Michael Waltrip spoke members of the media Wednesday at Daytona 500 media day:
So this is your last Daytona 500?
"Yes, it's my 30th and final one and I just thought it was a cool place to run my last race. I've been thinking about calling it a day over the last couple years, and this just seemed like the perfect time to do it, so I'm looking forward to my opportunity to go out there and compete one last time and then sort of slow down I guess."
Do you still get calls from teams inquiring?
"Yeah, anybody that has experience here and has sponsors is going to get a call I would think to run again, but this was a deal that we put together internally - Ty (Norris) and I did - with Toyota and Aaron's to run my last race. So we picked Premium Motorsports with Jay (Robinson, co-owner) to put our sponsor on and he's got some good folks over there and we're looking forward to racing with him."
Why not just leave open the possibility to race again?
"Well, when we ran last year's Daytona 500, it didn't go well. We didn't run good and I guess we got into a little bit of a fender bender and messed up the car and I finished 30th I think and I just didn't want to quit like that. I went to Talladega and we got a 12th place finish and I ran up front a little bit and then I decided we would just try to have one more competitive run down here this year. You've got to quit sometime and the partnership with Aaron's has been important to me. They could wrap their arms around us doing a final race together. They made a commercial that aired on FS1, so I'm thankful for that and a bunch of the folks that have been with me - they've been my sponsor for I think 18 years, so a bunch of the folks that work there are going to come down and celebrate our last race together, so that was kind of important to me to share it with them."