Contract Status: Driver 2015; Primary Sponsor: 2015;
Vickers medically cleared to race in early March: Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery. Vickers will make his season debut in the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8. MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later. "The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before," said Vickers, the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native whose health issues interrupted his racing seasons in 2010 and again in 2013. "The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude. I was not feeling well in December, so I went to see Dr. William Downey in Charlotte. He discovered my body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago. He and Dr. R. Mark Stiegel immediately went to work on correcting the problem. I also want to thank the great counsel along the way by Dr. Jerry Petty, Dr. Robert Heyer and my hematologist Dr. Stephan Moll from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the founder of www.clotconnect.org. "Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron's Dream Machine."(MWR)(1-21-2015)
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)
Vickers to miss start of season: Michael Waltrip Racing driver Brian Vickers will not be available to race during the early part of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues. In 58 races driving MWR's #55 Aaron's Toyota, Vickers scored eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. He won the July race at New Hampshire in 2013 and captured the pole at Talladega in October 2014. The 2003 Nationwide champion owns three victories and 12 poles in 316 career Sprint Cup starts. "Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family," said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. "As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron's and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available."
VICKERS STATEMENT: "First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support. I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again. My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body. Late last week I knew something wasn't right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion."(MWR)(12-15-2014)
Congrats...twice for #55 crewman: Rear tire carrier on the MWR #55 Toyota Blake Haugland started his honeymoon with wife Melissa in Cozumel Mexico by competing in the Cozumel Ironman, Sunday November 30th. Blake finished the ironman in 12:07:42 by Swimming 2.4Miles in 1:12:41, Biking 112.5 Miles in 6:24:46 and Running 26.2 Miles in 4:19:03.Finishing 74th in his division, 432 overall out of a field of 2292 athletes.(12-4-2014)
Ariz. State To Honor Former Tight End Now #55 Jackman: Wes Evans, a former tight end on Arizona State's 2008 football team will be honored on the Sun Devil Stadium video board Saturday night when his alma mater takes on highly ranked Notre Dame. Less than 24 hours later he'll serve as jackman on Brian Vickers' #55 Aaron's Dream Machine pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at nearby Phoenix International Raceway. "It seems like it was just yesterday when I was playing at ASU," laughed the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder who made four starts and played in all 12 games for ASU in 2008. That year he won the team's iron man award for exemplary work ethic in the weight room, on the field and in the community. Evans became interested in NASCAR after meeting pit crew members who visited the ASU campus for a workout in 2007. That contact led Evans to a life as a NASCAR pit crew member and his ASU degree led him to a job in the Michael Waltrip Racing marketing office. Each week Evans hosts the "Wednesday's With Wes- Ask MWR" video feature on the team website answering viewer questions about NASCAR racing.(MWR)(11-7-2014)
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)
Vickers tests 2015 Camry at Auto Club: Brian Vickers and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine team at Michael Waltrip Racing got a jump on the 2015 season testing the newly unveiled 2015 Toyota Camry this week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Vickers on testing the 2015 Camry: "It was good to get some time behind the wheel of the 2015 Camry (on Tuesday.) We brought a lot of engineers from MWR and Toyota Racing Development to Fontana to work on the car. I don't know if you have ever been to a test, but it isn't very exciting for a race car driver. I drive for a couple of laps, tell them what I feel, then the engineers will pour over the data, make some changes and back I go out on the track. We just repeat that throughout the day. It might not be as fun as racing but testing is where we learn what the Goodyear tires, our car and engine like and don't like. I enjoy the science behind testing. The more you learn in testing the better you will be in the race. With the reduction in testing planned for next season, days like this are very valuable. So far I love what I see with the new Camry. It looks good, and drives good."(MWR)(10-30-2014)
Kahne and Vickers disagree on actions of one another: In the case of #5-Kasey Kahne vs. #55-Brian Vickers, it's he said, he said. Kahne claims innocence, while Vickers didn't hesitate in his accusations. The two drivers were involved in a Lap-161 incident that left Vickers without a hood on his car and looking for payback. Kahne, feeling pressure from leader Jeff Gordon, caught Vickers in the left-rear corner panel of his car in Turn 4, sending the #55 around and into the inside wall. The Hendrick Motorsports driver said he had no intention of spinning Vickers, but that Vickers was using every lane that he could, coming close to hitting Kahne earlier in the lap in Turn 2. "I was passing him and he ran me into the Turn 2 wall or he was going to, so I lifted. Then he blocked into 3, so I turned to go low and then he comes low and spun himself out," Kahne said after being released from the infield care center for an unrelated incident on Lap 438. Vickers disagreed. "He definitely wrecked us on purpose the first time, I mean look at the video," Vickers said. "He just hooked us in the bumper and just wrecked us, I don't know why."
Vickers showed his displeasure 61 laps later. Going into Turn 1 and with Kahne on his outside, Vickers veered his car to the right and into Kahne's #5 Chevy. Kahne spun and hit the outside wall and would go to the garage for repairs until Lap 253. It only took 25 laps for Kahne to find Vickers again, turning him around in Turn 2 with 222 laps to go. Vickers was heard on the radio saying "we could do this all day." However, any further retaliation was squashed by a warning issued by NASCAR.(Sporting News)(10-27-2014)
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)
Waltrip makes it past third in Dancing with the Stars: Michael Waltrip and his partner Emma Slater made it past the third round of the multi-award-winning series Dancing with the Stars Monday night. Waltrip and Slater danced a waltz on Monday's show, earning a score of 28 from the judges (MWR)(10-2-2014)
Waltrip survives first round of Dancing with the Stars: Michael Waltrip and his partner Emma Slater made it past the first round of the multi-award-winning series Dancing with the Stars Tuesday night. Waltrip and Slater danced the Cha-Cha on Monday's show. The pair earned a score of 25 from the judges. That paired with votes from fans was enough to advance the duo to the next round which airs Monday, Sept. 22 at 8:00pm/et on ABC. One couple will be eliminated on a live results show, Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8:00pm/et on ABC.(MWR)(9-17-2014)
Tires stolen from Chicago garage: One week it's a fan on the fence, the next week tires are stolen in the garage. Just who is policing the paddock? On Saturday night tires were lifted from the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota and the #83 BK Racing Toyota teams prior to Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. The tires from Brian Vickers car were later discovered dumped in another area in the garage, the team told Motorsport.com. However, the scuff and rim from Ryan Truex's car was never recovered according to team owner Ron Devine. Tires cost roughly $500 each.(Motorsport)(9-15-2014)
Special scheme for Vickers: #55 Aaron's Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers has a lot to race for in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season's final 10 races. Although, the Michael Waltrip Racing team won't be in the Chase, the #55 crew has its sights set on a return trip to victory lane and preparation for its second season together in 2015. The #55 will carry a special paint scheme this weekend honoring Samsung as Aaron's vendor partner of the year. In addition to the paint scheme, Aaron's will host Samsung executives at-track in appreciation of their long standing partnership.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(9-12-2014)
Michael Waltrip to Dance with the Stars UPDATE: NASCAR will have representation on the ABC hit show "Dancing with the Stars". The New York Daily News reports that Michael Waltrip will the season 19 cast is announced. Waltrip is a two-time Daytona 500 champion and currently part owner of Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. His older brother Darrell Waltrip is a three-time NASCAR champion who now works as a NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports. The 51-year-old Owensboro Kentucky native still races occasionally as well as provides color TV commentary for NASCAR races and programming. Waltrip has made three NASCAR Sprint Cup starts this season, two at Daytona International Speedway and one at Talladega Superspeedway; his best finish was 19th at the Daytona race in July.(Examiner)(9-3-2014)
UPDATE: This season's cast of celebrity dancers includes a fashion icon, a YouTube sensation, a NASCAR legend, and a movie star, to name a few. The stars will grace the ballroom floor for the first time on live national television with their professional partners during the two-hour season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," which airs Monday, September 15 (8:00-10:01pm/et) on the ABC Television Network. The thirteen professional dancers teaching the celebrity cast how to bring heat to the dance floor are Mark Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Sharna Burgess, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Allison Holker, Derek Hough, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Emma Slater and Karina Smirnoff. Two-time Mirrorball champion and movie star Julianne Hough joins Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba at the judges' desk. As announced this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America" by "Dancing with the Stars" hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, the 13 celebrities with their professional partners heading to the dance floor this season (in alphabetical order) are: Jonathan Bennett, Tommy Chong, Randy Couture, Betsey Johnson, Lolo Jones, Bethany Mota, Janel Parrish, Alfonso Ribeiro, Sadie Robertson, Antonio Sabato Jr., Tavis Smiley, Lea Thompson,
AND Michael Waltrip is a winning professional racecar driver, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, a widely recognized network racing commentator and author of a best-selling biography. Waltrip is a two-time winner of NASCAR's crown jewel event, the Daytona 500, and is one of only two drivers in history to hold victories in NASCAR's three top tier divisions over four consecutive decades. Waltrip still competes on a limited basis, posting two top 10 finishes in just four events in 2013. In recent years, Waltrip has driven in international events, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as events in Spa, Belgium, Sebring and Dubai. The Kentucky native founded Michael Waltrip Racing and his organization brought Toyota Motor Corporation into NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in 2007, where his teams have won seven times and finished runner-up in the championship standings in 2012. As an expert commentator on Fox Sports 1 for the Camping World Truck series and an analyst for NASCAR on FOX during NASCAR Sprint Cup races, Waltrip has established himself as one of the industry's most respected voices and biggest personalities. In 2011, Michael published his best-selling book In the Blink of an Eye, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his historic 2001 Daytona 500 victory on the same day his mentor, boss, friend and owner, Dale Earnhardt, perished on the final lap. His story spent 11 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Away from the track, Waltrip has competed in four marathons, including the Boston Marathon and his own marathon event, which raised more than $1,000,000 for charity. His humorous demeanor launched a multi-stop Comedy Tour in 2010. Waltrip will partner with Emma Slater.
More info on the contestants, voting and the show at ABC.com.(ABC)(9-4-2014)
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)
300th start for Vickers: #55 Aaron's Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers visits one of racing's most historic venues this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday's 400-mile race. The 30-year-old Vickers will make history no matter how his Michael Waltrip Racing team performs on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Sunday's race marks Vickers' 300th Sprint Cup Series start in a career that began with a 33rd-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, 2003. Only 11 drivers from the 43-car field in that race still have fulltime rides in 2014. Vickers also has history on his side on Sunday. Five drivers have won in their 300th Sprint Cup start including a driver in each of the last three seasons.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(7-23-2014)
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 UPDATE2: 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)
UPDATE 2: #55-Brian Vickers doesn't know much about the newly formed Race Team Alliance, but he knows plenty about the man who's running it. The RTA, whose creation was announced Monday, is a business alliance of nine Sprint Cup teams that is being chaired by Rob Kauffman, who is the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers, who drives the #55 Toyota for MWR in NASCAR's premier series, said he had "heard little things here and there" about the RTA but not much despite his proximity to Kauffman. "I just get in the car every Friday and just drive as fast as I can," he said Tuesday during a conference call with the news media. "I don't know enough, to be honest with you, about (the RTA) to have any opinion. I think any of those questions are better addressed to Rob or the ownership group. But in general, you know, I have a lot of respect for the owners in this industry. If they feel there's a need, then there's probably a need for it, so I wish them all the best."(USA Today)(7-9-2014)
MWR & Aaron's to honor Florida State at Daytona: Brian Vickers' #55 Toyota will carry a special paint scheme Saturday night honoring Florida State University's 2013 BCS National Championship football team. The garnet and gold paint scheme on the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota will include the FSU BCS National Championship logo on the hood. Vickers will also wear a special FSU driver uniform for the race. Fans at FSU's April 12 Spring Game saw the car unveiling and watched a special message from Vickers on the video board. Vickers drove a special paint scheme honoring the University of Louisville's national championship basketball team at Kentucky Speedway last year. Aaron's and MWR have honored Alabama and Auburn national football championships at Talladega Superspeedway four times since 2009.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(7-2-2014)
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)
#55 Crewman competes in Touch Alcatraz 'n' Go: Michael Waltrip Racing #55 rear tire carrier, Blake Haugland, swam in the world swim challenge, Touch Alcatraz 'n' Go, on Saturday, June 21st. The event consists of swimming from San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island and back. On Sunday, Haugland goes back to his rear tire carrier,duties for Brian Vickers. More info at waterworldswim.com or Blake Haugland Facebook.(6-22-2014)
Vickers crashes in Kentucky test, is OK: #55-Brian Vickers crashed at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday during a Goodyear Tire test. The #55 Aaron's Toyota crashed in turn 3, supposedly a right front wheel came apart. Vickers reports he is sore but OK and has already logged 10 laps in other car.(Brian Vickers Twitter / Michael Waltrip Racing Twitter)(5-21-2014)
MWR & Aaron's to honor Florida State at Daytona in July: Florida State University's trophy case holds lots of hardware, but none for motorsports. Aaron's and Brian Vickers plan to change that. Vickers' #55 Aaron's Toyota will carry a special paint scheme honoring FSU's 2013 BCS National Championship football team when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway on July 5. The garnet and gold paint scheme on the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota will include the FSU BCS National Championship logo on the hood. Vickers will also wear a special FSU driver uniform for the race.
"Everyone in America knows about Florida State's tradition of success especially in athletics," said Vickers. "Aaron's and I really want to continue that tradition at Daytona in July and give Seminole fans a chance to see their car and colors celebrate in victory lane. I'm excited to be representing my home state on the car for Daytona. We're hoping it will give us a 'home field' advantage we need."
Fans at FSU's April 12 Spring Game will see the car unveiling and watch a special video message from Vickers on the videoboard. FSU will collect hoods from the race car for display at block parties, road trips and The Jimbo Fisher Call-In Show throughout the 2014 football season.
Aaron's said it was natural to honor Florida State at the Daytona race. "Aaron's is proud to feature the Florida State football championship paint scheme on the #55 Dream Machine at Daytona International Speedway," said Rich Lamprey, Aaron's Director of Sports and Event Marketing. We have a history of showcasing collegiate championships on our racecars to highlight our brand's involvement in collegiate sports. We hope that NASCAR fans and college sports fans alike will appreciate the FSU paint scheme, and we look forward to Brian bringing the Seminoles to the checkered flag in Daytona." Vickers drove a special paint scheme honoring the University of Louisville's national championship basketball team at Kentucky Speedway last year. Aaron's and MWR have honored Alabama and Auburn national football championships at Talladega Superspeedway four times since 2009.(MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2014)
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)
Teams complete tires test at Sonoma Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams completed a rain-dampened two-day Goodyear tire test at Sonoma Raceway on Wednesday. Intermittent rain fell at the raceway both Tuesday and Wednesday, but #9-Marcos Ambrose, #18-Kyle Busch, #24-Jeff Gordon, #14-Tony Stewart and #55-Brian Vickers were able to log approximately nine hours of track time over the two days. "Goodyear had a pretty stout tire here last year, and they want to improve on it if they can. They came here with some different compounds to try, and a good mix of teams and drivers to get feedback," said Ambrose, who started from the pole in Sonoma in 2012. "We also get a chance to set up the car up with the new technical regulations, which is helpful for the team. Ninety-five percent of the time was getting tires dialed in for Goodyear, and then the rest of the time was for us to see what we'll need when we come back." The two-day test marked the first Goodyear Sprint Cup Series tire test of the year, and is currently the only scheduled road-course test. Goodyear worked closely with the teams and drivers to develop a durable race package while giving teams the appropriate amount of grip.(Sonoma)(3-27-2014)
Vickers bringing awareness to blot clots with special scheme: Brian Vickers has overcome blood clots twice in his life. He's taking steps to make sure others are just as fortunate. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver will pilot the #55 TREATMYCLOT.com Aaron's Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. He'll also kickoff Blood Clot Awareness Month with Janssen to enhance the public's understanding about the problem that twice sidelined his racing career. Vickers missed most of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season recovering from blood clots in his legs and around his lungs. He returned to competition in 2011 and earned his third career victory driving the Aaron's Dream Machine in July 2013. In October, the discovery of a blood clot in his right calf, after wearing a walking boot, sidelined him for the final four races. He's returned full-time in 2014 on a mission to win races and help race fans know the warning signs and treatment for blood clots. Brian Vickers: "I want people to be mindful of what the signs and symptoms are. Visit www.TREATMYCLOT.COM to learn about the warning signs and if you experience any of the signs or symptoms talk to your doctor. That's the best thing to do. I'm always mindful and take precautions. When you're taking long flights, you stand up and you walk around. That's not just for me, everyone should do that. Obviously I keep an eye out for signs and symptoms, but my last incident was a provoked incident. I had to wear an ankle brace for a month, which is known to create clots. In those situations in the future, I will be more mindful and probably more careful and maybe try to get ahead of it. Other than that I just live my life and go racing."(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(3-19-2014)
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)
Owners Points Updates: NASCAR announced that it has approved points for three new ownership groups. The points from the #32 car owned by Frank Stoddard last season will go to Go Fas Racing. That features the new partnership between Stoddard's Fas Lane Racing and Archie St. Hilarie's Go Green Racing.
The points from the #55 Michael Waltrip car last season will go to the #66 car of Robinson Racing Team. That car is being shared by MWR and Jay Robinson Racing.
That doesn't mean the #55 car at MWR driven by Brian Vickers this year will be without points. The team is moving the points earned from the #56 car with Martin Truex Jr. last year to the car Vickers will drive this year.
Also, the #87 car formerly known as NEMCO Motorsports will be known as Identity Ventures Racing, which is a partnership of Jay Robinson, Joe Nemechek, Troy Stafford, James Hamilton and John Burns. It will use the points (40th) earned from Nemechek's #87 car last year.(MRN)(2-13-2014)
Brian Vickers Cleared by Doctors, awaits NASCAR ok: #55-Brian Vickers has been cleared to drive after missing the final five races of last season because of a blood clot - the second time since 2010 a blood clot forced him out the car. Vickers missed much of the 2010 season after blood clots were discovered in both lungs and his left leg in May. He was placed on blood thinning medication and didn't race again that year. He also had heart surgery in July 2010 to repair a small hole. Vickers' latest blood clot came after he suffered a mid-foot sprain in a crash at Bristol in August - about a month after he won at New Hampshire. He wore a boot to help the sprain but that caused the blood clot by constricting his right calf. He was put on blood thinning medication, ending his season.
Vickers said doctors have told him that there's a "low percentage'' that he'll get another blood clot if it is "unprovoked.'' Vickers noted that his most recent blood clot was the result of the boot he wore. Had it not been for that, he likely wouldn't have suffered a blood clot last year.
Now that he's cleared, Vickers will test for Michael Waltrip Racing at New Smyrna Speedway next week. This year marks his first full NASCAR Sprint Cup season since 2011. That's also the last time he ran in the Daytona 500. "To get back down there is going to be special,'' Vickers said Thursday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour. "I'm curious to see if it's going to feel the same this year, that excitement, that energy and that love, as it did the first time I went to Daytona. I have a feeling it will. I think being gone for so long and going through so much since the last time I was there, it's going to have a similar feel to me. That's a great feeling.'' It's not just Daytona that excites the 30-year-old Vickers, who had run a partial schedule the past two seasons. "It's not often that you hear a racecar driver excited about testing,'' he said. "I'm really looking forward to testing next week. I'm really looking forward to getting out there and getting in a car and making laps. That's something I haven't done in three months.''(Motor Racing Network)(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)
New crew chief named for #55 team: Michael Waltrip Racing announced Billy Scott will serve as Brian Vickers' crew chief on the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "Billy was the unanimous selection by everyone here at MWR including the crew, drivers, and ownership," said Waltrip. "We feel like engineering is one of our strongest assets and with that type of talent in house it was easy to promote from within. Billy has earned this opportunity because he has helped develop and refine the engineering tools that we use every day to make our cars faster."
Scott, 36, began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. He has served exclusively as the No. 55 team's lead engineer the last two seasons. "I'm honored, but I also know this is a big responsibility," said Scott on the announcement. "We have very high expectations for the Aaron's Dream Machine in 2014. Brian has been incredible to work with and is a winner, so we can't wait to get 2014 started."
Scott Miller, MWR's Executive Vice President of Competition, performed crew chief duties on the #55 since Rodney Childers departure in August. Miller will return to overseeing all of MWR's competition effort, which includes the #55, Clint Bowyer's #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota and the #66 [was #56] Toyota shared by Waltrip and Jeff Burton. Vickers raced the #55 on a part-time basis for MWR in 2012 and 2013. He posted his third career victory at New Hampshire on July 14.
"I've been around Billy the last two seasons and he's demonstrated a strong knowledge of what makes these cars go fast," said Vickers. "I have a lot of faith in Billy. This is one of the strongest teams I've had and that's a great feeling heading into a new season." In August, Aaron's announced a multi-year agreement to sponsor Vickers in the #55 beginning at the Feb. 23 Daytona 500. Aaron's will sponsor each race during the length [2 years] of the agreement.(MWR)(12-19-2013)
Brian Vickers talks about deep vein thrombosis: #55-Brian Vickers has a condition known as deep vein thrombosis and has suffered from two blood clots in his leg. Vickers and Jack Ansell, MD with New York University School of Medicine joined the FOX43 morning team, to talk about the connection between the winter months and the increase in blood clots. See the video at FOX43.(12-19-2013)
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)
Brian Vickers says he will return in 2014: #55-Brian Vickers met with the media Sunday morning at Martinsville Speedway:
How are you feeling?
Vickers: "I feel like I could drive a race car, I just can't. I feel great. Still training, still exercising. I can't complain. I've got a great life and family and friends. I'm frustrated and I've been bummed since obviously all this happened again. I'm just kind of looking forward. Things happen in life -- that's part of it. You just keep fighting and have faith. That's all you can really do. I'm going to be out for three months and back in time for Daytona to race for a championship."
Have doctors explained why this happened and how long you will have to deal with it?
Vickers: "The answer is yes.. After the crash at Bristol, I had a mid-foot sprain and I was wearing a boot to kind of immobilize my right ankle to help with that foot sprain and that boot is what caused the clot. Pretty much right where the boot kind of constricted my calf. We know what caused it. I think the good news for me in both situations -- the first one and this one is that there were specific events -- kind of the perfect storm so to speak that created the clots. Because of that, I've never spontaneously produced a clot at random. That creates a completely different situation than someone who is just throwing clots all the time randomly. Going forward, pretty much every doctor I've met with has pretty much had the exact same conclusion, which is three months of anti-coagulation and then you're off. Whether I race or not, whether I decide to go racing or not is kind of irrelevant, the decision would still be the same.
What keeps you out of the car?
Vickers "It's not the clot and it's not that I can't race on blood thinners it's just that I can't crash. As long as I can promise my doctors that I will not crash then they're fine with me racing. Unfortunately, there's a lot of moving parts in a car that I can't control and 42 competitors that I can't control. I can't firmly commit to that so he would rather me not race. The risk is not even so much external injury like a cut or something, it's really more of an internal injury. They wouldn't be able to stop the bleeding."
(Toyota Racing PR)(10-28-2013)
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)
Brian Vickers to miss the rest of the 2013 season: Michael Waltrip Racing learned today that Brian Vickers is not available to race for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season due to health issues. Vickers said Dr. William Downey has placed him on blood thinning medication after a Monday morning examination on his right leg discovered a small blood clot in his calf region. The medications will keep Vickers out of the #55 Aaron's Toyota the remainder of the season, effective immediately. Vickers said his physicians are confident he will be able to resume activity before the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins. "If there's anything to be positive about with today's news it's that this is only a temporary setback," said Vickers. "The timing for this is never good, but I'm glad we'll get it out of the way now and be ready to run for a championship with the Aaron's Dream Machine in 2014."
"We were just informed this morning and our concern is for Brian's health," said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. "Anything else will be worked out in due course." As previously announced, two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. A replacement driver for the remaining events will be named later. In 22 races with MWR in 2012 and 2013, Vickers owns five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes including a victory on July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(MWR)(10-14-2013)
Crew chief change at MWR UPDATE: Scott Miller, MWR executive vice president of competition, is expected to act as interim crew chief on the #55 Aaron's Toyota team and for Brian Vickers until a replacement can be found. Rodney Childers informed MWR last week that he would not be returning to the team next year, opting to join Stewart-Haas Racing as (#4) Kevin Harvick's crew chief. "I'm at my last supper," Childers confirmed by text Monday, "with my guys." Miller served a similar role at MWR for Martin Truex Jr., when Chad Johnston was suspended at the end of 2011.(FoxSports)(8-26-2013)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Scott Miller, its vice-president of competition, will oversee the crew chief duties on #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Miller will take the lead role on the #55 Toyota team working with driver Brian Vickers. Miller replaces Rodney Childers who remains under contract with MWR through December 31. Billy Scott, a race engineer with MWR since 2008 and exclusive to the #55 the past two seasons, will take an elevated role in car set up and race weekend preparations. Vickers will drive the #55 in the remaining 2013 races except at Talladega when two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip climbs behind the wheel. Vickers won the July 14 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the #55. The team is 19th in the car owner standings. Miller is a 20-year motorsports veteran who joined MWR before the 2012 season and played a major role in bringing the team its first two Chase berths last year. He has served as crew chief for several teams during his career (MWR)(8-26-2013)
MWR to announce Vickers as 2014 driver of #55 UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing has scheduled a "major media announcement" for Tuesday morning at the Hall of Fame. The release has the Aaron's logo and a picture of Brian Vickers on it. Vickers has split the #55 with Mark Martin the last couple years and is widely expected to be the full time driver next season.(8-12-2013)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers on Tuesday will be named the full-time driver of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Sprint Cup car for 2014, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com. Team officials were not available for comment, but team owner Michael Waltrip has made it clear for several months that Vickers was his choice to take over the 55 car after this season.(ESPN)(8-12-2013)
UPDATE 2: Aaron's announced it has reached a multi-year agreement [2 year deal] to sponsor Brian Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) #55 Toyota Camry in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. "We at Aaron's are thrilled about this partnership. We're building a championship organization - and we know that Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team, under Michael Waltrip's tradition of winning, are focused on building a championship caliber team," said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "So many of our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to be a part of a sport they are passionate about. We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track." Vickers has raced the #55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14. Beginning in 2014, he'll pilot the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme, unveiled today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. in every race.
"I can't put into words how this makes me feel," said 29-year-old Vickers. "I've really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I've enjoyed getting to know the Aaron's associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron's is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals."
"Aaron's is a cornerstone to MWR's success. This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization," said Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing. "The relationship with Aaron's is very personal to me because they helped place Michael Waltrip Racing on the map in 2000 when I was running a half dozen Nationwide Series races from a small garage in my backyard. Now they are enabling MWR to continue its growth as we will have three drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and beyond. So much of this confidence comes from the NASCAR fans who continue to support the sponsors of our teams. I want to sincerely thank the NASCAR fans who are Aaron's customers because you make this all happen," said Waltrip.(MWR)(8-13-2013)
Last time a race winner skipped the next race? With Brian Vickers not running the Sprint Cup Series race at Indy this week, yet winning the last Cup race run at New Hampshire on July 14th, who was the last race winner NOT to attempts the following event?
That would be Brad Keselowski, who won at Talladega in April 2009 running the #09 Chevy for Phoenix Racing and did not run the following race at Richmond in May 2009. Before that it was Jamie McMurray, who won at Charlotte in October 2002 in his 2nd career Cup start and didn't race the following week at Martinsville.(7-25-2013)
Vickers wins New Hampshire: #55-Brian Vickers won the Camping World RV Sales 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2013 and 3rd career win.
#18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #31-Burton, #2-Keselowski, #43-Almirola, #48-Johnson, #29-Harvick, #99-Edwards, #20-Kenseth, and #24-Gordon.
The race ended under a green-white-checker finish after a late caution. #14-Stewart restart second but ran out of gas and finished 26th.
#78-Busch led the most laps with 102 of 302 laps, but spun midway through the race and finished 31st.
There were 10 lead changes among 6 drivers and 12 cautions for 58 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 98.735mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial New Hampshire Race Results page (pdf) and check out the New Hampshire Penalty Report (pdf).
See drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf) and the owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(7-14-2013)
MWR teams to honor Boston Marathon victims: The events of this week's attack on the Boston Marathon hit especially close to Michael Waltrip Racing founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. As the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver or car owner to have run the Boston Marathon, Waltrip will honor the victims of the marathon tragedy by running special door numbers on his three NASCAR Sprint Cup entries this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
The door numbers on the #15, 55 and 56 MWR Toyota Camrys will replicate the 2013 Boston Marathon runner "bib" numbers, which are pinned on each of the nearly 30,000 runners. Waltrip posted a time of 4 hours, 33 minutes in the 2000 event.
"The news coming out of Boston this week was very personal to me," said Waltrip. "When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2000, I remember thinking about what a privilege it was to be able to participate and all the hard work it took to be there. When you can see those international flags flying in Copley Square, you know you are about to complete your journey. I know the joy those runners were feeling at that moment when their worlds changed. It was a great moment of pride when they pinned the Boston Marathon bib on me, so I thought it would be great to pin bib numbers on our race cars this week in Kansas. I want to thank our sponsors, NAPA AUTO PARTS, 5-Hour ENERGY and Aaron's, as well as NASCAR, for giving us permission to show our support. We just want the victims of the attack, the brave men and women who helped after the explosions and the city of Boston to know that we are thinking of them and we will support them anyway we can."(MWR)(4-18-2013)
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)
Chad Walter joins MWR: Chad Walter has joined Michael Waltrip Racing as director of race engineering. Walter most recently led the #22 Penske Racing team and Sam Hornish in the Nationwide Series. He won races with both Hornish and Justin Allgaier and coached both drivers to fourth-place finishes in the NNS point standings. The 41-year-old Albion, N.Y. native was replaced by Greg Erwin at the end of last season. Walter, who attended Cornell University, replaces Steve Boyer at Michael Waltrip Racing. Boyer joined MWR two seasons ago but has returned to the private sector.(Fox Sports)(2-4-2013)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10:30 am/et
Born in JANUARY
27 Lake Speed, Jr., Jerry Robertson, Mike "Bubba" Hart, Gary Bradberry
28 Phillipe Lopez, Jimmy Cox, David Green, Randy Renfrow, Mark DeMarco, Kenneth Lankford, Timothy Morgan, Chase Miller
29 John Witske, Tommy Houston, Frank Mathalia
30 Wendy Venturini, Sean Caisse, Andy Eversole
31 Kevin Patrick Dowd, Shana Mayfield, Rick Wilson, Scott Lagasse Jr., Rex Hathcock, Tony Mullett, Jerick Johnson
Born in FEBRUARY
1 Mike Dillon, Tim Fedawa, Jennifer Shelley, Dale Cagle, John Klausmeier, Jason Fowler
2 Jon Wolfe
3 Marilyn Makar, Richard Marcis, Marv Acton, Tank Probus
4 Art Broadwater, Tim Brewer, Wayne Krogh, Eddie Gray, Chicago Paskiecz
5 Darrell Waltrip, Reed Sorenson, Justin Labonte, Matt Dilner, Ryan Page, Ricky Pearson, Dorsey Schroeder, Jamie Dick
6 Ronald Regan, Bill Lester, Paul Gentilozzi, Tate Bosworth
7 Clay Campbell, Josh Wise
8 Brad Sorenson, Joey Gase
9 Jared Irvan, Greg Newman, Brennan Newberry, Todd Parrott, Gary Putnam, Roy H. Weaver III
10 Gray Gaulding, Mike Hill
11 Andy Lally, Eddie Lanier, Burt Reynolds
12 Timothy Barile, Mike W. Davis, Brad Keselowski, Abraham Lincoln
13 Bill Schmitt, Donnie Wingo
14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
15 Rick Gay, Bud Koehler, Tayler Malsam, Wyatt Sadler, Bill Shallock, Carl Simmons, Jimmy Spencer
16 Danny Lawrence, Don Wade, Patti Wallace
17 Natalie Kate Nadeau, Jim Long, Edith Kenseth, Lori Neisser
19 Trevor Bayne, Jeff Purvis, Bobby Kennedy, Landon Smith, John Paul Jr.
20 Roger Penske, Gary Myers, Bobby Unser
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Jim Reed
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hoffman, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo