of three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, has driven full-time in NASCAR’s top circuit for 13 seasons. In 391 starts, the younger Waltrip has no victories, 16 top-five finishes and 77 top-10s. He has won more than $7.8 million.
``Michael has a lot of experience and a great passion for this sport,″ Mattei said. ``I consider him to be at the beginning of his career. I believe the kind of equipment he’ll have with our race team, he’ll be stepping up to a new level in Winston Cup competition.″
Waltrip, who agreed to a two-year contract, became available late this summer when he and the Wood Brothers Race Team decided to end their three-year relationship at the end of the season.
``Jim Mattei obviously is very committed to being successful, and that type of commitment is what I need,″ Waltrip said. ``He recognizes the type of effort it takes to field a consistently competitive team.″
Bodine, 49, has been a Winston Cup regular since 1982. He has 18 victories, including the 1986 Daytona 500.