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Waltrip fails to qualify for Daytona, will buy Robby Gordon's rideUPDATE Waltrip could have bought his way into the opener, and Gordon said after earning a starting position that he would consider selling his spot. But MWR confirmed Thursday night that Waltrip will not try to buy a ride.
So this will be the first time since 1972 that no Waltrip has driven in the Daytona 500. Darrell Waltrip started 28 in a row between 1973 and 2000.
"It's a tough one for him," MWR driver Martin Truex Jr. said. "He's been coming here a long time and this race means everything to him. It was hard to watch that. He's got a lot to be proud of as many times as he's been in it; he's started more in a row than anybody. He's got that going for him. Hopefully tonight, when he's sitting there thinking about it, he's thinking of the good of what came out of his Daytona 500 starts."
02/24/12 Michael Waltrip, the two-time Daytona 500 winner wrecked his No. 40 Toyota with seven laps remaining in one of Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. It was an odd one, too. Waltrip was getting up to speed after leaving the pits and trying to merge onto the high-banked oval when he lost control of his car and slammed into the wall. He finished 18th in the 25-car field.
"I just made a mistake," said Waltrip, who was unharmed. "I just went the wrong way and lost the car. I feel like I let everybody down. I raced my way to the front and then I let them down. It's just really hard. I don't know what to say. It's just sad."
Waltrip's frustration was evident during the final few laps.
He watched the scoring tower and knew he needed a bunch of help to make the season-opening event. It didn't happen. Michael McDowell and Robby Gordon raced their way into the opener and eliminated Waltrip. But rumor has it he may buy Robby Gordon's ride so he can make the 500 for the 26th straight time.
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