Contract Status: Sponsor: ?; Drivers: 2014; Manufacturer: 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)
Jeff Burton's first race with MWR UPDATE: #66 Let's Go Places Toyota Camry driver Jeff Burton will make his first start of the 2014 season Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Burton and Michael Waltrip will drive the #66 for Michael Waltrip Racing in a limited number of races in 2014. A newly formed partnership between MWR and Jay Robinson Racing will allow the #66 to compete in all NASCAR Sprint Cup races with Joe Nemechek as the primary driver.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on the #66 team paint schemes page.(3-5-2014)
UPDATE: Jeff Burton will leave the television studio this weekend to make his first start of the season. The 21-time Cup winner left Richard Childress Racing at the end of last season and initially announced a deal as a test driver for Michael Waltrip Racing with only one guaranteed race - Sunday at Las Vegas. He's since been named an analyst for NBC Sports Group's coverage of NASCAR. Although Las Vegas is the only announced race to date, Burton said he feels more races are coming. "There are other ones we feel pretty sure about that we're going to run, but we haven't really talked about it yet so we might change our mind," he said. "We got to run where it make sense to run and not just run because we want to run. It's got to be part of a plan and if it's not, we're making a mistake."(Associated Press)(3-6-2014)
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)
Morton Buildings to sponsor Burton: Morton Buildings announced their sponsorship of NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. Morton Buildings will sponsor Kevin Harvick in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, primary sponsor for two Nationwide races. at Indianapolis in July and Kansas at October. Morton Buildings will sponsor Jeff Burton in the Sprint Cup Series (no word which races).(Morton Buildings)(2-11-2014)
Nemechek partners up to form new team UPDATE, with MWR: Veteran NASCAR team owners Jay Robinson and Joe Nemechek of NEMCO-JRR have partnered with a group of five business leaders including Atlanta based, Nat Hardwick, managing partner of Morris|Hardwick|Schneider and CEO and Chairman of The Board of LandCastle Title, to form Identity Ventures Racing. Identity Ventures Racing will be led by managing partner, Jay Robinson, crew chief, Scott Eggleston and driver, Joe Nemechek. The team will be fielding Toyotas with engines supplied by Race Engines Plus. "I am very confident about the future of our race team. We have a very accomplished group of partners, with vast experience in business and marketing which will bring new opportunities to our sponsors and the team." stated managing member, Jay Robinson. Hardwick stated, "As both an entrepreneur and sports fan at heart, I am excited about the opportunity to step out into an entirely new arena on both fronts. The team at Identity Racing has a winning combination of experience, business sense, and passion for the sport; I look forward to being a part of the team."(Identity Ventures Racing)(1-30-2014)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced a partnership with Jay Robinson Racing enabling the #66 Toyota Camry to race in all 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup events. Waltrip will drive the #66 in the Daytona 500 and again in the May Talladega race. Jeff Burton will race the #66 in six to eight races during the season, including his first race on March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Robinson has named Joe Nemechek as the primary driver for the remainder of the races. PEAK BlueDEF will sponsor MWR's #66 Toyota that Waltrip will drive in a bid to win his third Daytona 500 on Feb. 23.(MWR), not sure if this deal has anything to do with Identity Ventures Racing.(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)
Michael Waltrip helps raise $100,000 for charity: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and Columbus Ohio's Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Center (SPARC) teamed with Aaron's and Toyota today to donate more than $100,000 worth of food, home items, cash and 1,000 children's books to local charities. Bill Schottenstein and Waltrip delivered a semi-hauler of food and other items to families at the site of what will be an automotive research and technology center in Columbus. Schottenstein heads Arshot Investment Corporation that is leading SPARC's redevelopment effort of the old Cooper Stadium. It plans to turn the stadium into a multi-purpose event facility that features a Waltrip-designed half-mile test and race track, an automotive research and technology center, as well as a conference and lodging complex. Waltrip made local media appearances, delivered food to local charities and signed autographs in Columbus today for fans who brought canned food to the site. Aaron's brought food items and distributed merchandise to those in attendance. Toyota made a cash donation. Fans also got an up-close view of Clint Bowyer's No. 15 PEAK Toyota at the event. "The Schottenstein family is known for giving back to this community and it was an honor for me to be part of this today. When you combine Bill, SPARC and our partners at Aaron's and Toyota it makes for a great event. Isn't this what the holidays are really all about?" asked Waltrip. "This redevelopment project is going to be really cool and I think everyone around the Midwest will want to come and check it out. This place is going to host a lot of great events and I can't wait to open it up in 2015."(MWR)(12-13-2013)
NBC hires Jeff Burton as NASCAR analyst UPDATE: NBC Sports Group has reached a multi-year agreement with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton, who will transition out of full-time driving and into the role of NASCAR analyst when the green flag waves over NBC Sports and NBCSN's upcoming slate of NASCAR coverage. The addition of Burton, who has already won 48 times on NASCAR's national circuits over an exciting 25-year career, places one of the most respected and passionate voices in motorsports into the center of NBC's soon-to-be-introduced NASCAR broadcast team. The announcement was made by Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN.
"Jeff Burton was always the first person we would seek out when there was breaking news or an issue that needed to be covered throughout our previous contract with NASCAR, so he was the first person we called for this role," said Flood. "His insights, keen observations and many trophies have earned the respect of everyone involved with the sport. He will be an outstanding analyst, and has everyone here looking even more forward to getting started."
Burton will assume double duties throughout the 2014 season, racing a schedule of select Sprint Cup Series races while also contributing to NASCAR programming on NBCSN. When NBC Sports Group's exclusive coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series racing begins in 2015, Burton will serve as a full-time analyst on NBC and NBCSN.
"This is an exciting new challenge and I am thrilled to be joining the NBC Sports family," said Burton. "I will prepare for each race as if I were driving in it, and I look forward to sharing my experience, views and insights with all the dedicated and passionate NASCAR fans."(NBC Sports)(12-3-2013)
UPDATE: Burton said Tuesday his [race] schedule would probably be between six and 14 races [in 2014]. His deal with MWR is for one year, while he characterized his agreement with NBC as long term. Although he may continue to test or even compete occasionally beyond next season, Burton said once the NBC broadcast season begins, he's committed to the booth. "I am 100 percent committed to being in the booth and doing my job for NBC. ... It would be unfair for me to treat this as a part-time gig," Burton said. "... It's a job, and it's going to take effort and it's going to take work. And you can't do that as effectively as you need to if you have too many other things going on. You just can't do it. The job deserves more effort than that." Burton will begin to appear on NBC's networks in 2014, as a regular guest on a daily NASCAR program on NBC Sports Network. NBC on Monday named Jeff Behnke as its vice president of NASCAR production, and will base the former Turner Sports producer out of Charlotte, N.C. Flood said more talent announcements are still to come, with one anticipated as early as Wednesday. The network has not yet revealed whether it will use a two- or three-person booth during races.(NASCAR.com)(12-4-2013)
Jeff Burton to test and drive limited schedule for MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has contracted Jeff Burton to test and drive in a select number of races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the #66 Toyota Camry. Burton, a 21-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series begins testing for MWR Dec. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The first scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup race for Burton will be the March 9 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the upcoming weeks, MWR will announce any other events added to Burton's schedule. MWR will field the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry with driver Clint Bowyer and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry with driver Brian Vickers in 2014. Burton will test for Vickers until late January when Vickers returns from medical leave. Team Co-Owner Rob Kauffman said Burton will help MWR both on and off the track. "Michael Waltrip Racing has two teams and drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and our third team will play a very important role in that pursuit," said Kauffman. "We were extremely fortunate to have a driver as experienced and respected as Jeff Burton come available. He will be able to have an immediate impact as we continue to strive for that last one percent that separates champions from contenders." Michael Waltrip will drive the #66 in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23 as he seeks his third victory in the sport's most prestigious event.(12-2-2013)
Elliotts and Hendrick meet with NAPA? hearing earlier this week that Chase and Bill Elliott, Rick Hendrick and Kelley Earnhardt Miller met with officials at the NAPA Auo Parts headquarters in Atlanta. No definite word on what the meeting was about. Chase Elliott, a Hendrick Motorsports development driver, is looking for a sponsor for whatever series he may run in 2014. His former sponsor, Aaron's, decided not to sponsor Elliott in 2014 and ramp up their sponsorship of Brian Vickers in the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Sprint Cup Series team for all the races in 2014 & 2015. NAPA Auto Parts had been a long time sponsor of Waltrip and his #56 team with soon to be former driver Martin Truex Jr. NAPA canceled their sponsorship of the #56 team and MWR after the "Richmond Scandal" in September. It'll be interesting to see what NAPA may do as rumors had them not returning to sponsor any NASCAR team in 2014 and sitting out the season and then rethinking their sponsorship plans. Have heard reports that NAPA did not want to sponsor a team in the Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series. Have heard that NAPA does not wish take over for Nationwide as the series sponsor what is now called the Nationwide Series when Nationwide leaves at the end of the 2014 season. Been told that NAPA only wants to sponsor a Sprint Cup Series team for a full season. Rumors also had NAPA moving over to the #78 Furniture Row Racing team with Martin Truex Jr. in some capacity.(11-15-2013)
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)
Furniture Row hires Truex Jr's pit crew as well:
Joe Garone of Furniture Row said Friday that the team has hired Martin Truex, Jr's pit crew from Michael Waltrip Racing to pit the team in 2014:
IS THE RCR ALLIANCE A MULTI-YEAR THING OR AN INDIVIDUAL YEAR-BY-YEAR? THE TEAM ITSELF, YOU MADE SOME CHANGES AROUND DOVER, CREW MEMBERS, ETC. WHAT KINDS OF THINGS ARE YOU DOING TO STRENGTHEN THE TEAM FOR NEXT YEAR?
Joe Garone, General Manager of Furniture Row Racing: "It is a continual process. Our RCR deal is that we do them year-to-year, and that has been a strong program. Richard (Childress) made a commitment to make sure that that program ran as a complete open-book type of relationship, and they have stood by that. It is certainly something that we utilize. But, as Martin said earlier, one of the big advantages that we have as a single-car team with that type of alliance, is our ability to move quick. We are real agile, and focus out in Colorado is 100% is about what we are doing in that shop with a staff of about 60 people, and that makes it really strong. The RCR deal is real important. As far as personnel goes, we've had some struggles, it's not a secret, on pit road. We have been working hard to overcome that. Our pit crew didn't grow as fast as the performance of the car did last year. We've been able to secure Martin's pit crew; actually bring them on-board in full-time positions for 2014. I think that is going to really help that part of our program."(Chevy PR)(11-2-2013)
Truex, Furniture Row still finalizing deal UPDATES: When is a deal with terms acceptable to all parties not quite a done deal? When the parties involved have accepted those terms, but haven't yet put pen to paper to confirm those acceptable terms. Other than that small detail, it's a done deal and in this case, everyone knows it. That's the situation at Furniture Row Racing, the home of Martin Truex Jr. after this NASCAR season. According to knowledgeable sources close to and inside the Denver, Colo.-based Sprint-Cup company, Truex and team owner Barney Visser have agreed to terms. They just haven't gotten around to signing the contract to make it official. Thus the delay in formally announcing what everyone knows is eventually coming. Broadcasters and bloggers have reported for weeks that Truex is going to Furniture Row and the announcement will be made ... well, any day now. Last weekend, at Martinsville Speedway, team general manager Joe Garone said most of the details are done and acceptable to everyone. But he added that Truex has one small detail to clear up before moving forward. "I don't know where people are getting their information," Garone said. "Yes, we've agreed to terms, but we just haven't signed anything yet. The timing isn't a big priority because we know it's going to happen. It might even get done by the end of next week [when the tour is in Fort Worth]."(Autoweek)(10-29-2013)
UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing has scheduled a "major team announcement" Friday at 11:00am/et at Texas Motor Speedway.(10-31-2013)
UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone announced that the Denver, Colo.-based organization has entered into a multiyear agreement with Martin Truex Jr. to drive the team's #78 Chevy, beginning with the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season. "We couldn't be happier to have landed one of the top drivers in NASCAR," said Garone. "Martin's talents - both on and off the track -- have been well documented and everyone at Furniture Row Racing feels that he is an excellent fit to continue the success that we have enjoyed this season."
"Furniture Row Racing has been high on my radar," said Truex. "The team has done a great job this year. It's a talented organization and it has been impressive to see what they've accomplished over the past few seasons. What influenced my decision is team owner Barney Visser and that the team really wants me as its driver. Everything else is important, but I really felt like Furniture Row Racing genuinely wanted me to drive for them."(Furniture Row Racing)
AND Michael Waltrip Racing congratulates Martin on his announcement today. We are very happy to see him in a competitive ride next year and appreciate the professionalism everyone showed throughout this entire process.(MWR)(11-1-2013)
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)
Truex looking at 2014 options UPDATES #78 Team: Martin Truex, Jr. has confirmed that he will not return to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2014. "I gave (Michael Waltrip) time to try and work it out and we tried to work it out together," said Truex. "But it's hard to put stuff together at this point of the year. So it's time now for me to figure out what I'm going to do, and figure it out quickly. I'm running out of time." Asked about speculation that he is the heir-apparent to Kurt Busch at Furniture Row Racing next season, Truex insisted, "there is nothing to talk about yet. They've done a great job this year and I'm interested in their program. They're definitely on my radar, but we'll just have to see where it goes." Truex said he has not made any inquiries about returning to the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage, where is a two-time champion, but did not rule out doing so in the future. "I've always loved the Nationwide Series and the time I was able to run there - even part-time while running Sprint Cup at DEI and MWR - was a lot of fun. It's something that I've missed in the past few seasons, and I'd be interested in going back there on a part-time basis (in addition to a full-time Sprint Cup ride)."
Truex admitted that the last few weeks have been among the most difficult of his career. It's been tough here lately, but we'll go back after them this weekend," he said. "All you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go back and try again. We've had a rough go of it lately, but it could always be worse. Hopefully, out of all this bad stuff that has happened, something good will develop."(Godfather Motorsports)(10-16-2013)
UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. has agreed to drive the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in 2014. Sources say the parties came to terms on Wednesday night. A formal announcement is expected next Tuesday. In his eighth year as a full-time Sprint Cup driver, Truex has spent the past four seasons driving the #56 NAPA Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. However, MWR's manipulation of the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond International Raceway and subsequent sanctions from NASCAR resulted in Truex's disqualification from the Chase for the Sprint Cup and NAPA's decision to part ways with the organization at the end of the season.(Fox Sports)(10-17-2013)
UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing hopes it soon will be able to name Martin Truex Jr. as the organization's driver for 2014. Joe Garone, FRR's general manager, said Friday an offer has been extended to Truex but there remained a few details to work out. "To move to another driver of Martin's caliber makes us more solid in the sport," Garone said. "If we are able to get something done, I think that's part of what that hire does." Garone said it would help the organization to be able to sign a driver for longer than a one-year deal, which is what it had with Busch. "We're starting this next season as strong as we are now," Garone said. "There are a lot of places we've identified that we can be better at and during the second half of this year we've been able to correct a lot of them. I think we'll be able to hit the ground running next season."(Charlotte Observer)(10-19-2013)
MWR unveil 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)
Burton to MWR? Ownership split at MWR?: the sport continues to await some word from Rob Kauffman (part owner of MWR) about the Michael Waltrip Racing Richmond controversy. Kauffman, 49, is Waltrip's business partner, joining in late 2007. Kauffman's primary business is as a private equity investment manager, with his Fortress Investment Group, with some $17 billion under management. Kauffman himself is listed by Forbes as one of the world's top billionaires. Now comes word from people close to the situation that Kauffman may be planning to separate himself officially from Waltrip's racing operations and establish his own NASCAR team. Kauffman's pick for his driver, again, according to people familiar with it all, is Jeff Burton. Burton says he's got a driving deal for 2014 but says he can't say anything more than that right now. Burton currently drives for Richard Childress' Chevy team; if Kauffman does do his own team, it would most like be with Toyota. A spokesman for Waltrip and Kauffman says he is unfamiliar with such a Kauffman-Burton scenario.(MikeMulhern.net)(10-12-2013)
UPDATE: been told this is not true and their will not be a split in ownership.(10-13-2013)
Truex Jr. to Furniture Row? A spokesman for the Barney Visser-Todd Berrier Chevy [#78 Furniture Row Racing] operation says the team is "very hopeful" of signing Martin Truex Jr. to a contract for 2014. Truex was victim of the Richmond (MWR) controversy, first making the championship playoffs in a hard stretch charge...only to be bounced out of the chase and replaced by #24-Jeff Gordon, in the wake of the #15-Clint Bowyer/#55-Brian Vickers flap. Not only did Truex get booted from the playoffs for no fault of his own, his sponsor NAPA is pulling the plug at the end of the season over the controversy. That has many Waltrip people quite worried about their own jobs for next season.(MikeMulhern.net)(10-12-2013)
MWR hoping to unveil new plan soon: 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)(10-7-2013)
MWR to lose another crew chief: #56 crew chief Chad Johnston has asked for his release from Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the 2013 season. Johnston remains committed to driver Martin Truex Jr. and the #56 team and intends to battle for wins in the next seven races. But with two children and another on the way, the 33-year-old engineer turned crew chief must consider his options. "Everything is uncertain," Johnston told FOX Sports on Saturday at Kansas Speedway. "Obviously, we're kind of in limbo right now, so everyone is minding their P's and Q's right now and getting something lined up for next year. At the end of the day, we have to support our families and it's a livelihood for us. It's a well-known fact that we need to be looking. I just want to do it the right way." Though Johnston hasn't received any concrete offers, in a perfect world he would prefer to remain with Truex and his current crew.(FoxSports)(10-6-2013)
Truex Jr. still unsure of 2014 plans: #56-Martin Truex Jr. remains in limbo regarding his plans for 2014. Truex, who qualified 13th, is keeping his options open while NAPA decides what direction it will take after the sponsor announced it would terminate its' relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing at season's end. "I have no idea what I'm doing yet," Truex said. "I wish I knew."(FoxSports)(10-5-2013)
MWR co-owner working on keeping #56 team: Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, calls it a "relatively low probability" that his car company would be the sole primary sponsor for #56-Martin Truex Jr.'s team next season. With NAPA recently announcing its departure, Michael Waltrip Racing must find about $15 million in sponsorship to fund Truex's car for next season and keep him. Kauffman's company, RK Motors, has served as a primary sponsor for #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Brian Vickers' cars in six races this year. Kauffman said that his company could "fill in a gap" on Truex's car. That would still leave MWR needing to find sponsorship for a majority of the races next year for the third car. Waltrip said last week that he asked Truex to give the team a little time before making a move elsewhere. Truex said earlier this weekend he had nothing new to report on his future. Kauffman, who is based in London and a founding principal in an investment group, was making his first appearance Sunday at a track since the Richmond race. NASCAR penalized MWR for manipulating the finish at Richmond. The result was that Truex fell out of the Chase and NAPA broke its three-year contract, leaving the team after this season. While Waltrip represents the public face of MWR, Kauffman represents the money. He became a co-owner of the team in Oct. 2007 at a time the organization was facing financial issues.
"If the team breaks even and is competitive, I'm happy," Kauffman said. "I'm lucky enough that I don't get my living from NASCAR, but it has to be commercially viable. That's the parameters I work around. I'm generally not a quitter. I'm not a miracle worker, but I'm going to do my level best to power through this." Kauffman said that he plans to remain in Charlotte until the situation is resolved.(Motor Racing Network)
Truex Jr. no real news on his 2014 plans: #56-Martin Truex Jr. said his job search got a little clearer over the last week but he didn't have any real news to report about his 2014 plans. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver is in limbo as sponsor NAPA has opted to leave at the end of the season. "The picture has cleared up (a little)-there's still a lot that I don't know," Truex said Friday at Dover International Speedway. "It's really no different today than last week. I've just got to figure it out." #78 Furniture Row Racing still seeks someone to replace Chase for the Sprint Cup qualifier Kurt Busch and team officials have indicated they are willing to wait on Truex to make a decision. "It sounds that way (that they'll wait), so it's nice to know there's a really good option out there at least, that's for sure," Truex said. "If there's no cars available, it would obviously be a whole lot tougher."(Sporting News)(9-28-2013)
Could Truex go to Gibbs? Will NAPA return? UPDATE: #56-Martin Truex, Jr., an innocent victim in this whole thing, is handling things with class. But he points out that he now has to look out for himself, and that means making some quick decisions about 2014. Immediately after NAPA's decision to pull the plug on the Waltrip-Truex team, there were hopes that NAPA, perhaps with Truex, might move to another stock car operation and continue its sports marketing here. NAPA is one of this sport's long-time sponsors. However Sunday here a man close to the situation said NAPA has now decided simply to drop out of NASCAR racing. If so, that could be a devastating blow; the sanctioning body itself just lost Nationwide as sponsor of its Triple-A tour (following the 2014 season). Where Truex might land, if he does move on? Well, Toyota's Joe Gibbs has been looking to fill a long-proposed fourth Cup team slot; Gibbs tried to get Kurt Busch earlier this year. And Richard Childress is still filling out his 2014 roster. Truex says simply "life moves on. I've moved on from it.(MikeMulhern.net)
BUT: According to a tweet by NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce, "J.D. Gibbs did everything but rule out 4th Cup team for JGR. 'Going from 2 to 3 was so difficult. ... I don't see it.' ".
AND: Sporting News' Bob Pockrass reports, "Joe [Gibbs] said he's devoted to Toyota & MWR & supports them, said he has no idea what's happening and had no talks [about] 4th team w/NAPA-Truex"(9-23-2013)
UPDATE: Waltrip ... said that if Truex could find another deal, he wouldn't hold him back even though two years remain on his contract. Right now, there's only one other real deal out there - the Furniture Row Racing #78 car. That team is self-funded by Barney Visser, who owns the furniture chain. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said he was interested in Truex, and he likely could wait a while for Truex to make a decision. The organization likely would go with a young driver if not Truex, meaning all those drivers probably would be available well into November before having to make a commitment for 2014. The big "if" is whether NAPA will return and sponsor another Cup team. NAPA likes to have a car for the full season but several sources in the garage said the $16 million that NAPA is reportedly paying likely includes a hefty Chase bonus and might be too low to garner a full season with other organizations. Team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't going to call NAPA, but he could start a fourth team if there is interest. "You're always interested, but we're going to see what shakes down here with those guys," he said. "I hope NAPA stays in the sport. I really hate it for Martin. I'm sure they'll see the value in our sport and hopefully stay in with whomever. We're not going to beat their door down. We can do a fourth team. I don't believe in going out and chasing somebody in a bad situation. Let them make their decision."
Chip Ganassi had no comment on the possibility of pursuing Truex, while Roger Penske said he is set with his two Cup teams for next year. "Martin's one of the good young drivers here," Penske said. "We're committed (to) two cars next year. We have plenty of drivers. What we need to do is stay focused. ... At this point, I don't see us going with Truex or NAPA."(Sporting News)(9-23-2013)
Truex unsure of future plans: #56-Martin Truex, Jr. talked to the media after qualifying Friday afternoon in New Hampshire:
Where do you stand with Michael Waltrip Racing for next season?
"I don't know -- it's too early to tell to be honest with you. I wish I knew and I wish I could say, but a lot of circumstances have to play out and it's so late in the game and late in the season. People already know what they're doing next year -- this is definitely not the time of year you want to find out that you really don't have a ride next year, so to speak. I don't know, it's going to be tough, but we'll have to deal with it and hopefully we'll figure it out."
Would you like to stay at Michael Waltrip Racing?
"I really enjoyed my last four years at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and I feel like we're getting to where we wanted to be when we started four years ago, and this is obviously going to set us back. But,I would love to be there. There's no guarantees right now -- it just depends on how everything goes down."
Is it possible NAPA go to another race team with you as the driver?
"We do have a great relationship and again, this has all happened so fast -- obviously, they're (NAPA) going to need a little time for the dust to settle and figure out what they're next move is. Just have to wait. I guess it's an option, yeah. I feel like we've got a great relationship. I feel like I've represented them well and I know they're happy with the job I've done on and off the race track. We'll just see where that leads. But right now honestly I have no idea what's going to happen." (Toyota Racing PR)(9-21-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michaal Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
Waltrip to meet media; other sponsors issue statements UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will hold a media availability at 8:00am/et Friday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage in New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday afternoon, Michael Waltrip Racing's other primary sponsors issued the following statements:
5-Hour Energy: "Living Essentials, the makers of 5-hour ENERGY shots, is still evaluating its ongoing participation in NASCAR. A decision is not expected until the 2013 racing season is over."
Aaron's: "Aaron's would like to thank NASCAR fans for their continued loyalty during this time of uncertainty. We became a sponsor of MWR 14 years ago and remain dedicated to MWR, to NASCAR and to the fans."(9-20-2013)
UPDATE: Some notes from the press conference, as posted to Twitter by various media members in attendance:
• Michael Waltrip says he can't say he wasn't "overly surprised" by NAPA's decision.
• NAPA wasn't thrilled about the way things were handled "but we put them in this position" says Waltrip
• Waltrip says there was "no master plan to manipulate the race"
• He still insists that #15-Clint Bowyer did not spin on purpose at Richmond
• Waltrip expects Michael Waltrip Racing will remain 3 cars in 2014
• The team's focus is now on finding a sponsor for #56-Martin Truex, Jr.
• He says it's possible that RK Motors - Rob Kauffman's muscle car company - could sponsor the #56 next season
• "There's a lot of concern," says Waltrip. Says he's been "concerned and worried about the future". Will work to regain trust.
• Michael Waltrip: "Yes I was scared and uncertain of our future. After speaking to all our partners, they're going to stick with us."
• Michael Waltrip has talked to Martin Truex Jr. and asked for patience but says team won't stand in Truex's way if he wants to exit.
• Waltrip expects 5-Hour Energy will stay.(9-20-2013)
NAPA Auto Parts leaving Michael Waltrip Racing at end of year UPDATES: NAPA posted the following message on their Facebook page Thursday morning:
"After thorough consideration, NAPA has made the difficult decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing effective December 31, 2013. NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR. We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports."(9-19-2013)
UPDATE: Gaylord Spencer, NAPA's Vice President, Marketing Strategy, sent the following company bulletin Thursday morning:
"NAPA announced today that, after due consideration, it has decided to end its sponsorship arrangement with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) effective December 31, 2013. As many of you are aware, NASCAR determined that MWR attempted to manipulate race results at Richmond, Virginia, on September 7, 2013. NASCAR assessed a large fine, deducted 50 points from each of the three MWR drivers in the race and suspended or banned other members of the MWR team.
NAPA believes in fair play and we are very disappointed in the actions that led to the NASCAR penalties. We have made NAPA's decision known to MWR and posted a statement on our Facebook page. There will be significant media coverage and discussion among racing fans and we expect that our decision to terminate our sponsorship will generate additional attention. The decision was difficult, but we believe is the right thing to do.
We appreciate in advance your support of our marketing efforts. We will continue to evaluate our future position as it relates to motorsports."
MWR Statement: "Michael Waltrip Racing respects the decision NAPA announced today following the events at Richmond. There is no doubt, the story of Michael Waltrip Racing begins with NAPA Auto Parts, but there are many more chapters yet to be written. MWR has the infrastructure and support of Toyota for three teams plus three Chase-caliber, race-winning drivers. With the support of our corporate partners we are preparing to field three teams in 2014. MWR is a resilient organization capable of winning races and competing for the championship and that remains our sole focus."(MWR)
Michael Waltrip Statement: "NAPA has been with me from winning two Daytona 500s, to missing races with a new start-up team, and back to victory lane again. The relationship grew far past that of just a sponsor, but more of a partner and a friend. We will not be racing a NAPA car in 2014, but I have friendships that will last a lifetime. To the fans and those who made their voice heard through social media, as the owner, I am responsible for all actions of MWR. I sincerely apologize for the role our team played and for the lines NASCAR has ruled were crossed by our actions at Richmond. NASCAR met with the competitors in Chicago and we all know how we are expected to race forward."(MWR)(9-19-2013)
Drivers react to adding Gordon to Chase: After NASCAR stunned the garage by installing #24-Jeff Gordon as the 13th playoff driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - a position which did not exist before Friday - drivers reacted with a mix of shock and confusion. "I'm very happy that Jeff is in the Chase," Hendrick Motorsports teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson said. "But in my opinion, there should be 12 cars. One in, one out should be the deal. It's not."
When NASCAR Chairman Brian France awarded Gordon an extra spot - he said Friday he believed Gordon was the victim of foul play and was at a disadvantage during Saturday night's Chase-setting race at Richmond International Raceway - no one was quite sure how to take it. Except #56-Martin Truex Jr.
"I'm not even sure what to say at this point," he said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words. They kick me out to make a spot for somebody and then they don't do the same for the other guys. It's just unfair and (there's) nothing I can do about it."
Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed confused. "I was probably just as surprised as anybody that anything happened, because we're so far into the week," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's just really extraordinary and unprecedented. I don't know what's fair anymore, you know what I mean?" he said.
Johnson wondered why the penalties to MWR were "far different" than the probation given to Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing for what he believed were similar actions. "Through all of this, we're all just looking for consistency," he said.
Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said the decision "hasn't sunk in yet," but added he was "not shocked." "I don't know if that's good or bad that I'm not shocked," he said. "But at some point, you expect the unexpected."(USA Today)(9-14-2013)
Truex talks about wrist, Richmond penalties: From #56-Martin Truex, Jr.'s media availability Friday morning at Chicagoland Speedway:
Do you think the sanctions issued to MWR were fair? "All I did the last two weeks was drive my heart out. I broke my wrist at Bristol. I found out this week that I have two broken bones in there, not just one, which makes things even more difficult. The last two weeks, we raced our hearts out. I didn't -- when the race was over, I wasn't aware of what happened, what the cautions were for. I didn't know the #55 (Brian Vickers) pitted at the end. It's tough to swallow. It's a difficult situation, like I said , for all of us. Just ready to move on. I went from feeling like I really climbed a mountain in that race at Richmond to going to be knocked out of the Chase and all that. Do I think it's fair? You know, I don't know. I don't run the sport, so we'll just have to deal with it."
Have Michael Waltrip (MWR owner) or Ty Norris (MWR general manager) apologized? "Ty (Norris, MWR general manager) did, yeah. He straight up said, 'I screwed up, it was the heat of the moment and made a bad decision.' Things happen. Again, that stuff happened and just gave us a chance. It didn't put us in. I wasn't in until the last lap. I passed the #16 (Greg Biffle) on the very last lap and that's what put us in. We were tied with (Ryan) Newman. It went to second-place finishes -- that's what got us in. It gave us a chance. Obviously, people thought it was unfair and we are where we are."
How did you feel when you first heard about the penalties and that you weren't going to be in this year's Chase? "To be honest with you, I can't even tell you. This week has been kind of surreal -- again, going from Saturday night feeling like we really accomplished something to getting it taken away from us. It's been a tough week, but just have to thank my team and everybody for standing behind me. We're going to come through this just fine. We just -- I'm glad to be back at the race track, like I said. Glad to be back in the race car and try to get this wrist healed up and go win some races."
How would you feel if NASCAR adds Jeff Gordon to the Chase? "Well, my team deserves to be in this Chase as much as any of those teams. If they're going to start putting people back in, they ought to consider us, too."
Where do you draw the line regarding team orders? "I don't even know how to answer that. This is a team sport. I don't own the race car. At the same time, everybody on every team -- driver, crew chief, owner -- it doesn't matter who it is, all they want every weekend is to do the best they can do. Nobody is going to just pull over for the sake of a teammate or something stupid that hurts their reputation or hurts their finish. That's not what we're here for."(Toyota Racing PR)(9-14-2013)
Toyota not commenting on MWR penalties: Toyota has elected not to release a statement regarding the recent NASCAR sanctions against Michael Waltrip Racing stemming from what NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton characterized as an attempt "to manipulate the outcome of the race" at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. On Thursday, Ed Laukes, vice president for marketing communications and motorsports with Toyota Auto Sales, said the manufacturer's "focus was on the three drivers remaining in the Chase" - #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #15-Clint Bowyer. "As far as the Waltrip organization goes, absolutely nothing's changed with us," Laukes said. "We're not going to really talk about it - we're just going to focus on exactly where we're at with our three guys. I think, at the end of the day, we have to look at how we support our teams, and what happened in this situation is really between Michael Waltrip Racing and NASCAR. It's unfortunate, but it's part of the sport. There's a long history, long before Toyota got into the sport, of things that happened, and it's really between Michael Waltrip racing and NASCAR. At this point we just have to stay focused on everything that's going on with the three guys and try to get a first Sprint Cup championship for Toyota."(Fox Sports)(9-12-2013)
Truex, Jr. Comments on Richmond: #56-Martin Truex, Jr. posted the following message on Twitter Wednesday evening:
"I just want to take a min to thank my fans, NAPA AUTO PARTS, Toyota, NASCAR, my fellow competitors, & MWR for their support. I was very excited for my team when I learned that we clinched a wild card spot Sat night in Richmond. I drove the hardest race of my life that night & was unaware of any other circumstances other than needing to finish as high as I could to have a chance. This has been a very difficult situation for everyone involved. I hope we can all move on. I'm looking forward to Chicago, seeing all my fans & getting back in my #56 NAPA Toyota. Thank you for all the messages. They are much appreciated."(9-11-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing sponsor statements on Richmond rac: From NAPA:
"The actions taken by Michael Waltrip's Racing team this past weekend leading to the penalties assessed by NASCAR, are very concerning. We are disappointed that a partner associated with our organization would make such a significant error in judgment. In addition, we have launched our own review to determine the future of our partnership with Michael Waltrip's Racing team. The NAPA AUTO PARTS organization is proud of its long-standing NASCAR relationship. We share a passion with our customers for high quality racing and seek to determine the best course of action for our customers, NASCAR fans, and the NAPA organization.(NAPA Facebook page)
AND From 5 Hour Energy:
"We respect NASCAR's penalties against MWR & are addressing our sponsorship relations internally. We appreciate your understanding & patience."(5 Hour Energy Twitter account.(9-11-2013)
Waltrip defends organization: Car owner Michael Waltrip said that there was no plan to ensure that #56-Martin Truex Jr. made the Chase last weekend at Richmond, but admits he might have made some similar decisions. Waltrip spoke Tuesday to "Race Hub" on FOX Sports 1, which also employs him. His interview came a day after NASCAR's penalties knocked Truex out of the Chase, allowing Ryan Newman to make it in. NASCAR penalized each of MWR's teams for a series of actions late in the race. It started with Clint Bowyer spinning and purposely losing two laps. It continued with Ty Norris, the team's general manager, ordering Brian Vickers to pit to give up positions. Waltrip defended his organization Tuesday in the "Race Hub" interview. "We're not immoral, we're not irresponsible," he said. "The decisions were made just based on circumstances. As we look back, obviously, we would have been smarter and done things differently had we had that option. What the penalties were for (was Vickers) coming down pit road to give up a spot that enabled (Truex) to make the Chase. It was impossible to defend because we did it. The caution was out and Ty was looking at the numbers and it's like, 'Pit, pit ... we need that position,' so we pitted. I don't know if I would have done it any differently. We've seen people give up positions all the time in this sport to give a teammate a point. It happens. We've seen the leader pull over so another guy can lead. I would have screwed that one up, too."
Asked if Bowyer intentionally spun - Bowyer has repeatedly denied that, Waltrip defended his driver. "You saw the video, you heard the audio," Waltrip told FOX Sports 1. "I stand by my driver."(Motor Racing Network)(9-11-2013)
NASCAR Penalizes MWR following Richmond, Truex out of Chase, Newman in: NASCAR has issued penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing following the sanctioning body's review of Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway. MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (#15, #55, #56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.
These point penalties are assessed following the season's 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the #56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.
NASCAR has also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the #55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs - Brian Pattie (#15), Scott Miller (#55) and Chad Johnston (#56) - have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
"Based upon our review of Saturday night's race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "As the sport's sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that."(NASCAR)
AND Monday evening there was a NASCAR Press Conference with NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, see the full transcript of the press conference at NASCAR Richmond Penalty Transcript page.(9-9-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing Statement: Michael Waltrip Racing accepts the penalties issued by NASCAR this evening and plans to move forward in the 2013 season. Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of MWR: "What occurred on the #55 radio at the end of Saturday night's race in Richmond was a split-second decision made by team spotter Ty Norris to bring the #55 to pit lane and help a teammate earn a place in the Chase. We regret the decision and its impact. We apologize to NASCAR, our fellow competitors, partners and fans who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on. As general manager, Ty Norris has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing since its founding and has my and (co-owner) Rob Kauffman's full support."(MWR)(9-9-2013)
Truex Jr. gets a new cast on wrist: #56-Martin Truex Jr. is one of the drivers fighting for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and is 13th in the standings, 15 points out of 10th, but holds the second wild card position. Truex finished third in Atlanta despite driving with a cast on his right wrist after suffering a scaphoid fracture and sprain during the Bristol race on Aug. 24. Truex Jr. comments on the cast: "The cast did its job at Atlanta. It got a little soft in the palm area during the race but all and all, everything went fine. I've had it checked over again and had a new cast put on. We've made a few adjustments to this new cast and I expect it to be a whole lot better. Everything has gone well so far. I cannot complain. I mean to go to Atlanta and to have a shot at the win at the end, at that point, what pain I felt was gone."(MWR)(9-6-2013)
Truex, Jr. has broken wrist; will drive at Atlanta UPDATE: An MRI on Monday confirmed a scaphoid fracture and sprain of #56-Martin Truex Jr.'s right wrist suffered in Saturday night's accident at Bristol Motor Speedway. Doctors fitted Truex with a special cast Tuesday he'll wear indefinitely. The cast enables him to better grip the steering wheel and compete in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway as well as the 11 remaining races. Truex worked closely with NASCAR this week and has been cleared to race. A multi-car crash collected Truex on lap 448 Saturday sending the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota into the outside wall. Truex was treated in the medical center Saturday. MWR has yet to determine if a stand-by driver is needed for this weekend. Truex is 14th in the points and holds the first of two wildcard entries as he seeks his second consecutive berth in NASCAR's Chase the for Sprint Cup.(MWR)(8-27-2013)
UPDATE: Truex, Jr. talked to the media Friday about the accident and plans for Sunday's race:
Truex: "It was obviously unfortunate for something like that to happen this time of year with the position we're in and where we are at in points and trying to make the Chase and the Wild Card situation and all that, but I feel good that we're able to come here and race and do the best job we can do. I think that this doesn't change anything for us. We're going to race these next two races as hard as we can and try to get ourselves in that Chase and we'll do whatever that takes. So far today, I feel pretty good in the car. I was a little bit nervous coming here -- not real sure what it was going to be like. I've never drove hurt before. I've never been hurt in a race car before, but the first lap out on the track I felt really good and everything has gone well today."
Do you plan to use a backup driver?
Truex: "We do have a backup driver as of now. Scott Speed will be there to stand in, but after practice honestly I feel really good about -- I'm going to say there's a 99 percent chance that I will race the whole race. I felt really good today. We just wanted to have a plan in place just in case because I really wasn't sure what to expect coming here today. Like I said, I've never been hurt before, never had to drive hurt, never even had a cast on my hand for God's sake. So far, everything is going well."(Toyota Racing PR)(8-31-2013)
Crew Member Suspended Due To Violation Of NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy UPDATE: Eric Maycroft, a crew member in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series [#56 MWR], has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's Substance Abuse Policy. On Aug. 16, Maycroft was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR)(8-20-2013)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing fired Eric Maycroft, front tire changer for #56-Martin Truex Jr.'s team, after NASCAR indefinitely suspended him Tuesday for violating the sanctioning body's Substance Abuse Policy. Maycroft joined Truex's team in May 2011. MWR issued a statement on Maycroft: "Michael Waltrip Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policies and those who complete the Road to Recovery program. MWR's zero tolerance policy has resulted in the immediate termination of the employee."(Motor Racing Network)(8-21-2013)
Some Pit Crew Changes: Last week Pit Talks posted a list of all the changes on pit road since the beginning of the season. Since then there have been a few more major changes to Chase contending teams. Here are the changes known:
#29-Rear Carrier Aaron Schields has been replaced by Ethan Marquette.
#24-Rear Carrier Gene Cornwell is out with injury and is replaced by Jody Fortson.
#99-Front Changer Corey Baldwin is changing places with Mike Lingerfelt on the #17.
#56-Front Changer Eric Maycroft is replaced by Terry Spalding.
All these changes are important because all of them are either in the Chase or on the bubble to make the chase. Changing teams this late in the season can prove to be very productive or simply slow the process down.(Pit Talks and see Jayski's 2013 Pit Crew Chart)(8-20-2013)
Sixteen Cup teams found with modified roof flap spacers UPDATE: Sixteen teams found to have modified roof flap spacers (lighter) during NASCAR inspection. Teams listed: #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #9-Ambrose, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #21-Bayne, #22-Logano, #43-Almirola, #55-Waltrip, #56-Truex Jr. and #99-Edwards. The modified/confiscated roof-flap spacers are on display at Daytona in the NASCAR hauler. NASCAR's Kerry Tharp addressed media on confiscated roof-flap spacers - "Spacers not in compliance with those kits." The roof-flap kits are supplied to teams for #NASCAR by one company (a Roush company) and are not to be changed.(SPEED's, Dustin Long Fox/NASCAR on Twitter)
AND Thirty-one cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday's practices at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR confiscated the teams' roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection. Penalties could be possible. The roof-flap spacers had been illegally machined down to reduce weight. NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices. Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars. "When you find something in one garage, you communicate to the other garage," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We looked into it and this is what we found."(Associated Press)(7-4-2013)
UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams expect widespread penalties after 16 cars were found with illegal roof-flap spacers at Daytona Thursday, but they don't know how severe those penalties might be. The teams caught scrambled Thursday to make compliant spacers, which are used to attach the hinge of the roof flaps. Teams and manufacturers get roof flaps from Roush Composites and, according to the NASCAR rulebook, "the hinged air deflectors must be installed as specified in the instruction sheet supplied with the hinged air deflector kit." But it was apparent that many teams had lightened the spacers or changed them. It wasn't clear what tipped off NASCAR inspectors to the violations, but after a sweep of the Sprint Cup garage Thursday, NASCAR went through the Nationwide garage and took pieces from 15 Nationwide teams Thursday night. A non-compliant part might just be a monetary penalty but because it dealt with a safety piece - the roof flaps pop up during a spin to try to keep the car on the ground - a points penalty is definitely possible, as well as crew suspensions. NASCAR traditionally issues penalties the Tuesday after a race weekend. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the widespread use of the illegal spacers most likely indicates that those pieces had gotten through inspection previously. "It's probably not something that was on a normal inspection routine," Pemberton said. "The teams are told that they must assemble all that stuff using all the parts that's in the kit. Once in a while you'll find things like that and it's probably something that teams have probably done a little bit in the past." Whether the number of teams involved will impact the penalties and whether crew chiefs who are on probation will face more severe penalties will be determined Monday and Tuesday, Pemberton said. Because teams didn't have extra kits at Daytona, NASCAR allowed the teams to make spacers that were compliant.(Sporting News)(7-5-2013)
NAPA Batteries scheme for Truex Jr.: Martin Truex Jr. will drive the #56 NAPA Batteries Toyota to promote NAPA's "Get Back and Give Back" program at Daytona and New Hampshire. The promotion offers fans great savings on the purchase of a qualifying battery, alternator or starter throughout July. Customers may contribute a portion of the rebate to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to provide support for the families of U.S. military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for those severely wounded in the performance of their duties in Afghanistan and Iraq. NAPA will donate $1 to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for every qualifying rebate redeemed by customers in July. NAPA also is encouraging the public to donate $10 - no purchase is needed - to Intrepid by texting the word NAPA to 27722. Consumers can also select to donate (in $5 increments) part or all of their earned mail-in rebate that range from $5 to $25.(MWR), see images of the car on the #56 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2013)
Truex, Jr. wins Sonoma: #56-Martin Truex, Jr. won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for his 1st win of 2013, 1st road course win and 2nd career win. His win breaks a 218 race winless streak. His first win was at Dover in June of 2007. Truex, Jr. led the most laps on the day - 51 of 110.
#24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #99-Edwards, #78-Busch, #15-Bowyer, #5-Kahne, #9-Ambrose, #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, and #29-Harvick.
#42-Montoya was running 2nd when he ran out of gas on the final lap. He finished 34th.
Pole sitter #1-McMurray finished 25th after having trouble with a broken shock late in the race.
There were 10 lead changes among 8 drivers and 7 cautions for 19 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 76.658mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Sonoma Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Sonoma Penalty Report (pdf).(6-23-2013)
For Official Results & Points, see the Official Sonoma Race and Points Report.(6-23/24-2013)
Only 2nd win for car #56: The win by Martin Truex Jr at Sonoma in the #56 Toyota is only the 2nd time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history that the car #56 has won a NSCS race. The other time was when Jim Hurtubise won at Atlanta on March 27th, 1966 in the #56 Plymouth. See all the wins by car number on my Win by Car Number page.(6-23-2013)
Most Sprint Cup Series starts between victories in NASCAR history:
Seasons, Driver, race between wins:
1994-2001: Bill Elliott 226
2007-2013: Martin Truex Jr. 218
2001-2006: Jeff Burton 175
1996-2001: Sterling Marlin 170
2002-2007: Jamie McMurray 165
1999-2003: Terry Labonte 156
2008-2012: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 143
MWR cars to carry Feed the Children decals to support Tornado Victims: In 2010 brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip combined their philanthropic efforts and created the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship. The Waltrips selected Feed The Children as one of the golf tournament's benefactors in 2012. The Oklahoma City-based organization, whose mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life's essentials, saw deadly tornados strike at its doorstep this week. During this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing will carry Feed The Children decals on the roofs of all three of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyotas. The decals will bring greater awareness to an organization forced to turn its focus to its own Oklahoma community. The cars of drivers #56-Martin Truex Jr., #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Mark Martin will carry the decals in Sunday's 600-mile race. Founded in 1979, Feed The Children is on the front lines helping tornado victims and first responders in their hometown. Feed The Children is currently accepting product and monetary donations and providing help for Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders with ready-to-eat meals, disaster relief supplies, water and food. Feed The Children is a BBB Wise Giving Alliance accredited charity and uses a comprehensive and integrated program to combat hunger and poverty to make sure no child or family goes to bed hungry. To Donate text "DISASTER" to 80888 or visit feedthechildren.org/tornado.(MWR)(5-24-2013)
Truex Jr raises $60k: #56-Martin Truex Jr. He raised $60,000 for charity Wednesday night when his foundation held its fourth annual Catwalk for a Cause presented by Toyota on Wednesday at MWR. The fashion show sold out with more than 450 in attendance including several drivers and NASCAR celebrities. All of the monies raised benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Special Needs Fund at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte.(MWR)(5-17-2013)
MWR's Fan Fest Moved to October: Michael Waltrip Racing will host its annual Fan Fest in the fall at the height of NASCAR's "Chase for the Sprint Cup." The event at MWR's headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., has traditionally been held during Charlotte Motor Speedway's May events, but this season the race shop is undergoing some capital improvements to further enhance the visitor and employee experience.
"We are in the process of making MWR even better for everyone, including fans, sponsors and employees," said Waltrip. "We can't wait to showcase our upgrades soon and appreciate all the fans who have given our facility a 100% approval rating since we opened in 2007."
This month MWR began construction of a new 7,500-square-foot training facility. The multi-level gym will further the skills of pit crew members. The facility includes an inlaid car silhouette so crews can practice agility drills around a car, free weights, weight machines, Cross Fit elements, cardio equipment as well as locker rooms and offices. Construction should conclude in June. MWR is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. Fans can still visit MWR's friendly interactive facility and take public tours throughout the construction projects.(MWR)(5-13-2013)
Special pit crew member in Truex's pit on Sunday: Ret. Army Sgt. Noah Galloway is this week's NAPA Honorary Pt Crew Member in #56-Martin Truex Jr.'s pit on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. He's from Birmingham, Ala. On Dec. 19, 2005, he lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee in an Improvised Explosive Device attack in Yusafiah, Iraq. Since his injury, Galloway has participated in two Warrior Dash events and a Barbarian Challenge. As a member of TEAM X-T.R.E.M.E, he has completed three Tough Mudder competitions and the Bataan Memorial Death March.(MWR)(5-5-2013)
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)
Statement by MWR regarding penalty: The following statement is in response to Wednesday's penalty issued by NASCAR to Michael Waltrip Racing. "Michael Waltrip Racing is sensitive to working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy. This infraction clearly occurred as a result of a malfunction caused by race conditions. Therefore, we will not appeal. We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions."(MWR)(4-17-2013)
NASCAR Penalties announced for three teams: Penalties have been handed down to three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams following last Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. The #56 car was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1B (the car failed to meet the minimum front car heights during post-race inspection) of the 2013 rule book.
As a result of this violation, crew chief Chad Johnston has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until June 5. The team has also been docked six championship driver (Martin Truex Jr.) and six championship owner (Michael Waltrip) points.
The #2 and #22 cars have also been penalized. Both cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1; 12-4J and 20-12 (all suspension systems and components must be approved by NASCAR. Prior to being used in competition, all suspension systems and components must be submitted, in a completed form/assembly, to the office of the NASCAR Competition Administrator for consideration of approval and approved by NASCAR. Each such part may thereafter be used until NASCAR determines that such part is no longer eligible. All suspension fasteners and mounting hardware must be made of solid magnetic steel. All front end and rear end suspension mounts with mounting hardware assembled must have single round mounting holes that are the correct size for the fastener being used. All front end and rear end suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension component beyond normal rotation or suspension travel.)
As a result of this violation and as it pertains to the #2 car the following penalties have been assessed:
· Crew chief Paul Wolfe has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
· Car chief Jerry Kelley, team engineer Brian Wilson and team manager Travis Geisler (serves as team manager for both the #2 and #22 cars) have been suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
· The loss of 25 championship driver (Brad Keselowski) and 25 championship owner (Roger Penske) points.
As it pertains to the #22 car the following penalties have been assessed:
· Crew chief Todd Gordon has been fined $100,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
· Car chief Raymond Fox and team engineer Samuel Stanley have been suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
· The loss of 25 championship driver (Joey Logano) and 25 championship owner (Walt Czarnecki) points.(NASCAR)
Truex, Jr's car too low UPDATE: NASCAR determined that second place finisher #56-Martin Truex, Jr's car was "too low in the front" in postrace inspection. NASCAR will examine it further and address any possible penalties early in the week.(4-14-2013)
UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. faces a possible six-point penalty for the front of his car being too low following his second-place finish in the NRA 500 Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Crew chief Chad Johnston said the shocks on Truex's car would not rebound after the race. "We tried to pull the shaft out of the body, and it's just (stuck)," he said. "There's something going on, whether it's debris (inside) or parts and pieces of the shock." NASCAR will announce any penalties in the next few days. Being too low in tech cost Kyle Busch six points in 2011 and a $25,000 fine for his crew chief.(Sporting News)(4-14-2013)
Martin oversee's MWR training facility: #55-Mark Martin is overseeing the construction of Michael Waltrip Racing's new 7,500-square-foot training facility. The multi-level gym at the team's Cornelius, NC. shop will further the skills of pit crew members. The facility includes an inlaid car silhouette so crews can practice agility drills around a car, free weights, weight machines, Cross Fit elements, cardio equipment as well as locker rooms and offices. Construction should begin this week with completion expected within 90 days. Martin said: "I'm really enthused and excited about what we're working on getting at MWR. This has been a 10-month crusade to get the green light. It's fun. It's my second passion. I've been consulting with the strength staff and the coaching staff picking out equipment and designing the layout. We hope to have the nicest facility in the sport. You spend a lot of money on equipment in the sport and I think you are starting to see the teams invest even more in human performance." What is your normal workout routine? "Right now, it's five days a week -- five or four depending on what the schedule is, but usually five days a week. I only lift weights an hour and try not to let my weight lifting last beyond an hour because it's incredibly intense and somewhat counterproductive to go beyond 60 minutes."(MWR)(3-20-2013)
MWR hires models for Social Media Engagement efforts: The face of Michael Waltrip Racing's social media engagement is getting a new look that began Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Each NASCAR Sprint Cup race day, a team of digitally savvy models will roam the garage, infield, sponsor midway and hospitality areas to interact with NASCAR fans. The uniformed ladies will also lead a concerted social media effort from the track in 2013 in support of MWR's team initiatives and sponsors. Fans can interact with them via twitter by using the handle @MWRGirls. Uniquely, one of the @MWRGirls is Miss Florida Latina, speaks fluent Spanish and will lead MWR's effort to take the MWR/NASCAR experience to the Latino audience. Waltrip said over the years he noticed almost all of the social media communication from race teams is about cars, pit strategy, and the drivers. Instead, the @MWRGirls will take fans to a variety of events on race day, share insider information and show the magnitude of NASCAR Sprint Cup races.(MWR)(3-11-2013)
NAPA Filter's featured on the #56 at Phoenix: Martin Truex Jr. will help NAPA launch its March oil change special by piloting the #56 NAPA Filters Toyota in Sunday's race. It's just $20.99 at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. Fans can get an instant savings of $3 if they mention hearing NAPA's oil change radio ad. For details visit, napaonline.com. "I am really looking forward to kicking off NAPA's March promotion. We got the NAPA Filters guys coming to the track to join us. They are a great bunch to work with so I hope we can get a lot of NASCAR fans to stop in at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores and take advantage of the savings." On Thursday, Truex honored 20 NAPA AutoCare Centers who gave back to their Phoenix community. Each AutoCare Center did repairs up to $500 for a family in need. The group performed more than $10,000 in repairs at no charge (MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #56 Team Schemes page.(3-1-2013)
MWR Hires Christmas Abbout as full-time crew member: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has hired professional CrossFit competitor Christmas Abbott as a full-time pit crewmember for its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation. Abbott, 31, will be a "weekend warrior" with MWR, traveling to all NASCAR Sprint Cup events in a pit support role. Her long-term goal is to go over the wall as a tire changer. "This is just the first step for me," said Abbott who competed in several CrossFit competitions since 2006 and can overhead squat 200 lbs. "I've been training for several months. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I'm here to do whatever my coaches ask of me, and I don't want any handouts. I'm ready to work three races a weekend if that's what it takes to get me where I want to be. I'm in this for the long haul." MWR's pit coaches have seen enough development of the 5'3 115-pound Abbott to name her to the MWR travel squad. "This is another first for Michael Waltrip Racing," said founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "She is an incredible elite athlete and she has worked with our crews by bringing some cross-fit elements to their workouts. She is a competitor and when she decided to start working towards an over the wall position, we said we are the perfect place to make it happen. As Danica has seen, it takes a lot of work and dedication to get to the top level of her trade. With her Daytona 500 pole, it seems so much of that work has been worth it. I believe the same can hold true for Christmas. We expect her to excel or we wouldn't commit the position to her."(MWR)(2-21-2013)
NASCAR, Swan Racing and Waltrip to Pay Tribute to Newtown, CT, Community: Using the biggest race of the year as a backdrop, NASCAR, Swan Racing and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced today a special tribute to raise awareness and contributions for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Following a private meeting with town officials, community leaders, first responders and victims' families last week in Newtown, Conn., NASCAR, Swan Racing and Waltrip announced that the #30 Lean1 Swan Racing Toyota will instead garner the #26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota. Waltrip's ride for the Daytona 500 will honor the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and prominently feature a call-to-action decal encouraging the NASCAR community to make $10 donations by texting NEWTOWN to 80888.
The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, established jointly by United Way of Western Connecticut and Newtown Savings Bank, supports the healing process for the broader Newtown community including children, teachers, first responders, families, residents, mental health professionals, counselors and others, following the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. One hundred percent of the funds raised for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund go to meet the needs of the Newtown community.
"Americans everywhere are heartbroken about the tragedy in Newtown and Swan Racing is proud to join NASCAR and the United Way of Western Connecticut to help the community move forward," said Swan Racing owner Brandon Davis.
In addition to piloting the #26 Newtown car in the Great American Race, Waltrip confirmed today that all three Michael Waltrip Racing entries will run the "text NEWTOWN to 80888" decal for the Daytona 500. "Driving the #26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota is like nothing I have ever been part of in my NASCAR career," Waltrip said. "It will be an emotional week knowing that we have the potential to do so much good for the Newtown community. I'm racing for a reason."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France also announced today that he and his wife Amy would personally kick off the NASCAR industry support with a $50,000 donation that will be matched by The NASCAR Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR family and its commitment to serving communities. "Being in Newtown last week and delivering a moment of happiness to that community was unlike anything I've ever experienced," said France. "Looking out at a room of smiling faces amidst the aftermath of a horrible tragedy was very powerful. It hit me that the NASCAR industry and our passionate fan base have an unbelievable opportunity to rally around this cause and make a huge difference for a community in need. I am excited to witness firsthand the NASCAR community's embrace and support of the Sandy Hook School Support Fund."
The Sandy Hook School Support Fund recently announced in cooperation with the Newtown Rotary Club Foundation that funds are available to help with the immediate financial and mental health needs for people impacted by the tragic events of Dec. 14. "One thing I can tell you for sure, is that there will be a whole lot of people in Sandy Hook and Newtown rooting for Michael and the No 26 car," said Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead. "It will be something positive to rally around, and there will be smiles on faces that haven't smiled in quite a while." The NASCAR community can contribute to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund by texting NEWTOWN to 80888. For fans without short-code texting plans with their wireless carriers, there are two additional opportunities to donate. Donations can also be made online at newtown.uwwesternct.org or by mail to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT, 06470.(MWR/NASCAR)(2-14-2013)
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)
2013 silly season notes for #56-Martin Truex Jr. / Michael Waltrip Racing: Truex Jr. and NAPA re-signed in August to stay with the #56 MWR team thru the 2015 season. Truex Jr. gets a new spotter in Mike Herman Jr., a former racer/driving coach. Chad Johnston returns as Truex's crew chief. See images of the #56 scheme on my #56 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(2-4-2013)
Michael Waltrip Racing Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour: team owner Michael Waltrip says, "This is breaking news: We don't have any news. There's really nothing new or different from 2012. Man are we happy about that."
Clint Bowyer on a 2nd-place hangover: "I've had a lot of hangovers, you fight through them." and also said his #15 team is not fully-sponsored, "We're definitely looking for some more sponsors on our car."
Mark Martin said #55 team was able to keep entire team together from 2012 to 2013,
Mark Martin said: "I don't expect to be in it (55 car in 2014) That's not my goal. My goal is to see Rodney & 55 car race for a championship" but on his 2014 plans: "It's too early to get into discussions about future behind the wheel. Some talk about being further involvement w/ 55 team."
MIchael Waltrip announces plans for new fitness facility at MWR and that Martin is helping to update the gym.
Brian Vickers only test in Gen6 car was last fall, but expects to test more before first race at Bristol.
Besides running nine race in the #55 for MWR, Vickers is also running full time in Nationwide with JGR.
Truex Jr. says Toyota Racing Development is playing a key role in development of new car and TRD was a key in 2012 success.(from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-22-2013)
Several drivers getting new spotters: Wondering whose voices will be directing your favorite drivers when the Sprint Cup Series tests at Daytona International Speedway next week? There are changes a-plenty coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup spotter's stand this season. Here are a few to listen for:
Brandon Benesch, who was Danica Patrick's car chief at JR Motorsports during her Nationwide Series stint in the #7 GoDaddy Chevy, will be her eyes in the sky starting on Thursday. Benesch also spotted for Robby Gordon.
Veteran spotter Keith Barnwell started coordinating the schedule for Team Dillon (Austin and Ty) in December. But on the weekends, Barnwell will spot for #31-Jeff Burton. For the last two years, Barnwell spotted for Martin Truex Jr.
Mike Herman Jr., a former racer/driving coach, will take the reins for Barnwell on the #56 Toyota for Truex at Michael Waltrip Racing. Herman, 38, competed in both Pro Cup and the Southern Modified Tour.
Derek Kneeland is getting his big break spotting for #42-Juan Pablo Montoya this year. Kneeland spots for Brian Scott in the Nationwide Series and worked part-time guiding Frank Stoddard's #32 Ford last year.(Fox Sports)(1-6-2013)
Waltrip on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner and part-time driver Michael Waltrip is scheduled to appear in the episode of the ABC-TV program Extreme Makeover Home Edition that airs Monday, Dec. 17, at 8:00pm/et. The Christmas-themed episode features a family that has fostered more than 30 children, including adopting a family of five siblings. The NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' female dance troupe also is featured.(ESPN)(12-15-2012)
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)
Truex talks about hurricane Sandy and his foundation: New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. and his family were lucky. When hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in late October, the Truex home avoided major damage, but those living close by weren't as fortunate. "My family made out very well for the situation and the area that they are in," Truex said Thursday before leaving for the NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip. "They're a mile from people that lost their homes and had serious flooding and a really bad time with it. We were very fortunate that all of my close friends and family didn't have any major problems, which is great. But, at the same time a lot of people in the community are struggling. Lost houses and things and places where I grew up going to, like the Jersey shore, right there is just in shambles. We're trying to do all we can to help. My foundation set up a fund, and we've raised I think over $150,000 up to this week, and we're starting to disperse those funds to families and help people that really need it."
Given his non-stop late-season schedule, Truex hasn't had a chance to visit his home state since the hurricane, but his charitable work has arrived ahead of him. "We took a truck load of supplies up there two weeks ago, I think, and we're getting ready to do another one. Just trying to help as much as we can, giving back and trying to get those people on their feet, because it was a tough time for them. No, I haven't been back, and I won't be probably until Christmas. That will be really our first time. We've been so busy it's been hard to get away."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-2-2012)
Special scheme for Truex Jr. and relief effort for Hurricane Sandy: #56 NAPA Auto Parts driver Martin Truex Jr. is leading the charge in the cleanup process from Hurricane Sandy. Truex said he's stunned by the damage to his hometown of Mayetta, N.J. and in the surrounding areas wrought by this week's hurricane.
Now he's calling on his and all NASCAR fans to join in the relief effort. His Martin Truex Jr. Foundation is collecting monetary donations and donators are asked to visit his website at martintruexjrfoundation.org to help.
"I want the people of Mayetta and everyone back East impacted by Sandy to know that I'm thinking about them and will do whatever possible to provide relief quickly," Truex said. "My family, my friends, and everyone impacted by this disaster are in our thoughts. I'm humbled by the generosity of the NASCAR community and want to thank each of you in advance for contributing to our relief effort." Truex and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday in the seventh of the sport's Chase for the Championship. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver is seventh in points - 63 points out of first. His #56 Carlyle Tools by NAPA Toyota will carry a special decal calling attention to the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation's fundraising effort.(MWR), see an image of the Carlyle Tools by NAPA scheme on my #56 Team Schemes page.(10-31-2012)
PEAK sponsoring Bowyer for 3 races in 2013; associate on all MWR cars: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that PEAK Motor Oil will become a primary sponsor on Clint Bowyer's #15 Toyota for three races in each of the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons. MWR will also feature PEAK Motor Oil as an associate sponsor on the #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS TOYOTA and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine driven by Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Waltrip. The familiar PEAK logos will adorn Bowyer's hood at the May Talladega race, the July Daytona race and at Chicagoland in 2013. Waltrip said there are primary sponsorship opportunities open on the No. 15 in 2013. "5-hour ENERGY and PEAK are wonderful, powerful retail brands activating with this race team. We still have some work to do to fill out the 2013 schedule and need to bring some more partners to add to this great foundation of support," said Waltrip.(MWR)(9-14-2012)
Truex Jr. agrees to extension UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. has agreed to an extension to stay in the #56 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing with NAPA as his primary sponsor. MWR has scheduled a press conference for Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway where Truex and NASCAR president Mike Helton will be present to announce 2013 plans and unveil a car.(ESPN.com)(8-28-2012)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing has agreed to multiyear contract extensions with Martin Truex Jr. and NAPA Auto Parts keeping Truex behind the wheel of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. NAPA will continue as one of the few full-time primary sponsors in the series, sponsoring all 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races and the sport's two non-points events each season. "NAPA and I have been together a long time and they are family to me," said Michael Waltrip, who founded MWR and co-owns the three-car team with Rob Kauffman. "They have been to victory lane with me, helped me launch my own race team and have been our team's biggest supporter through the years. It is hard to describe how grateful I am that NAPA feels good enough about our organization to continue this partnership." Waltrip said re-signing Truex, who began racing for MWR in 2010, has been a priority.
"Re-signing Martin was huge for us. We've given him competitive race cars and engines this year and he's been able to showcase his talent. Where I am most proud of Martin is off the track. He has dedicated himself to be a leader in our organization and has accepted his role as an ambassador for our sponsors. His work with NAPA, Toyota, AAA, along with his foundation work, has shown his maturity as a person and he makes me proud." MWR, Truex and NAPA have enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012. Currently fifth in Sprint Cup driver points and battling for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, Truex owns five top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes - all career bests.
"Driving the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota means the world to me," said the 32-year-old Mayetta, N.J. native. "I knew when I signed on for the 2010 season that we had a lot of work to do to get the performance to where NAPA would be proud of us, and I also knew I had big shoes to fill in that NAPA uniform because Michael is the best at being an ambassador for sponsors. It is so gratifying that the hard work has paid off with competitive race cars every week. And I am more comfortable than ever that NAPA is my sponsor and I am their driver. It's my job to do everything I can to make sure we are together for the rest of my career."
The company said its affinity for NASCAR has never been stronger. "We put a lot of time in evaluating where we choose to spend our marketing dollars and decided NASCAR continues to be a good fit for us. The sport garners tremendous fan support whose loyalty to NASCAR sponsors is unsurpassed and for that we are most appreciative," said Paul Donahue, President of Genuine Parts Company. "Once we decided on NASCAR, we determined that MWR was the team we wanted to continue to support. No other team has shown the improvement that MWR has over the past few seasons. We have been very pleased with the performance of Martin Truex, Jr. and the entire No. 56 NAPA team. Martin as well as all the folks at Michael Waltrip Racing continue to represent NAPA in a positive manner and we look forward to a successful partnership both on and off the track."(NAPA/MWR)
UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. and primary sponsor NAPA have agreed to a three-year contract extension with Michael Waltrip Racing (AP), and see images of the 2013 #56 NAPA Toyota Camry..(8-31-2012)
Bowyer happy that Truex Jr. is still in the MWR fold: #15-Clint Bowyer may be flying below the radar as a Chase contender, but he's happy that Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #56-Martin Truex Jr. has his new deal squared away. "Having Truex back as a teammate was something that I was very, very adamant about and supportive of," Bowyer told the NASCAR Wire Service on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I'm looking forward to where he's announcing that. "It's something that I'm looking forward to keeping for a long, long time. We raced a lot together back in the Nationwide days (both are former series champions), had a lot of respect for each other. We just push each other pretty good and work together well." Bowyer was at CMS to help promote the stunt scheduled as part of the festivities before the Oct. 13 Bank of America 500, the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Daredevil Nik Wallenda, who in June became the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a high wire, will bring his talents to the speedway.(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-30-2012)
Truex Jr. says contract is basically done: #56-Martin Truex Jr., who is on the final year of his current contract with Michael Waltrip Racing, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed his contract situation:
Q) How close are you to finishing up your contract extension with MWR?
Truex Jr. "We're very, very close. I'm not going to say it's done, but it's basically done. I'm very, very happy about that. I guess, it's one of those deals where we had to work out some details, but there was never a time when the whole thought of going through contract negotiations again came up that there was never a thought of me saying what are my options, what am I thinking. There was none of that. It was how can we get this deal done and moving forward. We've come a long way. When you put that much work into something, you don't want to just say, 'Ah, I can do this somewhere else,' because it's not that easy. I've put a lot of effort into being part of that team, to help them build a program and they've invested a lot into me to be a part of that program. It's something that I felt we both wanted to continue and there was never any talk about whether we were going to try to renew it or not, it was what do we have to do to get this deal done from both sides. It was really probably the easiest - well it's not done yet - it's been a very easy process and we've really concentrated on racing and just kind of tried to do this on the side to get it done. It's been a pleasure to work with all those guys throughout not only this, but throughout the past three years and I'm looking forward to doing that for a long time to come."(Toyota NSCS Notes & Quotes)(8-10-2012)
Truex Jr. says contract with MWR is close: #56-Martin Truex Jr. was one of the four drivers who was involved in a 2013 NSCS Goodyear tire test at Martinsville Speedway on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, he was part of a Q&A and was asked about his contract status;
Q) What is the status of your contract with Michael Waltrip Racing?
Truex Jr.: "I think we'll announce it soon. We're really close -- there's no secrets to hide. We're just finishing up the details. I really never talked to anybody else or even really thought about going anywhere else. It's just one of those things where we were concentrating on racing, concentrating on putting all the pieces of the deal together during the week when we're not racing. Really, it's come together nicely. We're very close and we're excited about the future together."(Toyota NSCS Martinsville Notes & Quotes)(8-8-2012)
NAPA & MWR raise $72,000 for Colorado wildfire victims: NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owner Michael Waltrip made a special delivery Saturday night in Colorado. Through a week-long initiative, he along with his NAPA Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., helped their sponsor raise more than $72,000 through a NAPA Know How to Care campaign. The proceeds will help victims of the wildfires which swept across Colorado last month. Waltrip, NAPA management and local store owners delivered the check during ceremonies before Saturday night's NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway. An additional check will be presented with the proceeds raised by online, local NAPA store efforts and at-track fundraising. Waltrip drove the #55 NAPA Knows How to Care Toyota in the event to raise awareness for the NAPA Knows How to Care program. Waltrip signed autographs at a NAPA fundraiser for the disaster relief fund on Friday at the NAPA Denver Distribution Center. NAPA provided free hamburgers and hotdogs to the public. All donations made in person at the fundraiser, Colorado National Speedway, making PayPal donations to the American Red Cross at michaelwaltripracing.com or texting "RED CROSS" to the number 90999 contributed to the effort.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(7-30-2012)
NAPA & MWR team up to help wildfire victims: NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owner Michael Waltrip will make a special delivery Saturday, July 28 in Colorado. Waltrip and MWR driver Martin Truex Jr. are asking race fans to participate in the NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE campaign to benefit victims of the wildfires which swept across Colorado last month. Fans may participate by making PayPal donations to the American Red Cross at www.michaelwaltripracing.com from now until Sunday, July 29. Waltrip and NAPA management will deliver a check for $25,000 from NAPA AUTO PARTS during ceremonies before Saturday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(7-26-2012)
Special scheme for Truex at Daytona: The #56 will sport a special black and white paint scheme to promote NAPA's "Get Back and Give Back" program that raises money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), an independent not-for-profit serving United States military personnel wounded or injured in service and their families. Throughout the busy travel month of July, NAPA customers will receive up to a $25 mail-in rebate for every battery, alternator, and starter they purchase, which they can donate all or a portion of their rebate to the IFHF. Additionally, NAPA will donate $1 to the IFHF for each redeemed rebate and $2 for each battery installed at a participating NAPA AutoCare Center or repair center. Truex and his sponsor hope to raise $500,000 for this important cause. NAPA stores across the country are hosting a "Black Out" through July 7. Employees have traded their usual blue and yellow uniforms for black NAPA t-shirts with the IFHF's logo along with the phrase, "We Believe In Heroes." The NAPA Racing team will wear the t-shirts on Friday during NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Daytona.(MWR)(7-4-2012)
Truex, Jr. close to extending contract: #56-Martin Truex Jr. and Napa are close to a contract extension with Michael Waltrip Racing, team owner Michael Waltrip told SBNation.com on Tuesday via phone. Both Truex and Napa had deals that were set to expire at the end of this season, and Truex was under pressure to perform heading into the year. But with MWR's continued improvement and Truex's strong showing - he already has as many top-five finishes this year than in the previous two seasons combined - it seems all parties wanted to stay together. Waltrip said Tuesday a new deal with the driver and sponsor was "imminent." "We're right on the edge of putting it all together," he said. "We're just working through some details." The team owner said everything might wait to be completed until after the July 4th holiday week, but added, "We'll have a deal done with Napa and Martin here before much longer."(SB Nation)(7-3-2012)
Miller on standby for Truex Jr. at MIS UPDATE Congrats: #56-Martin Truex's crew chief Chad Johnston and wife Stacey are awaiting the birth of their first child in the Charlotte area. Last weekend Scott Miller, Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president of competition, called the shots at Poco#Miller will be on standby again if Johnston isn't in Michigan. Even if he remains in North Carolina, Johnston will remain in touch with the team throughout the weekend via cell phone and computer.(MWR)(6-14-2012)
UPDATE and congrats: Congratulations to Chad Johnston, crew chief of the #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and his wife Stacey. Last night, Johnston received an early Father's Day present as his son, Chase Allen Johnston, arrived at 10:32 pm/et. The baby boy weighed in at nine lbs. and 20.75 inches long. He joins big sister Sydnee into the family. Plans are for Johnston to remain in Mooresville, N.C. with his family for the remainder of the weekend. Serving as interim crew chief for driver Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA Racing team for Sunday's Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway is Scott Miller, Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president of competition.(MWR)(6-16-2012)
Truex, Jr's crew chief will miss Pocono: #56-Martin Truex Jr. crew chief Chad Johnston flew to Pocono Raceway last year a little nervous as he headed to his first weekend as a Sprint Cup crew chief. He's much more nervous flying to Pocono this week. He planned to fly to the track Thursday night, having missed the two-day test session at Pocono to be with his wife, who is expecting to give birth to a baby boy in the next few days. She is due Saturday, and Johnston plans to fly back home to North Carolina after qualifying Saturday. Michael Waltrip Racing competition director Scott Miller will call the race Sunday. Those plans, Johnston said Thursday morning, are all tentative as he tries to do the right thing for both work and home. "Family comes first, but your race team is a pretty important part," Johnston said. "You don't want to sacrifice the finish or the performance on something that is personal."(Sporting News)(6-8-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota Racing Extend Partnership: Michael Waltrip Racing announced a multi-year contract extension with TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) to keep the organization in the Toyota camp for years to come. MWR and Toyota entered Sprint Cup Racing - NASCAR's premier division - together in 2007. MWR currently fields three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and is enjoying its best season with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer in the top 10 in NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points and all three of its cars in the top 12 in owner points. MWR Toyotas have earned three poles and seven top-fives in the first 11 races in 2012.
"Toyota has been the cornerstone of MWR," said co-owner Michael Waltrip. "They took a chance on us in 2007 and together we have matured into who we are today. It was an honor to be part of the freshman class. Knowing we will be with Toyota for the next several years gives our drivers, our team members and our sponsors a sense of stability and confidence. MWR will be able to continue its competitive rise because we are insured Toyota's tier one level resources. Toyota is a partner in the truest sense of the word."
"For us, this is a vote of confidence that we are making positive moves towards a championship," said MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman. "There is more work to do and with Toyota's long-term support, it helps us make longer term decisions for the betterment of the business."
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing -- a member of our 'freshman class' from 2007," said Lee White, TRD's president and general manager. "MWR has steadily grown into a championship-caliber race team, and the team is now stronger than it's ever been. We're extremely proud of all the team's accomplishments, and we look forward to much more success together." TRD will continue to provide MWR engines from its facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., as well as chassis engineering support from its state-of-the-art facility in Salisbury, N.C.(MWR)(5-22-2012)
#56 Over-The-Wall Crew wins pit crew award: The #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota over-the-wall crew members have won the first-quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, which is determined by a vote of each team's crew chief and given quarterly to the top-performing pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The #56 crew's performance during the season's first-quarter cemented driver Martin Truex Jr.'s solid start to the 2012 season. Truex Jr. has mounted four top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 10.7 through 11 races. "The NAPA Know How pit crew has done a great job this year," said Truex Jr. "They've been very fast, but most importantly, they've been consistent. Anytime I come in on green or yellow flag conditions, I can count on those guys to hold their own and make no mistakes." Crew chief Chad Johnston's over-the-wall pit crew consists of Brian "Hootie" Chase (jackman), Eric Maycroft (front tire changer), Craig Curione (front tire carrier), Brandon Hopkins (rear tire changer), Adam Mosher (rear tire carrier), and Wes Evans (gas man). Greg Miller is the team's pit crew coach. The NAPA Know How pit crew was presented its award prior to Saturday night's NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(NASCAR)(5-22-2012)
MWR rewards crew with helmet stickers: Few weeks in the 10-month NASCAR Sprint Cup season put as great of a spotlight on pit crew members as the next two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At Michael Waltrip Racing, success is measured on the crew helmets. This year MWR began awarding helmet stickers like college football teams. The #55 helmets carry Aaron's Lucky Dog stickers, the #15 crew earns 5-hour ENERGY bottle decals and the #56 team receives NAPA Battery logos. "I'm a big fan of Ohio State football and have always liked the way the coaches reward big plays with buckeye stickers on the helmets," said MWR's pit coach Greg Miller. "We wanted to do something to reward the guys when they do something special on the crew." Miller awards stickers to each crew member for the following:
· A race with all stops under 13.49 seconds.
· Action "above and beyond" the normal job.
· A pit stop that moves the car into the top 10.
· Car retains the lead during a pit stop.
· At least two spots gained on pit lane while in the top 20.(MWR)(5-16-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing Fan Fest May 23rd: Michael Waltrip Racing will hold its sixth annual Fan Fest at its race shop in Cornelius, N.C. on Wednesday, May 23. MWR NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer will sign autographs from 1-3 p.m.
Up to 300 wrist bands for each driver will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 21 in the MWR team store. A wrist band is required for an autograph. Wrist band distribution is limited to one band per fan per day until all bands have been distributed. No purchase required to obtain a wrist band.
To guarantee an autograph from all three drivers, express passes to all autograph lines will be available for all fans who purchase more than $100 in merchandise from the team store on May 23. Team business partners plan to bring interactive displays and SiriusXM Radio will broadcast from MWR. Music, a free poster, prizes and the MWR transporters will also be part of this year's event. Food will be available for purchase. Due to out-of-state commitments, Waltrip and Brian Vickers will not be present. Michael Waltrip Racing is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. The team's race shop and team store will be open to the public throughout the day. More info at michaelwaltripracing.com.(MWR)(5-12-2012)
Truex Jr., MWR talk new deal: Team owner Michael Waltrip said on Saturday at Kansas Speedway the organization is negotiating with #56-Martin Truex Jr. and primary sponsor NAPA on an extension. Truex Jr.'s contract expires at the end of the 2012 season. "NAPA is very happy right now," Waltrip said. "Everybody would be very happy to go into 2013 just like this." Truex said he never felt like he was on the hot seat coming into this season, and he's confident he will be with MWR long-term. "I know where I stand with my race team, Michael and (co-owner) Rob (Kaufman)," Truex said. "There was never a part of me that said I need to step it up, I need to do better. I know I've always gotten everything I possibly can get out of my equipment. I feel like they know that, too."(ESPN)(4-21-2012)
Drivers with most points, last 10 races: #56-Martin Truex Jr. credits the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization for his impressive start to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He's especially appreciative of the chance to work with teammate #55-Mark Martin again. The veteran driver's feedback may be an asset to Truex this weekend as he tackles one of his toughest tracks, the Kansas Speedway. Coming off of a pole and his fourth consecutive top-10 finish at Texas, the two-time Nationwide Series champion is a serious contender for a Chase berth this year. In seven races, Truex ranks fourth in the standings. Since MWR completed its major overhaul 10 races ago, only one driver has outperformed Truex - the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart:
Points in Last 10 Races
1) #14-Tony Stewart, 372
2) #56-Martin Truex Jr., 355
3) #16-Greg Biffle, 354
4) #17-Matt Kenseth, 347
5) #99-Carl Edwards, 345.(MWR)(4-18-2012)
Special NASCAR Unites schemes to run UPDATES & Images: as part of the NASCAR Foundation's NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races including #47-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #99-Carl Edwards at Charlotte in May;
#2-Brad Keselowski (no image), #29-Kevin Harvick (no image) and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July;
#16-Greg Biffle at Michigan in June. See links to the images of the schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery page.(4-9-2012)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced the launch of "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute," a patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families. NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe - and from splitter to spoiler - in red, white and blue to highlight the summer season, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27) and Daytona International Speedway (Independence Day Weekend, July 5-7). Additional activities related to the six-week initiative will take place between these "tent-pole" events, including retail programs and other sponsor promotions.
To launch the initiative, the "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute" paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was revealed today in the nation's capital for more than 30,000 children and their guests attending the 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House.
Among those NASCAR drivers already committed to "NASCAR Unites - An American Salute" paint schemes are Earnhardt, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, #2-Brad Keselowski and #99-Carl Edwards. As part of the program, NASCAR and The NASCAR Foundation will work with charities to fund initiatives that support military families. A social media promotion utilizing a #NASCARUnites hashtag will highlight track activations as well as patriotic activities from teams, broadcast partners and sponsors.(NASCAR)
AND In the Nationwide Series, #88-Cole Whitt, will run in the Kentucky race in June and #7-Danica Patrick will run in the Nationwide race at the Daytona race in July. See images of the cars on the #7 NNS team paint schemes and #88 NNS paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)
Truex Jr. to trade rides for a bit today: UPDATE: On Wednesday, March 7, at Noon, two of the hottest drivers in two of America's most popular forms of motorsports will give each other a ride to remember on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. First up, NHRA's most recent winner, Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, will give NASCAR's #56-Martin Truex Jr. a ride down zMAX Dragway in a two-seat dragster provided by Roy Hill's Drag Racing School. After Truex rides shotgun down the Bellagio of drag strips, he'll return the favor to Brown by taking him for some hot laps around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway in a two-seat stock car provided by the Richard Petty Driving Experience.(CMS)(3-7-2012)
UPDATE: NASCAR's Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing and NHRA's Antron Brown, driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, met Wednesday at zMAX Dragway and Charlotte Motor Speedway to experience a little of each other's motorsport. The two New Jersey natives started at zMAX Dragway, the only four-lane all-concrete drag strip in the country and the host of the upcoming NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 13-15. Brown, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader, took the wheel and Truex strapped in behind him in a two-seat dragster provided by Roy Hill's Drag Racing School. "The first time, I wasn't really ready for it. It all happened kind of fast, so I didn't get to look around or see anything," Truex said of his ride with Brown. "The second time I made sure I kept my head around and it was a lot cooler. You really feel that pressure and you're really accelerating, but at the same time it almost feels like it takes a long time to get down there. It's almost like your mind puts it in slow motion because you're scared... It's crazy." After assaulting the Bellagio of drag strips, the duo moved across the street to try out Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truex took the wheel of a two-seat stock car provided by the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the two logged some laps on the famous 1.5-mile superspeedway.(CMS)(3-8-2012)
Truex draws the pole for Bud Shootout: #56-Martin Truex Jr. will lead the 25-car field to the green flag in the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Truex secured the top starting position through the random selection process that took place Friday night at the SPEED Stage. The starting lineup was determined at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party during which the participating drivers selected a Budweiser bottle featuring a number behind the Budweiser label. The number serves as the driver's starting position. Truex was the 18th driver to participate in the annual raw party and will make his second start in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night.
"It's just cool," Truex said after picking the pole position. "I haven't been in this race in a few years. I absolutely hated being down here (those years) and watching this race, so it's cool just to be in it and to get the pole is icing on the cake. My car was really good today in practice," he continued. "I was happy with it. It drove really good. I heard a lot of guys were having some handling issues, but my car was great, so I'm pretty excited about it. (My car) had good speed and was able to stay up in the front of the pack in the draft. We're looking forward to tomorrow night."
The defending winner of the Budweiser Shootout, #51-Kurt Busch, will start from the sixth position while Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevy drew the 22nd starting spot.(Budweiser PR)
See the starting lineup on the Bud Shootout Starting Lineup (pdf).(2-17-2012)
Truex Jr. Hopes To Re-Sign with MWR: #56-Martin Truex Jr. knows it will take a trip to Victory Lane in order to keep sponsor NAPA - and perhaps in order to keep his job at Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex enters the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season faced with increased pressure to perform, in perhaps a now-or-never situation with a contract that expires at the end of the year. "I'm not here to float along and hang around if I'm not competitive," Truex said Monday night. "I know what I can do in a race car. Michael knows what I can do in a race car, and everybody here knows what I can do in a race car. And that's all that matters to me. This year is obviously very, very important with NAPA - keeping them happy and hopefully keeping them here. For now, it's just about getting it done. We can do it. There's no doubt in my mind." Truex refused to call 2012 a "make-or-break season" because, he said, every season is that way. There's always pressure to perform, always expectations. But the 31-year-old driver acknowledged this season is crucial in deciding the future for both himself and MWR. "I mean, I want to be here next year," he said. "We both have to wait and see how all that goes. But I feel good about this year. I really do. Time will tell."(SB Nation)(1-25-2012)
MWR drivers testing:#56-Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA Racing team are in Florida for five days of testing at two tracks as planning continues for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Truex and new Michael Waltrip Racing teammates #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Mark Martin begin testing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. It's the first time the drivers will work together focusing on MWR's short-track program. The team then moves to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for NASCAR's Preseason Thunder that includes testing Thursday through Saturday in preparation for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(1-11-2012)
MWR could buy Red Bull Racing assets: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing is negotiating to purchase the assets of the former Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. A spokesperson for the team declined to comment on the story, but multiple sources say Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull are close to an agreement on the sale, awaiting NASCAR approval for an owner point swap that would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the 2012 Daytona 500. MWR finished 18th and 28th in Sprint Cup owner points with drivers #56-Martin Truex, Jr. and #00[now #55]-David Reutimann last season, and holds two guaranteed starting spots for the upcoming Daytona 500. MWR is expected to field three cars in the Great American Race for Truex, #15-Clint Bowyer (no points) and #55-Mark Martin, using one of the guaranteed starting spots held by Red Bull Racing. Those points would transfer to MWR in the event of a sale. Michael Waltrip could also compete in the 2012 Daytona 500, but is believed unlikely to do so in an MWR Toyota. Sources say MWR is also interested in acquiring cars and equipment from Red Bull, including fabrication equipment and a shaker rig. If included in the sale, the former Red Bull Racing building would likely be used by MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman to house his RK Motors muscle car restoration and performance company, as well as his personal collection of classic and vintage automobiles. Red Bull Racing closed its doors last month, after failing to find a buyer to continue operations.(Sirius Speedway)(1-3-2012)
Miller to serve as Truex's crew chief: Scott Miller, MWR's new executive vice president of competition, will serve as #56-Martin Truex's interim crew chief for the remainder of the year. Miller began his duties at MWR this week.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(11-3-2011)
NASCAR Confiscates Windshields: UPDATE: NASCAR confiscated the windshields from Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 and #56 Toyotas and from the #47 Toyota for JTG-Daugherty Racing on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. Each team was forced to switch out the windshield for a new one after they were found to have unapproved modifications. Any penalties for the infraction will come next week. The #00 and #56 cars went out and paced the final practice session.(Motor Racing Network)(10-21-2011)
UPDATE: NASCAR has issued penalties to the #00, #47 and #56 teams that compete in the Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway. All three cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-3.2.1A (unapproved modification to an approved windshield) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. Crew chiefs Rodney Childers (#00), Frank Kerr (#47) and Chad Johnston (#56) have each been fined $50,000 and have been suspended from the next four Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Car chiefs Steve Channing (#00), Raymond Fox (#47) and Anthony Lunders (#56) have likewise been suspended from the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Additionally, Bobby Kennedy, director of competition for Michael Waltrip Racing, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Car owners Rob Kauffman (#00), Tad Geschickter (#47), and Michael Waltrip (#56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Drivers David Reutimann (#00), Bobby Labonte (#47), and Martin Truex Jr. (#56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship driver points.(NASCAR)(10-25-2011)
AND: "We are very disappointed in this entire situation and we will not appeal NASCAR's ruling," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "We look forward to racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend and getting ready for next season." Team chief race engineer Brian Burns will assume the role as crew chief for the #47 Toyota Camry replacing Frank Kerr and Bob Bechstein has been named car chief replacing Raymond Fox following penalties assessed by NASCAR.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(10-25-2011)
AND: "Michael Waltrip Racing is ultra-sensitive and very serious about working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy. We do not condone this type of activity and as such we will take appropriate internal corrective action immediately. We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions; therefore, we will not appeal." The following team personnel moves will take effect until NASCAR reinstates the suspended crew members:
#56 Team: Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will serve as interim crew chief in place of suspended crew chief Chad Johnston at Martinsville. Allen Mincey, #56 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Tony Lunders
#00 Team: Bobby Kennedy, executive vice president of race operations, will serve as interim crew chief in place of Rodney Childers. Chris Hall, #00 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Steve Channing.
Both crew and car chiefs will return to their positions following their suspensions.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(10-25-2011)
MWR settles suit with former engineer: Michael Waltrip Racing has settled a lawsuit with a former engineer who left the organization for a Formula One team before his contract allegedly ran out. MWR had sued Mike Coughlan and the Williams F1 team in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, asking for an unspecified amount in damages for breach of contract and, against Williams, interference with the contract. In a filing Tuesday, attorneys on both sides asked the court to dismiss the case. No reason was given for the request, but Michael Waltrip Racing confirmed the settlement.(SceneDaily)(10-21-2011)
JTG Daugherty ending alliance with MWR? UPDATE - Bowyer in, JTG out?: Michael Waltrip Racing currently fields two teams with #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #00-David Reutimann, and supplies cars for #47-Bobby Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing out of its Mooresville, N.C., shop. Sources said JTG Daugherty Racing may cut its tie to MWR but remain in the sport with Labonte as its driver in 2012.(ESPN)(9-16-2011)
UPDATE: MWR has paved the way for a third full-time entry [with Clint Bowyer] by ending its affiliation with JTG Daugherty Racing, which had housed its #47 entry at the team's headquarters as part of its alliance. Team owner Brad Daugherty plans to keep his organization on track next season but is currently looking at options to align with another team, with speculation of a partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports. Daugherty's affinity to and admiration of Petty has even included the former college basketball and NBA star wearing the #43 throughout his career. An association as NASCAR business partners would further that connection. RPM was close to launching a third team with Bowyer before contract talks with the driver broke down so the desire to expand is evident.(CBS Sports)(9-22-2011)
UPDATE 2: JTG Daugherty Racing hasn't decided on an affiliation for next season, and retaining its relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing is still an option, team owner Tad Geschickter told Sporting News on Thursday. Geschickter said his phone had been "blowing up" in the wake of a report on CBSsports.com that MWR had terminated its relationship with JTG Daugherty, which fields Toyotas for Bobby Labonte, and speculation in the same story that JTG Daugherty might align itself with Richard Petty Motorsports. "I haven't talked with Richard Petty Motorsports," Geschickter said. "There's no truth to that at all." Geschickter said that, to his knowledge, MWR was still exploring its capacity to supply cars to JTG in light of possible expansion.(Sporting News)(9-23-2011)
UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing is preparing to add a driver but not a team. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said Friday he hopes to have a deal completed with driver Clint Bowyer and a sponsor within seven to 10 days. The move will not necessitate the addition of new personnel or expansion, however. MWR has been providing resources for the JTG Daugherty team - in essence a third team - but that relationship will end at year's end. Beginning next season, all three Cup teams operated out of the MWR shop will be owned by the organization.(Charlotte Observer)(9-24-2011)
Scott Miller leaving RCR: UPDATES: Scott Miller and Richard Childress Racing have parted ways. Miller had served as director of competition since 2003 for RCR, whose drivers are Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard. After a short sabbatical, sources said Tuesday, Miller will fill a similar role at Michael Waltrip Racing. Kent Day will serve as interim director of competiton for RCR until a permanent replacement can be found. Miller was in his second stint with RCR, having initially worked with the team from 1997 to 2001.(Fox Sports)(9-20-2011)
UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has promoted Kent Day to interim director of competition from his previous position as technical director with the 12-time NASCAR championship winning organization. Former RCR director of competition Scott Miller has taken a position with another motorsports organization."Kent brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position as interim director of competition at Richard Childress Racing," said Mike Dillon, RCR's vice president of competition. "As technical director, he played an integral role in the overhaul and turnaround of RCR's competition department beginning in mid-2008. He already understands our competition philosophy and will now play an even more important role in RCR's on-track success.(RCR)(9-20-2011)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing named industry veteran Scott Miller as executive vice president of competition effective at the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Miller has served in several roles throughout his 16-year stint in NASCAR, most recently as director of competition at Richard Childress Racing. Miller has been a winning crew chief and has repeatedly guided teams into the Chase for the Sprint Cup from his management role. Miller will manage all competition aspects, including design, manufacturing and engineering, as well as the technical relationship between Toyota Racing Development's resource facilities in Salisbury, N.C., and Costa Mesa, Calif.(MWR)(9-21-2011)
Truex Jr. helps family: #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. will make more than 200 pit stops during the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, but he served as crew chief for one of the most memorable pit stops of his career on Thursday in Richmond, VA. Truex Jr. visited Carroll's Auto Services in Richmond to supervise the pit stop for the Nanette Smith family whose car had fallen out of repair. Truex and the shop employees put on new NAPA brakes and made some general repairs to the 10-year-old vehicle. Smith, 48, is waging a six-year battle with breast cancer and the accompanying radiation and chemotherapy treatments while she and husband Lee raise their two teenagers. During the day, she's a hospice worker helping families deal with the emotions of illness - something she's learned to master through her own experience. Even with an incredible attitude and good medical coverage, Smith and her husband Lee admit the out-of-pocket expenses to fight cancer "cost a small fortune." The money the Smiths would have spent on Thursday's work can now go toward paying some of the bills that Smith said, "don't stop coming just because you have cancer." That wasn't lost on Truex. "They may have it rough right now but they are rich when it comes to attitude," said Truex, who will host the Smiths in his pit before Saturday night's race. Thursday's pit stop for the Smith family will be the first of about 56 similar events in Richmond kicking off the NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE program that runs through October. Richmond NAPA AutoCare Centers will accept nominations from customers of deserving families or organizations that could use a brake repair and vehicle tune up similar to the work done for the Smiths.(MWR)(9-10-2011)
NAPA and Truex good at MWR thru 2012: Martin Truex Jr. has had an underwhelming tenure in his nearly two years at Michael Waltrip Racing. While the #56 NAPA Toyota has run well off an on since Truex Jr. joined the team before the 2010 season, bad luck has ruined many of those runs. With crew chief Pat Tryson replaced with Chad Johnston, the team has turned its season around and now has one more top 5 (two) and one more top 10 (eight) than he had all of last year. But just as the team turned the bend, rumors surfaced about longtime Waltrip sponsor NAPA possible defecting to Joe Gibbs Racing, if Carl Edwards were to leave Roush Fenway Racing for that team. Nothing happened, though, and Truex Jr., in his 6th full Sprint Cup season, says he never worried about being swept away in the Silly Season. "No. To be honest with you I never really got involved in that. NAPA has been behind us and stood behind MWR," he said in an interview with News/Talk WSB Monday. "We obviously have a deal through next year, so it was never really a worry of mine. To be honest, it was really a non-issue for all of us."(News/Talk WSB)(8-31-2011)
MWR's VP of Competition to leave at end of 2011: Steve Hallam has accepted the role of Managing Director of Walkinshaw Racing overseeing both the Toll Holden Racing Team, and the Bundaberg Racing Team. Hallam is currently Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR, and prior to that was Head of Race Operations for McLaren Racing. Hallam will start his role at Walkinshaw Racing at the beginning of 2012 once he completes his current commitments with Michael Waltrip Racing (v8supercars.com.au).(8-19-2011)
Pediatric Care Center in NJ to be named after Truex Jr.: The Pediatric Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center will carry NASCAR driver and township native Martin Truex Jr.'s name. The Pediatric Care Center improvement is part of a $20 million emergency room expansion at the hospital. An October fundraiser, the Martin Truex Jr. Great Causeway Challenge, will raise money for the center, which includes six patient rooms. The multimillion-dollar expansion will triple the size of the emergency room, double patient capacity and add the new pediatric center. The expansion is expected to be completed at the end of 2013. The hospital treats over 40,000 patients each year. The event features a duathlon, starting with a 30-mile bike ride across the Route 72 Causeway Bridge to Ship Bottom, north to Barnegat Light and back, followed by a 10K run. The 10K race is sponsored by the Southern Ocean Medical Center staff, Bleiman said. There will also be a 5K run, a 5K walk and a children's 1-mile fun run. More info at martintruexjrfoundation.org.(Atlantic City Press)(8-16-2011)
Cal Wells leaves Michael Waltrip Racing: Michael Waltrip Racing and Calvin Wells have mutually agreed to part ways it was announced by co-owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip. The separation is effective immediately. "We want to thank Cal for his strong contribution to getting Michael Waltrip Racing to where it is today. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors, " said Kauffman. "We plan to go forward now with the solid management team that is in place, and bring MWR to the next level."(MWR) Wells had been Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the team. Before joining MWR he was owner of PPI Motorsports' #32 Cup team.(7-25-2011)
MWR to field full time Grand Am team in 2012: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing will field a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series entry in 2012. Team owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman recently drove a Ferrari 458 Italia in the 24 Hours of Lemans endurance event, and sources say thay are in Daytona Beach, FL, today talking with Grand Am boss Jim France about adding a sports car effort to their two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation. Executive Vice President for Competition Steve Hallam will reportedly oversee the effort.(6-29-2011)
Richmond International Raceway
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:00pm/et
Born in APRIL
24 Hermie Sadler, 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
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin, Amanda Ebersole
5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page
10 Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Glenn Bobo, Tim Flock, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Jabe Thomas, Debra Adamczyk
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch
15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner
16 Josh Walker
17 Mike Shiplett, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pennell
18 Mike Motil
19 Jody Ridley, Dario Franchitti, Danny Culler
20 Tony Stewart, Dave Despain, Steve Portenga, Eric Norris, AJ Heister