Waltrip will retire if 2009 isn't a decent season

By: The Associated Press.
By: The Associated Press.
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Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will retire at the end of 2009 if he can't return to a competitive level this season.

Waltrip mentioned the possibility of climbing out of the driver seat last month, then reconfirmed his intentions Thursday during media day for the Daytona 500.

The 45-year-old Waltrip is starting his third season in the duel role of driver and owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. It's an endeavor he says mentally drained him and affected his on-track performance. Waltrip has had only four top-10 finishes over the past three seasons.

But he says he's refreshed and physically prepared to turn things around in 2009. Should he fail to improve, Waltrip said he'll focus on ownership and a career as a television analyst.

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