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Waltrip has had rough first half

June 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

BROOKLYN, MICH. — Michael Waltrip lounged on a couch, appearing relaxed and confident despite his nightmare first season as a Toyota owner/driver.

"I guess things couldn't have gone any worse -- so I've got that going for me," he joked Friday.

Waltrip was devastated at Daytona, where his team was fined and docked points after NASCAR found a fuel additive in his engine, and since then, his year has unraveled even more on and off the track.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner, however, qualified 18th and will be in the field for only the third time in 15 races this season Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

"I still believe in what we're doing," Waltrip said. "I feel really confident."

Waltrip acknowledged his reputation took a hit because of the rule violations in February. Then, a couple of months later, he was embarrassed by hitting a telephone pole while driving home. Waltrip, who was charged with two misdemeanors, has said he fell asleep and alcohol wasn't involved.

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