Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsor: Five Hour 2017, Peak Motor Oil 2015
MWR responds to tire changer lawsuit: A former Michael Waltrip Racing tire changer claims he was fired from his $160,000-a-year job in August after he demanded to have surgery for an injury suffered on pit road, while the team states he was released because he stole a specially made gun on the day he asked for permission to talk to other race teams. Brandon Hopkins sued the team in January in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) filed its response last week while also having the case moved to North Carolina Business Court. Hopkins claims he was fired the day before shoulder surgery in August for an injury he said he suffered after being hit while pitting Clint Bowyer's car in 2013. He alleges he was told he was fired for what he characterized as unsubstantiated claims for stealing a pit-road gun, and he claims MWR retaliated against him by telling other teams that was the reason he was fired. He seeks unspecified damages. Hopkins, who began changing tires in 2005 and joined MWR in 2012, was making $160,000 per year, according to his contract that is part of the court file. His salary comprised of a base salary as an MWR employee ($50,000), an over-the-wall crew member salary ($97,000) and a fee to participate in the team's training program ($13,000). The two-year deal, signed in September 2013, was for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In its response to the lawsuit, MWR detailed the pit-gun incident. The pit gun, called a "clutch gun" that MWR says teams are spending hundreds of thousands and even "millions" of dollars to develop, requires MWR to have a dedicated engineer who works specifically to tailor the guns for each crew member. MWR alleges Hopkins, angry after a bad performance at Indianapolis in 2014, demanded to have the surgery for a torn labrum a week later but wanted to work the Pocono race. Hopkins didn't use his assigned gun at Pocono but used a backup gun for one of the other pit-crew members. Pit-crew members are supposed to only use the guns assigned to them, and Hopkins wasn't authorized to use that gun, MWR states in court documents. The team says in its response that it has footage of Hopkins taking that gun and putting it in his car, along with four or five sockets for that gun, the Monday after Pocono -- about 35 minutes after he asked for permission to waive the non-compete clause in his contract so he could seek employment elsewhere. Later in the day, MWR alleges Hopkins printed out reports that showed the effectiveness of the guns as well as documents on pit-crew members and prospects. MWR also alleges that Hopkins' backup gun went missing earlier in the season and was never located.
The sides also dispute whose decision it was to delay surgery after the injury was diagnosed in March 2014; Hopkins said he repeatedly asked to have the surgery but was encouraged to delay surgery until the team was eliminated from championship contention.(ESPN.com)(3-18-2015)
Bowyer latest Cup driver to be guest analyst of FOX: Clint Bowyer is the latest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver confirmed as a race analyst for FOX and FOX Sports 1's coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015. Bowyer is scheduled to offer analysis alongside Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip for the NASCAR XFINITY Series races from Auto Club Speedway in March and Charlotte in May. Bowyer is the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver announced as part of a rotation in the FOX and FOX Sports 1 booth for FOX Sports' coverage of the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.(FOX)(2-25-2015)
Bowyer rips new Daytona 500 qualifying format, other driver comments: #15-Bowyer and #44- Sorenson tangled in the first round (group A) of qualifying for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, triggering a wreck that destroyed both cars as well as damaging #32-Labonte, #11-Hamlin and #23-Yeley. Bowyer made some comments about the new qualifying format:
Q) What happened in the accident?
Bowyer: "First of all I wasn't behind the 44 (Reed Sorenson), he came flying around and came up on the apron, jumped up in front of me and then runs over the 51 (Justin Allgaier), stacks us all up and I run into him. It's idiotic to be out here doing this anyway. It makes no sense in being able to put on some cute show for whatever the hell this is, then you have a guy out there in desperation doing this crap like this. There's no reason to be out here. These guys have spent six months working on these cars, busting their asses on these cars to go out there and have some guy out of desperation do that crap, but it ain't his fault. It's not, it's NASCAR's fault for putting us out here in the middle of this crap for nothing. We used to come down here and worry about who was going to sit on the front row and the pole for the biggest race of the year and now all we do is come down here and worry about how a start-and-park like this out of desperation is going to knock us out of the Daytona 500. We've been in meetings for 45 minutes just trying to figure out what in the hell everybody is going to do just so we can make the race. There's no sense in doing this."
Q) Is there blame to be placed for the accident?
Bowyer: "It wasn't his fault, he's desperate and trying to get into the biggest race of the year. We need to be focused on qualifying and who is going to sit on the pole for the biggest race of the year and the front row just like we always have. There's no reason to be putting a show on and trying to make something out of something that doesn't need to be. We put a hell of a show on for the Daytona 500 and unfortunately these guys have worked the last six months for nothing."(Toyota Racing)
Reed Sorenson's comments on the accident:
Q) DO YOU HAVE A BACK-UP CAR?
Sorenson: "Not right now, we don't. I don't know if we'll try to get a car up here or what they'll try to do. But as of right now, we don't have a back-up car."
Q) CLINT BOWYER WAS REALLY UPSET. WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU AFTERWARDS?
Sorenson: "Yeah, he came up to the window. He was pretty upset. He has a right to be upset. I was trying to block. I think what he saw is what I was trying to do. I was just trying to stay in front of him to get that good lap. I didn't think that he was all the way up to me yet. And, listening to my spotter, I was going high, and then he says going low and I went low as soon as he said that. The next thing I know, I'm spinning. I guess I didn't think he was quite that far up. It's just a product of trying to run that one good lap and I was trying to stay in front of that line. That was our only shot to run a good lap was to stay in front of him. You see blocking here all the time. It's part of this racing and now it's part of the qualifying here."Sorenson: Q) CLINT BOWYER SAID IT WAS NASCAR'S FAULT AND THAT THEY SET IT UP THIS WAY. DO YOU THINK QUALIFYING SHOULD BE DONE ANOTHER WAY?
Sorenson: "Well, like I said, I was trying to do everything I could to stay in front of Clint (Bowyer). Normally, in a race, I probably wouldn't be that aggressive unless it was the last lap and you're trying to win the race; just like (Matt) Kenseth did last night (in the Sprint Unlimited). He blocked (Martin) Truex to win. And for us, trying to get in the race, it's that big of a deal where I was treating it like it was the last lap every race. And that's how aggressive you have to be; especially when you're not guaranteed (a spot) in the race and you're on the outside looking in. That's the way this qualifying is. It forces you into that."
Q) IS IT TOUGH NOW WITH THE RISK VERSUS REWARD THAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE A BACK-UP CAR?
Sorenson: "Yeah, and if that was the case, we could have decided on pit road and not gone out there at all if we weren't going to take a chance. We took that risk. And now, looking back on it, I don't know the answer to that question because maybe the same thing would have happened in the Duels. So, this was one of our two chances to get in the race and we were trying to do everything we could to do that."(Team Chevy)
Team Xtreme Racing tweeted that: "We are in the process of getting a back up car to Daytona. Thanks for all the well wishes and Support."
#78-Martin Truex Jr. thoughts of qualifying: "My thoughts are they need to do something different. I don't know, it's just doesn't seem like it's a good show. It's not fun. It's kind of chaos. I don't know, seeing cars get tore up and other stuff. I'm not a fan of it, but hey it is what it is. It's fun at every other race track it's just plate tracks we need to figure something else out. With that being said 12th is okay. We took a little gamble there at the last round and we missed our time calculation by about four seconds on when we had to leave pit road to be the only one to get a time. Everybody ended up getting there on time. We screwed that up a little bit, but all in all everything is good."(Team Chevy)
#31-Ryan Newman: "I wouldn't say it's frustrating. The frustrating part is dealing with this whole system which makes no sense whatsoever. It's hard to stand behind NASCAR when everybody I talk to up and down pit road doesn't understand why we're doing this. Maybe I need to be sat down and educated a little bit. Not what we wanted for our Caterpillar Chevrolet, no doubt, but we also avoided the next two crashes that come in qualifying, which should never occur."(Team Chevy) (2-15-2015)
Bowyer's sponsors so far for 2015: 5-hour ENERGY enters its fourth consecutive year as primary sponsor of Bowyer's #15 Toyota Camry. Bowyer carries the 5-hour ENERGY logos for 24 races in 2015. PEAK Anti-freeze & Coolant provides primary support at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, Talladega Superspeedway on May 3 & Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 20. AAA Insurance serves as primary at Richmond International Raceway on April 25 and at Dover International Speedway on May 31.(MWR), that leaves six races without a primary sponsor named yet. See images of these schemes on the #15 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2015)
Driver, Marketing Executive Form New Sports Agency - White-Gaulding Partners: NASCAR driver Jason White and marketing veteran Dwayne Gaulding announced the formation of White-Gaulding Partners ("WGP"), a new specialist sports marketing agency. WGP will service all sports marketing opportunities, but will initially focus on motorsports, emerging young drivers and corporate sponsorship procurement. NASCAR team owner Rob Kauffman is an early investor in the new enterprise. "There is so much young driving talent around the country and we want to focus on these underserved but potentially high growth opportunities," said WGP co-founder Jason White. "We want to work with the stars and corporate leaders of tomorrow."
"I have been able to spend some time with Jason the past couple of years and I know he is a tireless networker," said Kauffman. "When he and Dwayne shared their vision with me a few months ago, I was happy to step up and support them, there is a niche in the market for WGP and I will be happy to assist them in any way I can to help WGP be successful."
"There are so many companies looking for avenues into sports marketing," said WGP co-founder Dwayne Gaulding. "I'm excited about using our resources and athletes to help these companies find their way into a perfect fit."(PR)(2-20-2015)
Tire changer sues MWR: A former top tire changer for Michael Waltrip Racing sued the Cornelius-based motorsports team on Tuesday, claiming he was fired a day before undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury suffered when he was struck by a car during a NASCAR race. Brandon Hopkins helped Michael Waltrip Racing to its first Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award in 2012. He contends team officials "blacklisted" him after his surgery by falsely accusing him of stealing a pit gun used to remove lug nuts. As a result, he lost an unpaid internship with another NASCAR Sprint Cup team and paid work with a NASCAR Truck Series team, Hopkins says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Charlotte employment law lawyer Joshua Van Kampen in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Hopkins is suing for damages, citing breach of contract, defamation, intentional interference with a contract and violation of the N.C. blacklisting statute, according to his lawsuit. Hopkins says he was injured while changing tires for the #15 car driven by Clint Bowyer at Chicagoland Speedway in September 2013. In March 2014, a doctor with OrthoCarolina told Hopkins he needed surgery. Hopkins says he told a team official he would delay the surgery until he could no longer perform. After the April 2014 race at Texas Motor Speedway, he says he started losing feeling in his arm and requested surgery as soon as possible. A team official asked him to wait until after the season, or until the team knew whether it would make The Chase, according to the lawsuit. Hopkins says he "sucked it up" and worked through the summer. He says the Aug. 7, 2014, surgery was a success and he "diligently" attended physical therapy. In late October, a doctor cleared him to return to work, the lawsuit says. But Michael Waltrip Racing officials told the teams that later retained Hopkins that he'd stolen a pit gun, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit calls those claims "demonstrably false," noting that Hopkins was the team member entrusted to transport the guns to each race. Just before his surgery, the lawsuit says, he mistakenly brought a pit gun home, thinking it was his personal pit gun. He didn't want to leave it at the race shop because he knew the surgery would keep him out for a while.(Charlotte Observer)(1-14-2015)
How much will the testing ban save teams? From Larry McReynold's most recent article at FoxSports: "It doesn't matter what rules NASCAR hands down -- be them about testing, the type of cars, etc. -- the cream is still always going to rise to the top. Now it's true that some rule changes affect some teams more than others. I think we saw that last year with the rule changes for the 2014 season. Last year there probably wasn't a single week that at least one of the teams from the powerhouse organizations wasn't testing someplace while the smaller teams sat at home unable to afford to go test. So if anything, this rule closes the gap a little bit between the smaller teams and the bigger organizations. The biggest thing this no-testing rule does is save the owners money. In talking with car owner Michael Waltrip, he told me it's going to save his organization anywhere from $1.25 million to $1.5 million in 2015. Any way you slice it, that is significant savings for anyone.(FoxSports)(1-8-2015)
Toyoda Machinery partners with MWR: Toyoda Machinery USA announced its partnership agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing in early December. "Partnering with a top NASCAR team is something we've wanted to do for quite some time," said Tim Leoni, Toyoda's vice president of sales, "Because of our company's automotive background, it makes sense that we team up with one of Toyota Racing Development's top NASCAR outfits. This synergy is something the engineers will immediately recognize in the shop, the crew will feel in the pits, and the fans will see on the track." With this partnership, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) has added four Toyoda vertical machining centers to its shop floor. MWR selected Toyoda's FV1165 and FV1565 machines for their 8,000 RPM, geared head spindles and robust construction. Steel parts, such as the spring buckets, center links, and idler arms, are all machined on the boxway series. "Our tools have to have a long reach to be able to machine around different suspension components," explained Dale Brown, machine shop supervisor at MWR, "We needed a couple of really good, rigid machines to do some of the heavy machining." The timing of the Toyoda installation couldn't come at a better time for MWR. The end of the racing season is when the shop begins putting in long hours building cars for next year. Brown said the shop is looking forward to improved quality and productivity with the Toyoda machines. "Everything fits together really tight. It seems to be a really good, quality machine."(MWR)(1-2-2015)
Lawsuit against Bowyer dismissed: South Dakota courts have no jurisdiction over a lawsuit between Kustom Cycles and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, according to the South Dakota Supreme Court's reversal of a circuit court ruling. The underlying lawsuit involves a motorcycle Kustom Cycles built for Bowyer who, in addition to racing in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, is also a motorcycle enthusiast. According to the Supreme Court brief, Bowyer first met Brian Klock, owner of South Dakota-based Kustom Cycles - which does business as Klock Werks - at a NASCAR race in Florida in 2008, then again in Arizona shortly thereafter. Bowyer hired Klock to design a custom motorcycle that would match his 1949 Mercury. As payment, Bowyer let Klock film the motorcycle driving on the NASCAR track and gave Klock and his friends special access to a Daytona race. Bowyer also attended a four-hour photo shoot and allowed Klock to use his name and likeness for promotional purposes, the opinion said. Eight months after Bowyer received his motorcycle, he received a bill for over $30,000. Bowyer refused to pay, claiming he had already provided "compensation in the form of the promotions, endorsements, and special access to NASCAR events," the opinion stated. Bowyer moved to dismiss the ensuing lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction, which the circuit court denied. On appeal, Bowyer argued that he did not have sufficient contact with South Dakota for its courts to have personal jurisdiction over him. South Dakota's highest court agreed on Wednesday, noting that Bowyer had not engaged in "significant activities" in the state - the contract was negotiated in Florida and Arizona, the motorcycle was purchased in Minnesota and delivered to Bowyer in South Carolina, the justices said.(Courthouse News Service)(12-13-2014)
Waltrip eliminated from "Dancing with the Stars": Michael Waltrip's ballroom dancing career has come to a close on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as he was eliminated from the show Monday night. Week eight's theme was "Dynamic Duos" and Waltrip and partner Emma Slater performed a foxtrot as Tarzan and Jane to "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins. Waltrip and Slater received a score of 25 out of 40.(scores and more at NASCAR.com and ABC News)(11-4-2014)
2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)
Toyota teams have limited time to test new Camry: Toyota unveiled its 2015 Sprint Cup Camry on Saturday with five weeks left in the 2014 season. That means the teams have five weeks to test. With a testing ban going into effect after Nov. 16's 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing will experiment with the car. The 2015 car conforms with NASCAR's new lower horsepower, less downforce rules package. "We'll be at Nashville and things like that," MWR driver Clint Bowyer said. "We have (Goodyear test at) Auto Club Speedway, we have a Phoenix test coming up. We've got opportunities to get in this race car. I really see the new rule package that NASCAR has implemented being a bigger change feel-wise for a driver than this new car. If you're going to unveil a new car, this is a perfect time to do that because it's basically start over from scratch across the board for everybody."
The 2015 car includes changes to the hood, nose, tail and quarter windows. Both Ford and Chevy racing engineers were present at wind tunnel tests conducted by NASCAR to approve the Toyota design. "We hope it races better," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. "But realistically, practically speaking, it's not outside the box. It's still working with the same set of rules that we've had. We've got until the Sunday of Homestead. We'll test our guts out. We'll have this car on the race track a couple of times." While his drivers will want to test, JGR owner Joe Gibbs said the team must focus on 2014. All three of his drivers remain in the hunt for the title. "It'll be hard" to test, Gibbs said. "Our whole focus is on right now with where we are with the Chase and everything. I can't see us being able to do much."(Sporting News)(10-12-2014)
Bowyer trying to move lawsuit over motorcycle: The South Dakota Supreme Court met for its second day of oral arguments, Tuesday, in Sioux Falls. One case faces NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer against Klock Werks Kustom Cycles in Mitchell and the allegations the driver failed to pay more than $30,000 for the work on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Attorney Alex Hagen representing NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer asked the Supreme Court, Tuesday, to move the lawsuit out of South Dakota. "Clint Bowyer never step foot in South Dakota related to this agreement. This agreement arose out of Phoenix, Arizona and involved many other states, beyond the border of our state," attorney Alex Hagen said. But the owners of Klock Werks Kustom Cycles want the case to stay here. Store owners sued the NASCAR driver back in 2009 after he allegedly failed to pay up for $30,000 of work done to his motorcycle. Bowyer's attorney says this was an oral agreement made in Phoenix. "Out of that original conversation arose a trade-out whereby Mr. Bowyer would provide a motorcycle to Mr Klock. In exchange, Mr Bowyer would provide him rare access to NASCAR events that took place outside of South Dakota," Hagen said. According to the affidavit, the motorcycle was purchased in Mankato, Minnesota and delivered to Bowyer in North Carolina. If the case were taken out of Davison County, South Dakota, Clint Bowyer's attorney suggests it resume in North Carolina. The Justices of the South Dakota Supreme Court are expected to make their decision on this case in the coming months.(KSFY)(10-9-2014)
Congrats - Clint Bowyer: #15-Clint Bowyer tweeted this morning (with an image): "Woohooooooo!!! Finally!!!! Baby boy and momma doing great."(10-1-2014)
UPDATE: Well she wouldn't go for Cletus Bocephus, so we met in the middle. Meet Cash Aaron! (Clint Bowyer Twitter)(10-2-2014)
Waltrip says dropping third team not cause for MWR's struggles: MWR team co-owner Michael Waltrip won't blame the cut from three teams to two as a reason for his team's struggles. The aerodynamic rules for 2014 are different and it appears the Toyotas are behind Hendrick in horsepower. "I don't think the cut to two teams hurt us at all," Waltrip said earlier this week at an appearance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We were prepared for that. There were just a lot that went on during the offseason with the no ride-height rule. That was a really difficult engineering process to get your arms around." Waltrip said he would give his team a grade of "B" on the season. The team has started producing some new cars that should help. "Our counterparts over at JGR haven't had a tremendous amount of success, either," Waltrip said. "We understand that we're just lacking for a little bit of speed. When that's the case, you work on everything you can and you have more sense of urgency. That's where both organizations are right now, building the best cars they can and proving them the best they can and looking forward to the next race and seeing if we can get more speed."(Sporting News)(8-9-2014)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 1:00 pm/et
FoxSports2 (FS2) 2:30pm/et
Born in MARCH
27 Cale Yarborough, Maurice Petty, Andy Hall, Keith Wilson, Jeff Fuller, Bob Kelly, Rodney Combs, Gary DeHart
28 Shelby Pressley, Chris Meyers, Peter Jellen
29 Kim Wood Hall, Jamie DiPietro, Carole Houchins, Olivia Andretti
30 Pam Bickford
31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan
Born in APRIL
1 David Gilliland, Ruben Garcia, Kim Irvan
2 Sam Johns, Dan Pardus, Ricky Hendrick, Brain Franklin
3 Speedy Thompson, Doug Duchardt, Shorty Rollins, Jeff Wernham
4 Bill France Jr., Justin Alexander, Justin Diercks, Robert Richardson, Scott Brzozowski
5 Mike Bliss, Buffy Waltrip, Brandy Wallace, Eric Kerley
6 Herb Thomas, Ken Bouchard, Jeffrey Overcash, Chris Carrier, Ramo Stott, George Elliott
7 Billy Mauldin, Loy Allen Jr., Chandler Parrott, Brittany Elliott, Russell Crowe, Bill Carpenter, Kristen Eversole
8 Matt Yocum, Bill Fleischman, Monte Dutton, Butch Mock, Junie Donlavey, Eddie Wood, Robert Pressley, Mark Green, Kathy Ehret, Connie Champion, Ryan Eversole
9 Suzanne Belber, Ed Schafer, Jacques Villeneuve, Jamie Little, Chuck White, Hunter Nicole Dodson, Richard Brown
10 John Dowd, Steve Bisciotti, Kasey Kahne, Robby Pearson, Neil Castles Jr., D.K. Ulrich, Tom Dignan Sr
11 Karsyn Jarrett, Bass Master, Al Keller
12 Mike Calinoff, Tim McCreadie, Lori Lucus, Richard Hutcherson Jr., Bob Strait, Duane Cross, Curtis Turner
13 Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dalton Buice, Dan Gurney, Mike Ford, Jessica Punch
14 Tony Raines, Steve Byrnes
15 Bobby Hutchens, Marty Smith, Kevin Conway, Jason Rudd, Brian Holshouser
16 Alicia Lingerfeldt, Bob Flock, Matt Dusenberry
17 Tony Glover, Len Wood, Brandon Thomas, Carl Larson, Brooke McReynolds, Carol Mears, Reid Spencer
18 Geoff Bodine, Tyler Labonte, Kale Kahne, Jim Noble, Melanie Self
19 Robert Yates, Richard Yates, Jack Roush, Greg Erwin, Kevin Grubb, Al Unser Jr., Aaron Keuhn
20 Frank Stoddard, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner/P>
21 Bill Ingle, Bruce Silver, Bob Varsha, Greg Zipadelli, Ralph Seagraves
22 Wesley Gantt, Stella Paysor, Raygan Swan
23 U.S. Army Reserve, Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze
24 Hermie Sadler, Paul Wolfe, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel