Waltrip not racing or talking

Associated Press • Apr 13, 2007 at 10:54 AM

FORT WORTH, Texas - Michael Waltrip isn't talking or racing this weekend.

Waltrip will miss his sixth straight NASCAR Nextel Cup race after qualifying at Texas was canceled Friday because of severe storms.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner, in the first year with the Toyota team he owns, doesn't have enough season points to get in the 43-car field.

The latest setback for Waltrip comes less than a week after he was charged with reckless driving and failing to report an accident after hitting a telephone pole and rolling his SUV about a mile from his North Carolina home.

Waltrip didn't grant requests for interviews at the track Friday.

Earlier this week, Waltrip said he was "really embarrassed about the accident, but I feel fortunate that I wasn't hurt."

He said he fell asleep at the wheel.

Waltrip met Friday with NASCAR officials and was examined by doctors at the track's infield care center. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Waltrip was seen and released, which would have cleared him to race this weekend.

David Reutimann, who drives one of the three Waltrip cars, said he hadn't spoken to his boss before practice Friday.

"I see him at the shop. He's there at team meetings. He's leading the deal, wanting to find out why we're not running better and asking the type questions and making the adjustments," Reutimann said. "It's been rough on him. It's been rough on everybody."

It's been a rough first year as a car owner for Waltrip.

Before failing to qualify for the past five races, Waltrip's team was caught cheating during preparations for the season-opening Daytona 500.

NASCAR found a fuel additive in his engine, and he was docked a record 100 driver points. His crew chief was fined a record $100,000 and suspended indefinitely, as was his competition director.

Reutimann didn't qualify for this weekend's Samsung 500 either. Dale Jarrett, who drives the other Waltrip car, needed a provisional to make the race.

Police said the accident happened before 2 a.m. last Saturday when Waltrip lost control of his SUV while driving around a curve and overcorrected. His car rolled and hit a utility pole.

Waltrip suffered scratches to his arms, hands and face and cuts on his fingers.

The witness who discovered Waltrip's overturned SUV told The Associated Press this week that she initially thought no one survived the accident until Waltrip wiggled out the back window.

The witness, an 18-year-old college student who requested anonymity during a phone interview Wednesday for fear of reprisal from Waltrip's fan base, asked Waltrip how long he'd been in the car. He told her about 10 minutes.

They then spoke briefly before Waltrip turned and started walking home. She told Waltrip that she had called 911.

WCNC-TV in Charlotte obtained a copy of the 911 call, which was posted on the station's Web site Friday.

The call lasted only about 40 seconds, and there is never any mention of Waltrip. The woman who made the call was calm as she described the scene.

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