Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsor: Five Hour 2017, Peak Motor Oil 2015; Manufacturer: 2014?
Pit coaching change at MWR: This past week a pit crew coaching change was made at Michael Waltrip Racing. Long time coach Walt Smith has taken over after being out of the sport for a few months. Smith is a veteran to pit road and has spent over 20 years as a pit crew member and coach. For the last few years Smith was at Hendrick Motorsports with the #5 and #24 teams and will now take over the #55 and #15.(Pit Talks)(7-9-2014)
Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
"With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)
Michael Waltrip Racing to visit Goodwood Festival of Speed: Michael Waltrip Racing co-owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman are once again venturing across the Atlantic Ocean to share the sport of NASCAR in front of 150,000 global motorsports enthusiasts at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. Waltrip will drive a #15 PEAK Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup car at the festival that features a hill climb by historic motor racing vehicles. Kauffman will drive the 1963 "Mystery Motor" Chevy Impala that NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson drove to seven victories and nine poles during the 1963 season. The Goodwood Festival has become one of the largest and most diverse motorsports events in the world. The festival includes everything from modern concept cars to historical vehicles dating back to 1902, along with racecars from all disciplines. NASCAR stock cars, Formula 1 Grand Prix racers, Le Mans style cars and various forms of motorcycles will all make their run up the hill at Goodwood.(MWR)(6-28-2014)
MWR, RCR to test at New Hampshire: Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing will be looking for the inside track on the Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 13 when they visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a test and tune session on July 1 and 2. Defending July NHMS race winner #55-Brian Vickers, two-time NHMS winner #15-Clint Bowyer and four-time NHMS winner #66-Jeff Burton will all be logging laps for MWR on the 1.058-mile oval. The two-day session also marks the first time the famed #3 will race around the Magic Mile, as rookie RCR driver Austin Dillon will join teammates #27-Paul Menard and three-time NHMS winner #31-Ryan Newman at the testing. The grandstands will be open and free of charge to the public from 9:00am-5:00pm both days.(NHMS)(6-26-2014)
Clint Bowyer wins the Sprint Showdown #15-Clint Bowyer won the Sprint Showdown Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will transfer to the Sprint All-Star Race. #47-A.J. Allmendinger finished 2nd and will also transfer. #98-Josh Wise, who finished 18th, won the Sprint Fan Vote and will transfer to the All-Star race.
#13-Mears finished third followed by #9-Ambrose, #43-Almirola, #42-Larson, #15-Bowyer, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #3-Dillon, #27-Menard and #10-Patrick.
The Average Speed was 117.711mph. There were 4 lead changes among 3 drivers and 2 cautions for 3 laps.
See results and links on the 2014 All-Star Race Page.(5-16-2014)
5-Hour Energy "good" with NASCAR: After questioning NASCAR's integrity last season, the president of 5-Hour Energy said the company's sponsorship extension with Clint Bowyer is an endorsement of the Sprint Cup Series' direction. "We're good," 5-Hour president Scott Henderson said Friday at Kansas Speedway, where the company launched a new flavor that will help benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. "Obviously, we wouldn't have signed up for three more years if we weren't OK with it." Last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Henderson cast doubt on the sponsor's future in NASCAR in the wake of a race manipulation scandal at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR levied an unprecedented penalty on Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers, but the sanctioning body issued lighter punishments to Team Penske and Front Row Motorsports. NASCAR chairman Brian France also expanded the Chase for the Sprint Cup field to 13 drivers, which didn't seem to please Henderson. Henderson said Friday he hadn't talked to France since the incident but indicated approval of NASCAR's long-term handling in the aftermath. "I'm not in charge," he said. " I wouldn't change the rules in the middle of the season, but I think we're OK." Henderson said 5-Hour began putting together the extension for Bowyer's #15 Toyota at the end of last season.(USA Today)(5-10-2014)
Bowyer's mother to wave green flag: #15-Clint Bowyer has one more reason to follow his mother's instructions: She'll wave the green flag at Kansas Speedway. It's a NASCAR-style Mother's Day celebration when Jana Bowyer waves the flag to start Saturday night's Sprint Cup race. Clint Bowyer grew up in Emporia, Kansas, and was honored to have his mom picked to help start the 400-mile race. "We are a pretty close family so we've been ragging on her a little bit," Bowyer said. "`Don't drop the flag mom, whatever you do, don't drop the flag.' It's pretty cool. I hope there's not a caution."(Associated Press)(5-9-2014)
300th start for Bowyer; 200th for Sorenson: In Saturday night's 5-hour ENERGY 400, #15-Clint Bowyer will make his 300th Sprint Cup Series start. Over the first 299, he has tallied eight wins, 52 top fives and 140 top 10s - and made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup five times in his eight full-time seasons, including 2012 when he finished second in championship points. Bowyer will look to become the first driver to win in his 300th start since ... Denny Hamlin on Sunday at Talladega.
AND: #36-Reed Sorenson will be making a milestone career start this weekend; his 200th in the series.(NASCAR)(5-9-2014)
New look for Bowyer at Kansas: The week doesn't get any less eventful for Clint Bowyer as he spends the week in his hometown of Emporia, Kan., for various appearances and then heads to his home track of Kansas Speedway. The rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will join him for the track's first race under the lights in Saturday's 5-hour ENERGY 400. Bowyer's #15 Toyota will be specially painted for the event as well. In support of a new 5-hour ENERGY flavor, Bowyer pilots the #15 Cherry 5-hour ENERGY benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation Toyota.(MWR), see an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(5-8-2014)
MWR announces extensions with Bowyer, Pattie and 5-Hour Energy & a baby: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has signed multiyear contract extensions with sponsor 5-hour ENERGY, driver Clint Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie to race its #15 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series starting in 2015. The trio joined MWR in 2012 and has scored three wins and earned two Chase berths including a runner-up finish in 2012. "This is big news for all of us," said Bowyer, an eight-time winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. "It creates great stability and excitement about what the next few years can bring. MWR is my racing home and continuing this relationship with 5-hour ENERGY was a high priority. It's time to put the paperwork in a drawer and focus on winning."
"Since the first day 5-hour ENERGY, Clint and Brian showed up at MWR, we have been a contender for wins and championships. I am so thankful that we get to continue and add to what we have built," said co-owner Michael Waltrip. "I am most happy for the employees of MWR who are the foundation of everything we do."
The familiar red, black and yellow brand colors of 5-hour ENERGY will adorn the #15 in 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup events each year starting in 2015. Additional primary partners on the #15 include PEAK and AAA Mid-Atlantic. "We have clearly aligned ourselves with one of the most competitive and energetic drivers in racing and we felt it was really important for us to continue the equity we have built over the past three years," said Scott Henderson, president of 5-hour ENERGY. "We love Clint, the people at MWR and the sport of NASCAR. The extension decision was also based on our racing program's success with our sales team and all of our participating retailers." Bowyer celebrates his 300th start Sunday at Kansas Speedway.(MWR). Bowyer also announced on his Twitter that he and wife Lorra are expecting a baby.(5-5-2014)
AAA Insurance on the #15 at Richmond: AAA Insurance serves as the primary sponsor for #15-Clint Bowyer this weekend at Richmond International Raceway as well as Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26. AAA serves as an associate sponsor on MWR's Toyotas including Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota throughout the season. AAA has been serving its members and the community on the road and around the world for more than 100 years. AAA helps more than 50 million people across the U.S. and Canada any time with their Automotive, Travel, and Insurance needs.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(4-24-2014)
Congrats - Clint Boyer: #15-Clint Bowyer is now a married man. Bowyer and his fiancee Lorra tied the knot in the Bahamas over the weekend.(FoxSports)(4-21-2014)
Willie's Duck Diner featured on Bowyer's car at Texas: Duck Commander, founded in 1972 by Phil Robertson, builds custom duck calls for hunters. His son Willie, along with his family, expanded the business. Several of those ventures, including Duck Commander, are featured on Bowyer's #15 Willie's Duck Diner Toyota at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Located in West Monroe, La., the diner boasts a family-style atmosphere and features several recipes made famous by Robertson's mom, Miss Kay. Buck Commander, a lifestyle experience for whitetail deer hunters, was started by Robertson with Major League Baseball's Adam LaRoche, Ryan Langerhans and Tombo Martin as well as country music stars Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. Duck & Dressing is a lifestyle boutique run by Robertson's wife, Korie, and daughter Rebecca, located in Monroe, La. Willie's Duck Diner, located in West Monroe, La., offers a friendly, family-style dining experience. Serving some of Miss Kay's delicious recipes including her famous meatloaf and pecan pie, the diner offers a wide variety of menu options that are sure to please. Duck Commander is a family-owned and operated business started by Phil Robertson based in Monroe, La. Duck Commander started making duck calls in 1972 and has since expanded to include numerous other products and brands including the No. 1 rated cable show "Duck Dynasty" on A&E. Buck Commander is a lifestyle hunting brand consisting of Major League Baseball's Adam LaRoche , Ryan Langerhans & Tombo Martin; country music stars Luke Bryan & Jason Aldean as well as Willie Robertson. The group focuses on the camaraderie and lifestyle associated with hunting with family and friends. Duck & Dressing is a lifestyle boutique owned by Korie and Rebecca Robertson in Monroe, La. The store offers simple, edgy, southern chic clothing (MWR), see images of the scheme on the #15 Team Schemes page.(4-4-2014)
Under Armour enters NASCAR with Hendrick & MWR: The sporting goods company, Under Armour, has signed multiyear sponsorships with Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. It becomes the official apparel provider for both teams, outfitting everyone from the pit crew to the front office in Under Armour-branded apparel. The deals don't include the teams' drivers, and financial terms weren't available. Last year, Under Armour signed a one-year, trial sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports and outfitted the team's pit crews. It opted to expand that deal this year with a three-year extension that will see it outfit not only the pit crews but the rest of Hendrick's 500 employees. It provides everything from footwear and hats to polos and pullovers. It also has branding on Hendrick pit crew members' fire suits (Under Armour does not produce fire suits) and on the team's pit wall banners, haulers, pit box and pit toolbox. The deal doesn't include Hendrick's drivers - #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson or #5-Kasey Kahne - but Under Armour does have rights to use their likeness as well as the likeness of their car and number, which it could use on apparel.
Under Armour signed with Michael Waltrip Racing because it saw similarities between its identity as an upstart brand that's challenged established apparel companies and the team's identity as a relatively new, gritty team that's pushing its way into the upper echelon of NASCAR. Terms of the two-year sponsorship are similar to the deal with Hendrick. Under Armour will supply pit crew apparel and team and executive apparel and receive the same mix of pit assets it is getting from Hendrick. It also will become the presenting sponsor of a new athletic facility and gym that MWR built at its headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., which has been branded as the MWR Performance Center Presented by Under Armour. The deal is the first apparel sponsorship for MWR. The team previously bought its apparel from Oakley.(SportsBusiness Journal)(4-1-2014)
The decal ran by Michael Waltrip Racing cars (#15, #55) at Martinsville
on March 30th to honor Bobby Waltrip, Darrell and Micheal's brother
MWR cars paying tribute to Bobby Waltrip: Bobby Waltrip, the middle brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner and FOX announcer Michael Waltrip, died of natural causes last Sunday. The middle Waltrip formerly managed Darrell's race team and was best known as a promoter and announcer of go-kart races in both the American Karting Association and the World Karting Association. To memorialize Bobby, the two Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas of #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Brian Vickers are carrying the name "Bobby Waltrip" over their respective driver's doors, as well as decals honoring his memory this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(FoxSports)(3-29-2014)
Drivers say qualifying format creates dangers: NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format has been universally hailed as more exciting and interesting than the old single-car system. But for the second week in a row, drivers also said it's extremely dangerous. Since the only legal way for teams to cool their cars is to drive slowly around the track, there's a dramatic speed difference between drivers making qualifying runs and those driving as if they're in a construction zone.
"Riding around the bottom - we've got to do it, it's the only way to keep the engine cool - but that has got to be the most dangerous thing I've ever done in racing," #55-Brian Vickers said after Friday's session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "(#36-Reed Sorenson) went by me at 170 mph faster than I was going. Had he slipped or hit me, I'd be done. It would be so bad."
Teams need to cool their engines between attempts at fast laps in order to keep their cars from overheating. Teams are not allowed to cool their cars on pit road in between runs because it would require opening the hood to attach a cooling box. NASCAR does not want teams to make adjustments on pit road during the knockout sessions and since policing every open hood would be difficult, it is not permitted. As a result, the disparity in speed created some dicey situations - several of which occurred again Friday.
#15-Clint Bowyer, who qualified third, said he nearly collided with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. during one run and called for a change due to the "dangerous" difference in speed. "We've got to stop that," he said. "...I about smoked him. That's not the guy you want to hit at a 140 mph deficit. (A collision is) going to hurt me and it might hurt Dale Jr., and that would be bad for business."
#1-Jamie McMurray, who was among the drivers to raise the safety issue at Phoenix, said he texted NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton a few days ago and was told, "Let's give it a couple weeks and just see what plays out." [NASCAR spokesman Kerry] Tharp echoed that sentiment in a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Friday. "We're only two race weekends in with the new qualifying format," he said. "It's something new and it's something that will take time to get used to. We will continue to look at it."(USA Today)(3-8-2014)
Bowyer working on new contract with MWR: In a perfect world, Michael Waltrip Racing would have Clint Bowyer's contract extension signed prior to the Feb. 13 start of Speedweeks. Bowyer, 34, is one of the top free agents this season. With eight career Cup wins and five Chase appearances in the past seven seasons, the Emporia, Kan., native would bolster any organization's roster. "It's obviously something we're talking about," MWR team owner Rob Kauffman said. "Clint's been a great asset to the team. We love having him. It's his third season, and I think everyone wants to keep the band together." Bowyer said he's committed to getting a deal completed so the negotiations do not become a distraction once the 2014 season begins. "We working on it now, trying to get it renewed," he said. "It's time to perform and make sure we maintain that level of success so we can re-up these sponsors and get a contract signed. We should have something soon." When asked whether an extension for Bowyer was based on re-signing 5-hour Energy, the #15 team's sponsor, Kauffman said, "It's not predicated on 5-hour, it's predicated on having adequate funding, but we can deal with that. I think the 5-hour folks are quite happy. It's been a successful run for them. They have to make a decision based on what makes sense for their business, but we're cautiously optimistic that everything will fit together."(in part from FoxSports)(1-31-2014)
#15 sponsors announced: Michael Waltrip Racing announced an expanded sponsorship roster for 2014 today during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour. The announcement included that 5-hour ENERGY enters its third consecutive year as primary sponsor of Clint Bowyer's #15 Toyota. Bowyer will carry the 5-hour ENERGY logos for 24 races in 2014. PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil returns this year with the PEAK logos will adorn Bowyer's #15 Toyota at the Auto Club in March, Talladega in May and Chicago in Sept. PEAK also announced the second year of its "PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge," a nationwide search to find a racer who has what it takes to be a professional driver. AAA Mid-Atlantic will serve as the primary sponsor on Bowyer's #15 Toyota at the April race at Richmond and the Oct race at Martinsville. AAA Mid-Atlantic continues as a major associate on all MWR Toyotas in 2014. AAA remains the Official Roadside Assistance, Travel and Insurance Agency Partner of MWR. Charter will serve as the primary sponsor on Bowyer's #15 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown at Charlotte. Charter, the fourth largest cable operator in America, will serve as an associate sponsor on all MWR Toyotas in 2014. Kansas Strong will team up with MWR and native Kansan Bowyer to promote its message about the role oil and gas plays in advancing Kansas and sustaining the nation's energy supply. The logo will adorn Bowyer's fire suit throughout the year and on the #15 Toyota at the two Kansas races.(MWR)(1-30-2014)
NASCAR reinstates Ty Norris: NASCAR announced Thursday that it has reinstated Ty Norris, an executive with Michael Waltrip Racing. Norris had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR last Sept. 9 as part of the penalties assessed to MWR following the sanctioning body's review of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sept. 7 at Richmond International Raceway. Norris remains on indefinite NASCAR probation.(NASCAR)
AND Statement from Ty Norris, Executive Vice President at Michael Waltrip Racing: "I appreciate NASCAR's action today and respect their position. I am focused forward and dedicated to the success of Michael Waltrip Racing and the continued growth of a sport that has been my home for the past 24 years."(1-23-2014)
Congrats: to #15-Clint Bowyer and girlfriend, Lorra Podsiadlo on their engagement. Podsiadlo tweeted a picture of the ring and "I said YES!!" Sunday morning.(12-1-2013)
MWR to run three cars in 2014: Despite NAPA's decision not to return to MWR in 2014, and driver Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Chad Johnston opting to move on, team owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com that three teams will operate out of the shop next year. "We'll have two full-time cars and a third car that will run part-time," Kauffman said. "It's really kind of as simple as that. It's not going to run for the championship - so it will have the flexibility to try stuff - but the same as everybody else has to pass tech each week and make sure everything's correct. But it is a third car. It will help us keep the core of the team a little bit more substantial by keeping the engineering staff full, the pit crews are still able to keep in practice and keep going through the motions, so if in '15 we can scale back up to a third car, the infrastructure would still be in place. "It's kind of a little bit of a diet, then maybe you can get back to a playing weight by '15." When asked who the driver would be for the third car, Kauffman said coyly, "There is one." Pressed whether that driver was Jeff Burton, he replied, "There is a list."(FoxSports)(11-10-2013)
Female crew member leaves MWR: Christmas Abbott, who in February became the only woman employed in NASCAR as a full-time pit crew member, has left her Michael Waltrip Racing team without ever changing a tire in a race. Abbott's departure was confirmed on Tuesday night by a MWR spokesman. The team declined to release any other details regarding her departure. In February, Abbott, an elite-level fitness athlete whose journey to become a full-time pit crew member has been well-chronicled, was named to MWR's Sprint Cup organization's traveling pit support team. Abbott, however, never made it into a race with the MWR organization and in recent months wasn't seen at the track on race day.(Charlotte Observer)(10-30-2013)
Bowyer comfortable with where MWR is: After a turbulent couple of months, #15-Clint Bowyer believes Michael Waltrip Racing has turned the corner. Though the recent news that teammate Brian Vickers would miss the rest of the season with blood clots was another reminder of how much adversity the organization has faced since being embroiled in a team orders scandal. "I don't know if everyone's at a good place, but the biggest thing is we have a good game plan," Bowyer said Monday. "I'm very proud of where we're at considering all the circumstances," he said. "With all the distractions, all the melees going on with our organization, it would have been very easy to take our eye off the ball and lose focus and not be a factor at all. I'm pleasantly surprised by the dedication, hard work and drive of everybody." Bowyer's contract runs through the 2014 season, and he believes MWR will remain strong next year with two cars and despite the absence of Truex, who has been freed from his contract. "I've found a good home," Bowyer said. "It's a young organization. Mistakes have been made and we've learned from them. We damn sure learned a lot this year, but all those mistakes only make you stronger in the future. The setback of losing Martin Truex - he's not only a good teammate, he's a good friend - not having him around is tough.(USA Today)(10-29-2013)
MWR unveils new plan UPDATE2: Michael Waltrip Racing majority owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com on Sunday he hopes to unveil the company's reorganizational plan "relatively soon." The moves will come following MWR's penalties for attempts to manipulate the outcome of the Richmond International Raceway race on Sept. 7 and the subsequent announcement from NAPA to pull its sponsorship from the #56 Toyota team. "We're working on an announcement," Kauffman said. "I think it's been a week since we last spoke, so we're trying to get it all together. But we have a couple of good options. I think rather than use the word 'release,' I'd prefer to say allow guys to explore all their options - just as we're exploring all of our options. Is that exactly negative? I think it's the right thing to allow people to investigate all their options. A lot of these contracts have provisions that say 'you can't speak to anyone.' So, technically, it's a release, but it's really more correct saying, 'Look, there's a challenge here. We want you to investigate all your options. Of course, we're one and let's stay in close communication.' I don't think there's anything negative around it at all. It's just letting people figure it out."(FoxSports)(10-8-2013)
UPDATE: The Associated Press has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing will run only two full-time cars next season because of the loss of sponsor NAPA. Team owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman on Monday began telling employees of their decision. Those affected were told they are free to begin looking for a new job immediately. Two employees spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because MWR had not publicly announced its decision. The car that #56-Martin Truex Jr. currently drives will run a partial schedule in 2014. NAPA decided to leave MWR at the end of the year - fallout from the team's attempt to manipulate the finish at Richmond to get Truex into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(Associated Press)(10-14-2013)
UPDATE2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today its reorganization for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, highlighted by two full-time championship contending teams, a third entry which will run a limited schedule and a strengthened research and development group. MWR will field the #55 Aaron's Toyota and the #15 5-hour ENERGY/PEAK Toyota in its pursuit of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. To enhance performance for its two full-time teams, MWR has bolstered its R&D effort and will run a third car in select races, including Michael Waltrip in the 2014 Daytona 500. Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota and his crew chief, Chad Johnston, each have been notified they are free to negotiate with other teams. Scott Miller, the team's executive vice president of competition, will continue his role as crew chief of the #55 team into the 2014 season.
"Our goals for the reorganization were twofold, firstly to improve the competitiveness of our race teams and, secondly maintain a stable organizational structure," said co-owner Rob Kauffman. "The team's focus has been to find that last one percent needed to move from Chase participant to Cup champion. This realignment will get us closer to that last one percent."
The reorganization enabled MWR to retain more than 85% of its current workforce. Those whose positions were affected by the moves were notified Monday morning. "Today was about doing what we had to do not what we wanted to do," Kauffman added. "It was important to let those whose jobs were affected know as early as possible, and a majority of those will remain with MWR through the end of the season."
"We have very strong support from Toyota, Toyota Racing Development, 5-hour ENERGY, PEAK, Aaron's, AAA Mid-Atlantic and other partners who enable us to compete at the highest level," said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "We are confident that with two teams and a very active test team, our competiveness will take a step forward. We will also continue to do a great job for our partners off the track, which has always been a cultural staple for our organization. Rob and I deeply appreciate everyone who has helped build MWR into a race winning team and we are dedicated to continuing our pursuit of excellence on and off the track."(MWR)(10-14-2013)
5-Hour Energy still undecided on commitment to MWR UPDATE will be back: Michael Waltrip Racing is still seeking a sponsorship boost from 5-Hour Energy. The president of the energy shot company refused Sunday to give a firm commitment that 5-Hour Energy would remain with MWR and sponsor Clint Bowyer's car in 2014. "We'll see how the year plays out," company president Scott Henderson said Sunday at New Hampshire. Michael Waltrip said Friday he expected 5-Hour Energy to remain with MWR. But Henderson, who had a friendly chat with Bowyer before the race, made it seem like no decision was made. "There's a lot of talk about integrity," he said. "When the guy who's in charge can say, 'I can do whatever I want and I'm going to do it and I just did,' I wonder about integrity. I want to make sure we can win in this sport, OK?" He then walked off. It was unclear if he was referring to Brian France, who said last week as NASCAR chairman he had the authority to expand the Chase field to 13 drivers to accommodate Jeff Gordon. France also lectured the drivers about restoring credibility and integrity to NASCAR following the Richmond debacle.(Associated Press)(9-23-2013)
UPDATE: from 5-hour ENERGY Facebook page: This week the 5-hour ENERGY team met after the New Hampshire race to discuss our future with Michael Waltrip Racing. While our original plan was to announce the status of our sponsorship at the end of the year, this timeframe left many concerned about their future. There are scores of passionate fans, numerous charitable organizations, and hundreds of hard-working MWR employees and their families who are directly impacted by 5-hour ENERGY's NASCAR sponsorship. After several internal discussions and meetings with MWR, we are prepared to announce our decision ahead of schedule. 5-hour ENERGY will be back as a sponsor of MWR and Clint Bowyer for 2014. We look forward to another great year of competitive racing. Go 15! (9-27-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michael Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michael Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
UPDATE: Some notes from the press conference, as posted to Twitter by various media members in attendance:
• Michael Waltrip says he can't say he wasn't "overly surprised" by NAPA's decision.
• NAPA wasn't thrilled about the way things were handled "but we put them in this position" says Waltrip
• Waltrip says there was "no master plan to manipulate the race"
• He still insists that #15-Clint Bowyer did not spin on purpose at Richmond
• Waltrip expects Michael Waltrip Racing will remain 3 cars in 2014
• The team's focus is now on finding a sponsor for #56-Martin Truex, Jr.
• He says it's possible that RK Motors - Rob Kauffman's muscle car company - could sponsor the #56 next season
• "There's a lot of concern," says Waltrip. Says he's been "concerned and worried about the future". Will work to regain trust.
• Michael Waltrip: "Yes I was scared and uncertain of our future. After speaking to all our partners, they're going to stick with us."
• Michael Waltrip has talked to Martin Truex Jr. and asked for patience but says team won't stand in Truex's way if he wants to exit.
• Waltrip expects 5-Hour Energy will stay.(9-20-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing sponsor statements on Richmond race: From NAPA:
"The actions taken by Michael Waltrip's Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip's Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.(NAPA Facebook page)
AND From 5 Hour Energy:
"We respect NASCAR's penalties against MWR & are addressing our sponsorship relations internally. We appreciate your understanding & patience."(5 Hour Energy Twitter account.(9-11-2013)
Waltrip defends organization: Car owner Michael Waltrip said that there was no plan to ensure that #56-Martin Truex Jr. made the Chase last weekend at Richmond, but admits he might have made some similar decisions. Waltrip spoke Tuesday to "Race Hub" on FOX Sports 1, which also employs him. His interview came a day after NASCAR's penalties knocked Truex out of the Chase, allowing Ryan Newman to make it in. NASCAR penalized each of MWR's teams for a series of actions late in the race. It started with Clint Bowyer spinning and purposely losing two laps. It continued with Ty Norris, the team's general manager, ordering Brian Vickers to pit to give up positions. Waltrip defended his organization Tuesday in the "Race Hub" interview. "We're not immoral, we're not irresponsible," he said. "The decisions were made just based on circumstances. As we look back, obviously, we would have been smarter and done things differently had we had that option. What the penalties were for (was Vickers) coming down pit road to give up a spot that enabled (Truex) to make the Chase. It was impossible to defend because we did it. The caution was out and Ty was looking at the numbers and it's like, 'Pit, pit ... we need that position,' so we pitted. I don't know if I would have done it any differently. We've seen people give up positions all the time in this sport to give a teammate a point. It happens. We've seen the leader pull over so another guy can lead. I would have screwed that one up, too."
Asked if Bowyer intentionally spun - Bowyer has repeatedly denied that, Waltrip defended his driver. "You saw the video, you heard the audio," Waltrip told FOX Sports 1. "I stand by my driver."(Motor Racing Network)(9-11-2013)
Bowyer comments on Richmond, penalties: #15-Clint Bowyer stumbled through an uncomfortable interview during a Tuesday afternoon edition of ESPN's SportsCenter, his first public comments since Michael Waltrip Racing was given the largest penalty in NASCAR history. Bowyer, who largely was unaffected by the penalty despite a suspicious spin that triggered a controversial sequence of events, apologized several times during the interview. But when pressed on why he was apologizing, Bowyer danced around the question.
"No, let's not dig too much into this," Bowyer said when asked if his apology referred to the spin. "I've dealt with a lot of opinions and a lot of things that happened. I gave my interview after the race as to what happened. We've been penalized with the biggest penalty in NASCAR history and we're going to get through this as a race team." Bowyer acknowledged calling to apologize to Ryan Newman ("I felt horrible," he said) and also apologized to any fans "who don't agree and are upset." But pushed to explain his comments further, Bowyer refused to explain himself. "It's a bad deal all the way around for MWR," he said. "Again, we've been penalized for this, we stand by our actions, we own up to them and we're going to get through this together and go on."
Bowyer said he'd enter the garage at Chicagoland this weekend like normal and approach it as he does every weekend, though he admitted the events of the past few days would make it "harder." "I don't want this story to be the story of the Chase," he said.(USA Today)(9-10-2013)
NASCAR Penalizes MWR following Richmond, Truex out of Chase, Newman in: NASCAR has issued penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing following the sanctioning body's review of Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway. MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (#15, #55, #56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.
These point penalties are assessed following the season's 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the #56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.
NASCAR has also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the #55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs - Brian Pattie (#15), Scott Miller (#55) and Chad Johnston (#56) - have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
"Based upon our review of Saturday night's race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "As the sport's sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that."(NASCAR)
AND Monday evening there was a NASCAR Press Conference with NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, see the full transcript of the press conference at NASCAR Richmond Penalty Transcript page.(9-9-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing Statement: Michael Waltrip Racing accepts the penalties issued by NASCAR this evening and plans to move forward in the 2013 season. Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of MWR: "What occurred on the #55 radio at the end of Saturday night's race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the #55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase. We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on. As general manager, Ty Norris has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since its founding and has my and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman's full support."(MWR)(9-9-2013)
NASCAR Statement Regarding Saturday Night's Race: "NASCAR is reviewing Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway per protocol and has no plans for further statement until that process is complete."(NASCAR)(9-8-2013)
Did Bowyer spin out on purpose at Richmond? UPDATE Investigation: As questions swirled around #15-Clint Bowyer's late-race spin at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night - an incident that altered the Chase for the Sprint Cup field with a caution - NASCAR said it did not believe Bowyer did anything intentional. "Not at all," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told USA TODAY Sports. "Although we watch it - we make a point of mentioning it in the drivers' meeting and everything - I don't think anybody realistically believes that was the case with the 15 car." Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining fell under scrutiny because it happened by himself - though #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the proximity - and ultimately helped Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #56-Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase. "He just spun right out," Earnhardt said afterward. "That's the craziest thing I ever saw. ... He was hemming around on the brakes and jerking the car around, and then the thing just spun out. It was crazy. I don't know what was going on."
"I think we had something going wrong," Bowyer said after the race. "I had so much wheel, by the time I got to the gas, he was underneath me. I spun out. I know it's a lot of fun for you guys to write a lot of wacky things. Go ahead if you want to. Get creative. But don't look too much into it."(see full story at the USA Today)(9-8-2013)
UPDATE - NASCAR Investigating: With one suspicious snap of the steering wheel, Clint Bowyer changed the outcome of a race and maybe the championship, too. Accidental or intentional, his spin in the closing laps at Richmond International Raceway set in motion a chain of events that has shrouded the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and raised many questions about the potential for a race team to manipulate pivotal moments of a race. Now NASCAR is reviewing evidence to determine if Michael Waltrip Racing deliberately altered Saturday night's race, potentially costing both #39-Ryan Newman and #24-Jeff Gordon spots in the Chase, to benefit MWR driver #56-Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR President Mike Helton told The Associated Press before Sunday's Truck Series race at Iowa that officials in the scoring tower did not immediately see anything to believe Bowyer's spin with seven laps remaining at Richmond was suspicious. The spin came while Newman was leading and brought out the caution that set in motion a chain of events that cost Newman both the race and a berth in the 12-driver Chase field. He was battling Truex for the final spot.
"We didn't see anything that indicated that anything like that was taking place. And it's natural when everything was as close as it was between who was going to get in and not go in to scratch your heads and try to figure out and wonder why," Helton said. "But we didn't see anything initially (Saturday) night that indicated that, but certainly we'll go back through all the video and everything to be sure, because we take the responsibility very serious to be sure that it's - that everybody has had a fair chance."
But an ESPN replay that included communication between Bowyer and his team implied the spin was deliberate. Bowyer was shown the video after the race and denied he spun intentionally, a claim he repeated throughout the post-race activities.(in part from the Associated Press)(9-9-2013)
Bowyer fights lawsuit in South Dakota: #15-Clint Bowyer is asking a judge in South Dakota to throw out a lawsuit filed against him by a motorcycle company. Klock Werks Kustom Cycles in Mitchell alleges that Bowyer failed to pay about $31,000 for customization work done on a motorcycle in late 2008 and early 2009. It's seeking the money plus 18% annual interest, along with attorney and court fees. Bowyer claims to have provided Klock Werks with numerous promotional services in exchange for the customized motorcycle. In court documents filed Feb. 28, Bowyer, 33, and his attorney Steve Sanford, of the Sioux Falls law firm Cadwell, Sanford, Deibert and Garry, motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed last May by Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, because they claim a Davison County court has a "lack of personal jurisdiction" over Bowyer in the case.(in part from the Daily Republic)(3-22-2013)
MWR Names Tom German as Chief Technical Officer: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has hired Tom German as Chief Technical Officer for the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization. German has spent nearly 15 years with Penske Racing most recently serving as technical director for Penske's NASCAR teams. German will begin his duties after the Feb. 24 Daytona 500. The highest-ranking technical position at MWR became available when long-time MWR Technical Director Nick Hughes informed MWR he would return to his native Australia some time in 2013. Hughes joined MWR in 2008 creating and managing one of the best engineering staffs in NASCAR.
"This is such a bitter-sweet announcement for MWR," said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "It is so rare that a person of Tom German's experience and education comes along, period. It is even more remarkable that he became available at the perfect time. Nick has done such an amazing job and has become one of the most respected behind-the-scenes guys in NASCAR. The depth in our engineering department, the leadership that (Executive Vice President of Competition) Scott Miller has brought to us and now the addition of Tom German gives me so much confidence in the technical future of MWR. Every day is a new challenge and I am so proud of the team we have assembled to make those challenges opportunities."
German received his Master's degree in business administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management and his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron. "The first thing that attracted me to MWR was the culture of its employees. It is truly striking at first," said German. "After the first conversation it was obvious the ownership has committed to engineering excellence and that was the deciding factor. I can't wait to contribute to MWR's pursuit of a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship." Hughes will remain in the United States through this summer and will maintain a close relationship with MWR as a consultant over the medium term.(MWR)(2-13-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing invests in auto research center: The opportunity to be part of the racetrack and automotive-research center being built on the site of Cooper Stadium [in Columbus, OH] was just too tempting for NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip to pass up. Waltrip announced that he and his racing team will be investors in the Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC, being developed on the stadium site. "He had me from racetrack," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said of his initial discussions with Bill Schottenstein, principal of Arshot Investment Corp., developer of the complex. "Having my hands on designing and helping to build a racetrack is very exciting." Waltrip and Schottenstein both declined to say how much the team invested. The SPARC complex will include a half-mile racetrack with 8,500 seats, a 50,000-square-foot office building for the research center, 1,900 parking spaces, a hotel and meeting center, and four or five sites for restaurants or stores along Mound Street. It's unlikely, but possible an actual NASCAR race could take place at SPARC, Waltrip said. Waltrip Racing is based in Cornelius, N.C., and will use SPARC as a satellite operation and test center. Most tracks of the quality of SPARC, Waltrip said, are already connected to an existing NASCAR race, which means teams can't test their cars there. Cooper Stadium closed in 2008, and one of the goals of the new project is to spark the revitalization of the Franklinton area just west of Downtown.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-5-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota Racing Extend Partnership: Michael Waltrip Racing announced a multi-year contract extension with TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) to keep the organization in the Toyota camp for years to come. MWR and Toyota entered Sprint Cup Racing - NASCAR's premier division - together in 2007. MWR currently fields three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and is enjoying its best season with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer in the top 10 in NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points and all three of its cars in the top 12 in owner points. MWR Toyotas have earned three poles and seven top-fives in the first 11 races in 2012.
"Toyota has been the cornerstone of MWR," said co-owner Michael Waltrip. "They took a chance on us in 2007 and together we have matured into who we are today. It was an honor to be part of the freshman class. Knowing we will be with Toyota for the next several years gives our drivers, our team members and our sponsors a sense of stability and confidence. MWR will be able to continue its competitive rise because we are insured Toyota's tier one level resources. Toyota is a partner in the truest sense of the word."
"For us, this is a vote of confidence that we are making positive moves towards a championship," said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. "There is more work to do and with Toyota's long-term support, it helps us make longer term decisions for the betterment of the business."
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing -- a member of our 'freshman class' from 2007," said Lee White, TRD's president and general manager. "MWR has steadily grown into a championship-caliber race team, and the team is now stronger than it's ever been. We're extremely proud of all the team's accomplishments, and we look forward to much more success together." TRD will continue to provide MWR engines from its facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., as well as chassis engineering support from its state-of-the-art facility in Salisbury, N.C.(MWR)(5-22-2012)
Long Pond, PA
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 11:30am/et
Born in JULY
30 Henry Ford, Robert Grey Allison, Ricky Sanders, Neil Bonnet
31 Kyle Larson, Bob Tomlinson, Louise Smith, Mike Alexander, Jerry Cook, Flossie Johnson
Born in AUGUST
1 Bob Keselowski, Ronnie Hornaday III, Alison Poling McCabe, Bobby Issac
2 Brian France
3 Tracy Adamczyk-Dowd (sister), Brad Baker, Terri Parsons
4 Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Bob Calkins, Amy Hair, Bob Hubner, Allen Styers
5 Paul Lamach, Alan Gustafson, Chad Knaus, Rich Woodland, Pattie Petty, Josh Browne, Kenny Irwin Jr
6 Jeb Burton, Gail Connor, Tom Hubert, Kendall McReynolds, Rick Ware, "Amish" John Stewart
7 Steve Loyd, Kyle Drum
8 Gail Norton, Parker Kligerman, Tommy Ellis, Jack Sprague, Don Leo
9 Tom Higgins, Cindy Shepherd, Lloyd Dane, Leo Gordon
10 Doug Hewitt, Donnie Neuenberger, Murray Timm, Chris Heroy, Ryan Moore
11 Lennie Pond, H. Clay Earles, Glenn Jarrett, Lonnie Rush Jr., Frankie Schneider, John Dodson, Zachary Gay
12 George Lubejko, Michelle Durkin, Carolyn Rudd Wax, Dick Bown, Tony Furr Jr., Richard Everett Craven, Parnelli Jones, Jordan Irvan, Scott Gaylord
13 John Feeney, John Baden, Bill Wilsey, Patrick Carpentier, Hideo Fukuyama, Jim Roper
14 Rusty Wallace, Lee Spencer
15 Andy Petree, Carl Edwards, Newt Moore, Robin Pemberton, Mark Kennerly
16 Ronald and Donald Allison, Diane Hawkins, Lenny Batycki
17 Danny Marshburn, Jerry Horton, Rex White, Matt Fernandez, Cathy Simmons
18 Drew Markle, Matt McLaughlin, Steve Wallace, Rachel Wood, Steve Lowery, Andrea Sospenzo, Andy Pilgrim
19 Dale Inman, David Hyder, Alex and Dillon Makar, Ray Elder
20 Bobby Auten, Kenny Martin, Jerry Punch, Dennis Punch, Ronald Puryear
21 Patti Bisciotti, William Vance, Winston Kelley, Paul Menard, Mark McCarter, Burney Lamar, Doug Shaak, Keven Wood
22 Collin Houston, Tommy Mullis, Elmo Langley
23 Steve Park, Kenny Wallace, Scott Miller, Ashlie Garone, Robert Larkins, Ralph Sheheen, Shane Sieg
24 Lee McCall, David Bonnett
25 Casey Atwood, David Smith, Shane Hall, Kelly Bires, Sarah Catlin Waltrip, T.J. Bell
26 Jayski.com, Ray Evernham, James Hylton, Landon Rudd, Greg Engle, Ken Duan, Adam Gravitt, Daniel Rankin
27 Chris Brook, Richard Broome, Billy Hodges, Chuck Rider, Mike Hillman, Gloria Broadwater, Claire B. Lang
28 Kelley Earnhardt, Randy LaJoie, Thomas Hatcher, Brandon Miller, Hoss Berry
29 Timothy Peters, Jim Brady, Paul Vanderlaan, Ken Stout, Wendell Scott, Geneva Key
30 Mike Helton, Sue Fiala, Mark Allen, Gordon Gibbs, John Erickson
31 Sara Eolin, Patti Jarrett Makar, Mike Nelson, Jerry Baxter Jr., Erin Beam, Wayne Orme, Mike Morneau