Contract Status: Driver: was 2017 but will leave as MWR will cease operations after 2015; Primary Sponsor: Five Hour 2017 moves with Bowyer, Peak Motor Oil moves with Bowyer; Manufacturer: 2015
current news on Clint Bowyer and the moves to #15 HScott Motorsports page
Michael Waltrip Racing shop now for sale: A real estate company has posted signs at Michael Waltrip Racing proclaiming that the shop is "Available." A sign on the building and one near MWR's signboard lists a phone number for inquiries with Lincoln Harris, a full-service real estate company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Cornelius, North Carolina, shop - located about 30 minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway - features two buildings and sits on 11.479 acres. A sign proclaims the facility has more than 142,000 square foot. No price is listed. NBC Sports' calls to Lincoln Harris were not returned Friday. The Mecklenburg County Assessor's office lists the shop's value as $12,807,200 - based on an assessment in 2011. Public records show that the property had a tax bill last year of $137,909.73. That bill was due Sept. 1, 2015, but public records list it as delinquent and notes that interest began accruing Wednesday. Waltrip converted a former movie theatre into his race shop and officially opened the facility to the public in May 2007.(NBC Sports)(1-10-2016)
MWR's pit crew coach hired by Stewart-Haas: Pit coach Walt Smith has been hired by SHR to help out in the pit department for the upcoming 2016 season. We know that sounds vague but we haven't heard his exact role yet. We do know he's been hired just not sure on weather he will take over as the Cup coach, adviser, recruiter, or all of the above. Walt is a coach that has seen plenty of years on pit road. He is a very accomplished coach and has spent years with HMS, DEI, EGR, and MWR. As far as the current situation at SHR, they are in good shape.! From what we know, coaches Joe Piette and Kevin Sharpe are both staying there and why wouldn't they? They've won championships with Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick while also winning Mechanix Wear back to back pit crew MVP awards with their #4 and #41 teams.(Pit Talks)(12-9-2015)
Pemberton leaving NASCAR UPDATES: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton will leave the organization at the end of 2015. With a racing career that has spanned five decades, Pemberton joined the sanctioning body in August of 2004. Since that time, he has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition and been credited as a key component in bridging the gap between the sanctioning body and the racing community.
"Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR," said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. "He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We're extremely grateful for his many contributions."
During Pemberton's tenure, NASCAR has seen a great number of technical and safety advancements. Against the backdrop of the massive NASCAR Research & Development Center, Pemberton's Competition teams overhauled the inspection and rules process and procedures for all vehicles racing in the national series. He oversaw the transitions of NASCAR to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and to race fuels with blended Sunoco E15. Among the largest undertakings under his purview was the launch of the acclaimed Generation 6 style car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. That style just completed its third season of on-track racing.
"I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR," Pemberton said. "This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport. I look forward to the next challenge." Pemberton will help in the transition to a new competition lead for the balance of the year.(NASCAR)(12-1-2015)
UPDATE: The "Boys, have at it" era of NASCAR is over as Scott Miller replaces Robin Pemberton as senior vice president of competition, effective immediately. Miller, 58, spent the last four years as the Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing. In his first season with organization, he helped transform a mid-pack team to championship contenders, as both Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. transferred into the 2012 Chase. Five of the MWR's seven Cup wins were earned during Miller's tenure. Over the last two decades that Miller has developed solid relationships throughout the garage. He's earned the respect of his teammates and competitors alike for his personal yet pragmatic approach to racing. Miller also understands the challenges current racing organizations face with the multitude of changes and alterations directed from the sanctioning body.(Motorsport)(12-2-2015)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that Scott Miller has joined the organization as Senior Vice President of Competition, responsible for managing all competition efforts related to technology, inspection, rule development and officiating across NASCAR's wide portfolio of racing. Miller will report directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, and work closely with Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn. All three are based at NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. Miller most recently served as Executive Vice President of Competition at Michael Waltrip Racing. There he was responsible for managing all areas of competition. During his four-year tenure, MWR teams qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012, 2013, and 2015.(NASCAR)(12-2-2015)
Clint Bowyer comments on wrecking at Homestead: #15-Bowyer comments on being involved in a wreck in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on lap 45 of the race:
Q) What happened to take you out of the race?
Bowyer: "I don't know what in the hell happened to our car. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (turn) 2 there and Ty (Dillon) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big time there. Unfortunately ended - you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over."(Toyota Racing)(11-22-2015)
Last Race for Michael Waltrip Racing: Sunday's 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway marks Michael Waltrip Racing's final weekend of full-time competition. Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, began the team in the mid-1990s at his house in Sherrill's Ford, N.C., competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In 2007, MWR began fielding full-time Sprint Cup entries as the flagship team for Toyota Racing Development, USA. MWR is the only original Toyota team still in competition. MWR owns seven Sprint Cup victories and four Chase berths. Going into Homestead, MWR cars have made 780 starts, earned seven poles and posted 73 top-five finishes. MWR victories by driver: Clint Bowyer, 3, David Reutimann, 2, Martin Truex and Brian Vickers with one each. In the XFINITY Series, MWR won four times with Waltrip behind the wheel and once with David Reutimann. MWR also fielded entries in eight truck series races. Sunday also marks the end of a partnership with 5-hour ENERGY and MWR. The company has been a proud partner of the team and Bowyer since the driver joined the organization in 2012. Bowyer earned three wins, 27 top-five and 69 top-10 finishes with 5-hour ENERGY on board his Toyota. PEAK and AAA Mid-Atlantic also enjoyed a multi-year relationship with MWR and Bowyer. Peak also supports Bowyer's dirt late model teams. Maxwell House joined with the organization earlier this year and sponsored Bowyer in four Sprint Cup races (MWR)(11-22-2015)
Peak and BlueDEF sponsoring Bowyer for two races in 2016: HScott Motorsports announced it has reached an agreement with Old World Industries (OWI) to sponsor Clint Bowyer's Chevy during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with brands PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid. The OWI brands will be featured as primary sponsor at Watkins Glen International and Chicagoland Speedway, and as an associate sponsor for all remaining races during 2016. Bowyer and PEAK have been in partnership since 2012, a relationship which includes Clint Bowyer Racing's dirt track racing teams. The PEAK Motor Oil and PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant brands that have adorned Bowyer's cars since 2012 are products in the portfolio of Old World Industries LLC., a company specializing in Automobile and Heavy-Duty vehicle products manufacturing and marketing. BlueDEF is a complete brand of diesel exhaust fluid and equipment, which reduces diesel engine emissions and increases fuel mileage. BlueDEF is the No. 1 DEF brand in the United States. 5-hour ENERGY will serve as Bowyer's primary sponsor for 24 races in 2016. Scott said there are still primary sponsorship opportunities open on the car for 2016.(HScott Motorspots)(10-21-2015)
Bowyer to announce plans, to the #51 in 2016 UPDATE: HScott Motorsports is expected to announce next weekend at Dover that Bowyer will drive the #51 Chevy in 2016. The announcement will come after Wednesday's press conference, which will detail Bowyer's eventual move to Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy in 2017.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Tony Stewart will be stepping out from the behind the wheel of the #14 at the conclusion of next season. Sponsor 5-hour Energy will continue with Bowyer at HScott.(Motorsport.com)(9-27-2015)
UPDATE: HScott Motorsports announced that Clint Bowyer and 5-hour ENERGY will join the team for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Bowyer and 5-hour ENERGY have been partners for four seasons, winning three races and finishing runner-up in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Starting with the Feb. 21, 2016, Daytona 500, Bowyer will race Chevys for HScott in a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. "I am very thankful for the continued support and commitment from 5-hour ENERGY, and for Harry Scott Jr. for putting this opportunity together," said Bowyer. "My relationship with everyone at 5-hour ENERGY is something I hold with great value. There have been some real unknowns for my career in the past couple of months, but I'm happy that my future is secured and full speed ahead." HScott Motorsports has competed full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for two seasons, fielding Chevrolets with Hendrick Motorsports support. HScott Motorsports team owner Harry Scott Jr., said this is a watershed moment for his young organization. "This is a really important step for HScott Motorsports and one I felt our team needed to take to elevate to the next level of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition," said Scott. "Clint is a proven winner and Chase participant. For us to compete at a higher level we needed all of the right elements to come together. I believe those elements came together with the driver in Clint, sponsorship from 5-hour ENERGY and the extended relationship with Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas. This opportunity has brought an unprecedented level of excitement to our entire organization."(HScott Motorsports)
AND: Harry Scott says they have not decided if they will have two or three teams next season. Bowyer is likely to replace Justin Allgaier in the #51.(10-2-2015)
Stewart announces retirement after 2016 season; Bowyer to replace in 2017: After 17 years competing at NASCAR's highest level, Tony Stewart has decided his 18th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be his last. The three-time series champion will retire following the 2016 season, whereupon Clint Bowyer will take the wheel of the #14 machine beginning in 2017. Since 2009 Stewart has held the dual title of driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He co-owns the team with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. Stewart will join Haas as a fulltime owner in 2017, with Bowyer being Stewart's hand-picked successor to drive the No. 14 car.
"This is a moment every driver eventually comes to terms with, and I know this is the right decision for me," said Stewart, owner of 48 Sprint Cup victories, 15 of which have come with SHR. "2016 will be my last year in a Sprint Cup car, but it's not my last year in NASCAR. I love this sport and I love being a part of it, and instead of seeing me in a firesuit on Sundays, you'll see me in a pair of jeans, and maybe even a pair of khakis. I plan to make the most of my final year as a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and part of that is to ensure that when Clint Bowyer takes over the No. 14 in 2017, he has everything he needs to win races and contend for the championship. I'm very comfortable with this decision and what the future holds for me and Stewart-Haas Racing."
Bowyer is an eight-time race winner in the Sprint Cup Series and finished second in the 2012 championship standings.
"Today is an incredible opportunity and I'm proud and excited to take over the #14 in 2017," said Bowyer, the 2008 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. "Whether it's racing him on Sunday or watching my dirt late model teams race at his famed Eldora Speedway, Tony and I share the same passion for racing. That makes this opportunity a perfect fit for me. I appreciate everything he's done for me and the sport of auto racing. These are big shoes to fill, but boy am I ever looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a champion's ride, and have Tony there with me along the way."
Haas, who formed Haas CNC Racing in 2002 before partnering with Stewart to create SHR in 2009, embraces the transition.
"Tony Stewart has been a game-changer for Stewart-Haas Racing and for motorsports," Haas said. "I always had an incredible amount of respect for what he could do with a racecar - any racecar, as he's been successful in everything he's ever driven. In getting to know Tony Stewart the businessman, I found a very smart person with excellent people skills. He's extremely valuable to our race team and a strong voice in our sport. His passion for motorsports is unmatched, and I'm proud that his future outside of the #14 Chevrolet remains with Stewart-Haas Racing."
The primary partners currently represented on the No. 14 Chevrolet include Bass Pro Shops, Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, Code 3 Associates, Coca-Cola, Jimmy Johns and Haas Automation. Announcements regarding the partnership lineup for the #14 team in 2016 and beyond will be made in the lead up to the 58th Daytona 500 on Feb. 21 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
"I have been blessed with fantastic partners throughout my racing career, and I take a lot of pride in the lifelong friendships formed and the great business successes we've been a part of," Stewart said. "I never would've accomplished all that I've achieved in racing if it weren't for the support of corporate America. They helped a kid from Columbus, Indiana, reach his dreams and I'll be forever grateful."(Stewart-Haas Racing)
Statement from NASCAR Chairman Brian France: "When I think of Tony Stewart, unmatched passion and a pure love of the sport come to mind. He has won championships and millions of fans. But he has given back so much more, and that's what I admire most. Today's news was bittersweet for all, but we know Tony will continue to be a big part of our sport in his roles as a team and track owner. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Tony for his many years of excellence and competitiveness, and wish him nothing but the best in his final season as a driver in the Sprint Cup Series."
Statement from Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports for Chevy: "Tony Stewart has been a key member of our racing family for nearly 20 years. The majority of his race wins and championships-regardless of series-have been with our brands. Not only is he a championship-winning driver and team owner, he is an entrepreneur and gives back to numerous charities. Through his Tony Stewart Foundation, he pours his heart into causes that support children, animals and others in need of assistance. We value our long-standing partnership with Tony and look forward to joining his fans in celebrating his final season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."(Chevy PR)(9-30-2015)
Stewart to retire after 2016 season UPDATE2: Tony Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion, plans to retire after the 2016 season, team and industry sources told ESPN's Marty Smith. Mired in one of the worst seasons of his career at 25th in the standings, Stewart will run one final season before handing over the driving duties of the Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Chevy to Clint Bowyer, sources said. #15-Bowyer is driving for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2015, but that team is closing operations after the season. He does not currently have a ride for 2016. Stewart won the Sprint Cup in 2002, 2005 and 2011. He missed out on the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year after posting zero wins and two top-10s leading up to the Chase. The 45-year-old Stewart is tied for 13th in career victories with 48. Stewart, who has 582 career Cup starts, missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season with a broken leg suffered in a sprint car accident. He missed three races last season after the sprint car he was racing struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who had approached Stewart's car on foot at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.(ESPN.com / Motorsport.com)(9-27-2015)
UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a news conference for 1:00pm/et on Wednesday at the team's Kannapolis, N.C., headquarters, at which time driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart is expected to announce that 2016 will his last season behind the wheel. Gene Haas, Stewart's partner, will attend the news conference, the team confirmed.(FOXSports.com)(9-28-2015) UPDATE2: Tony Stewart will step away from Sprint Cup competition following the 2016 season, NASCAR.com has confirmed from multiple sources. A press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing's North Carolina shop is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to announce the plans, which will include naming Clint Bowyer to drive Stewart's #14 Chevy beginning in 2017. NASCAR.com will live stream the 1 p.m. ET announcement at NASCAR.com/presspass.(NASCAR.com)(9-28-2015)
Truex, Kurt Busch, Bowyer comment on contracts: #78-Martin Truex Jr. and #41-Kurt Busch expect to stay with their current teams, indicating Thursday that their deals are imminent and just announcements await. Neither Truex nor Busch was expected to go anywhere. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone has said it's been the team's intent to re-sign Truex. Stewart-Haas Racing officials have said they have a handshake deal done with Busch. But it still is a rare scenario: Three Chase-qualified drivers (Truex, Busch and Clint Bowyer) enter the opener this weekend without deals announced for next year. "I'm very fortunate I have a great race team," said Truex, who rebounded from 24th in the standings in his first year at Furniture Row to win a race and be 10th entering the Chase this year. "At the end of the day, this sport is all about timing, it's all about being at the right place at the right time. ... There were times last year where I thought, 'Am I ever going to get back to where I once was.' Now suddenly I feel like I'm better than I ever was, and it's kind of an awesome thing. You'll hear an announcement [of an extension] pretty soon. This sport, every year, it gets later and later and later [to get deals done]."
Busch said talks continue with potential sponsors in addition to Haas, whose Haas Automation is the primary sponsor for Busch. "Everything is pretty close," Busch said. "We'll have the announcement soon. It's great to know that the team and myself and everybody is on the same page. ... Everybody is going through the talks and checking the different positions and the temperatures of certain situations. We'll have some things to announce here soon."
The one Chase-qualified driver who appears unsure of what he's doing is Bowyer, who began looking for a 2016 ride last month after Michael Waltrip Racing announced it would cease operations after this season. Bowyer declined to say which teams he still is negotiating with. "We're digging, honestly," Bowyer said. "I'm working on that. I think we're getting close. I'm excited. Holy cow, who would have ever thought in a million years that would happen eight months into a three-year contract? When you sign three-year contracts, that means you put the contract in the desk and you forget about it and you're secure and you're happy and you're good for three years, right? No, that's not right. I've learned that is not correct." (ESPN.com)(9-17-2015)
MWR Points for sale; RCR? Penske?: Before the fire sale begins at Michael Waltrip Racing, team owner Rob Kauffman has isolated a few assets that could bring a handsome price prior to the dissolution of the company at season's end. Among the coveted commodities remaining in the MWR inventory are the points from the #15 and #55 Toyotas. Two organizations that could be interested in obtaining those points are Richard Childress Racing for Ty Dillon and the Wood Brothers for Team Penske protege Ryan Blaney. Team owner Richard Childress said that the organization is still working on Dillon's schedule for next season but acknowledged,"Yeah, we're talking to some people about points in case we run him full-time next year. As of now, we're still in the making. We're still trying to find out the way to go."
Similarly, owner Roger Penske is contemplating Blaney's future. "We definitely want to work something out where we can run Blaney the whole season," Penske said. "Hopefully, a combination with the Woods or something here. We'll just have to see how the whole thing works out."(Motorsport)(9-11-2015)
Bowyer comments on 2016: #15-Clint Bowyer met with the media at Richmond and one question was about his 2016 plans.
Q) How much progress have you made toward where you will race in 2016?
Bowyer: "I think first of all it's very humbling, the phone calls. As soon as the news comes out that you're not going to have a future at your present employment, obviously you're nervous and you're worried about what that means for yourself or your people and with everything. It's humbling the people that have reached out and been interested in me, but truth be told man, look what we're in the middle of. Timing is good that it's ahead and not the end of the year that you're finding this out, but nonetheless it's pretty crunching times right here and it's like I told them, 'I don't want to use the word back burner, but let's just take a timeout right here for a couple weeks and take care of business.' That's kind of what we did this week. I stayed at the farm, Lorra (Bowyer) went to New York City with her girlfriends for a couple days and me and little man chilled out. I used a little help. Grandma showed up quite a bit, I ain't going to lie to you. She made sure I was under control and then she would go."(Toyota Racing)(9-11-2015)
Bowyer to Stewart-Haas? in 2017? or to HScott Motorsports? UPDATES: the biggest question is Clint Bowyer, 36, who controls his future today as much as he did when he left Richard Childress Racing to join MWR. With no apparent openings at major teams for next season, Bowyer might need a placeholder ride for a year - much like Kasey Kahne when he drove for Red Bull Racing before joining Hendrick's four-car juggernaut. After that, Bowyer would have more options. The garage has been buzzing for a few months about the possibility of Bowyer joining Stewart-Haas Racing, but to replace who? Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick is locked in. Danica Patrick just signed a multi-year contract extension. And co-owner Tony Stewart said Tuesday that Kurt Busch's extension will be done "soon." That could leave Stewart, who is struggling to be competitive and has his best years behind him at 44. Could Bowyer drive at SHR in 2017? SHR spokesman Mike Arning told USA TODAY Sports the team wasn't commenting "out of respect for the situation involving Michael Waltrip Racing and its personnel." In the meantime, it doesn't sound like hooking up with Ganassi for one year is an option for Bowyer if Kauffman buys into the team, as the owner stated he planned to. Kauffman said he and Bowyer "agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues."(USA Today)
AND Perhaps the dissolution of MWR was the ticket Bowyer needed to move on. Despite entering the first year of a three-year renewal to drive the No. 15 Toyota, a dissolution of MWR would certainly enable Bowyer to pursue others options. In fact, he and Kaufmann have already agreed to go separate ways. If the rumor mill is right, Bowyer is headed to HScott Motorsports. Richard Petty Motorsports made Bowyer an offer several years ago and is interested in him again. But this is why HMS makes sense: Despite Harry Scott Jr. playing coy at Watkins Glen, following a salmon fishing trip with Bowyer in British Columbia, multiple sources say HScott Motorports could offer Bowyer a ride until a premiere seat opens up. Bowyer has been mentioned as the heir apparent for the #14 Chevy once Tony Stewart retires.
Initially, the assumption was that Bowyer would join Kauffman in his move to Chip Ganassi Racing. However, the current plan for CGR in 2016 is to run just two teams. Bowyer's statement on Wednesday offered no indication of his future plans, other than it would not include Kauffman or MWR.(Motorsport)(8-20-2015)
UPDATE: Claire B. Lang reported on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Friday evening that Clint Bowyer would move to HScott Motorsports in 2016 and then on to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace Tony Stewart.
UPDATE 2: Nate Ryan reported on NASCAR America Saturday afternoon that HScott Motorsports says they will remain a two car team next season and #46-Michael Annett will return. The team said they are still working on Justin Allgiaer's deal for 2016.(9-5-2015)
UPDATE 3: Amid reports that Clint Bowyer might join its organization next season, HScott Motorsports says it won't be adding a third Sprint Cup car in 2016. The team expanded to a second full-time Chevy this season with Michael Annett joining for Justin Allgaier, who has driven for Harry Scott since 2013. Citing an unnamed source, SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Claire B. Lang reported Friday night that Bowyer would race for HScott Motorsports in '16 and move to Tony Stewart's #14 Chevy in 2017. Bowyer's future is in flux with the impending closure of Michael Waltrip Racing.Asked for comment, HScott Motorsports released this statement:
"Harry continues to work with Justin Allgaier and BRANDT Professional Agriculture on their contracts for next year and beyond. As far as a car count for next year, HScott Motorsports will be a two-car operation. Michael Annett will continue to drive for the team next year."
While it remains possible that Allgaier and Brandt might not return, which would open a potential spot for Bowyer, it seems there also are signs that HScott Motorsports might not have room for a new driver next year.(NBC Sports)(9-6-2015)
MWR begins process of ceasing operations: More than 200 people will lose their jobs in Cornelius as Michael Waltrip Racing Management Co. winds down its operations. According to a letter sent to the N.C. Commerce Department, 217 employees will be laid off in stages between Nov. 1 and April 15. The company said it is liquidating its assets, which is expected to be completed by mid-April. Michael Waltrip Racing is ceasing operations at its facilities at 20310 Chartwell Center Drive and 19340 Liverpool Parkway, both in Cornelius, according to the letter. Companies that employ at least 100 workers are required to file a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) to the state's Commerce Department when they plan to lay off between 50-499 employees, if those workers make up at least one-third of their workforce. Charlotte businessman and race team owner Rob Kauffman said in August he was cutting his investment in Michael Waltrip Racing and closing the company amid poor results, both financially and on the racetrack. The organization hasn't won a race in more than two years. Heather Shaw, the company's director of human resources, could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts Wednesday.(Charlotte Observer)(9-3-2015)
NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell addresses MWR situation: The landscape in NASCAR shifted last week when Michael Waltrip Racing announced that it would end full-time competition in the Sprint Cup Series following the 2015 season. MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman, the former investment banker who gave MWR an influx of finanical support in 2007, was at the forefront of the decision. On Monday, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell addressed the moves made by Kauffman and MWR that included Clint Bowyer being freed to pursue other deals for 2016 and Kauffman buying into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in late July. "I think in Rob's case we're pleased that he believes in the sport and is willing to make a continued investment in NASCAR, which is a great time for us," O'Donnell said during his weekly interview with NASCAR.com. "As well as Clint Bowyer who is certainly a talented driver who will find a home with a top team. You never like to see anything happen with a race team like this in this case, but again we'll see some things we believe through the manufacturer's support where some other teams may become stronger through all this as well. So a lot still to play out. We're working closely with all our race teams right now to do everything we can to put everyone in an even better position as we head into the 2016 season."(NASCAR.com)(8-24-2015)
Bowyer talks to the press, talks about his future: Michael Waltrip Racing driver #15-Clint Bowyer was made available to the media at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was announced earlier this week that MWR would cease full-time operations after the 2015 season and that Bowyer has been released from his contract and is a free agent for 2016. Bowyer's comments:
Bowyer: "First and foremost, it's a tough time for everybody involved and it's unfortunate. The truth is that we're eight months into a three-year commitment to one another. Had a great four years at this company, a great culture, great personnel, great people at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and I really did enjoy the years that I spent there. That being said, Rob (Kauffman) provided us all of that and invested a lot into this sport. That being said, it's a business decision to move forward on his on his end and that's where our futures for he and I unfortunately just don't align anymore. That's where we were, that's the reason the statement is out. I think the timing behind this, the reason I'm in here right now is that it was very important to me knowing this that we got in front of our employees that have worked their ass off for me personally to make these four years good and successful. I think it was important that they as racers continue to race under this Chase format and compete for a championship in 2015. All the while knowing what their future holds and knowing that they have some security and as much time as possible to look and see what their futures hold for themselves as well. That's me included. There's going to be a lot of questions. I'm sure the next question is what does that mean for the future. That means the future for me is uncertain right now. We've got a lot of work to do, but again the time frame with this and the reason that we're here today is that Rob and I both agree that we owed it to these people to tell them as soon as possible that we worked on this as soon as we got back from the weekend until 11:30 or midnight and got to the conclusion to where we could tell these people as soon as possible. I mean that, it's important. There's a lot of lives at stake, a lot of families and I thought we owed it to them. With that, that's where we are. If you guys (media) have some questions, I don't mind clarifying some things if you need it, if I can, but there's a lot of unknowns at this point."
Q) Were you originally thinking you would also go over to Ganassi?
Bowyer: "Again, it all goes back to where we are in our situation. We're eight months into a three-year commitment. Again, Rob (Kauffman) has invested a tremendous amount into MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and into this sport. That being said, he made a business decision to move forward and that direction as we all know from his previous statements is the Ganassi organization. For my career and me and my future, it's just unfortunate and Rob and I, our futures didn't align anymore. It's as simple as that. It was a mutually agreed upon thing and it was something that was not ugly and it was something that we did professionally and we made our decisions and that's why we're where we're at."
Q) Are you worried about the employees keeping the performance where it needs to be the rest of the season?
Bowyer: "It's very important, these people are people. These employees are real people with real lives with real families and a lot at stake. They're racers just like I am. The racer in you doesn't change the reality side of life and reality is that you need to provide for your family. I thought it was extremely important to me to get in front of that and I owed it to these employees to get this done as soon as possible even knowing where we're at on the bubble and everything in the Chase. I think being honest and being straightforward and doing that for these people in the long run will set them up to make the most out of a difficult situation for us all and that's me included. I need to start actively pursuing my career and that's what I'm doing. The first piece of the puzzle is set on the table and now we have to go to work on all of our behalves. As far as our performance just like you said, I thought it was more dangerous in more mind of making an announcement like we did in Pocono and not saying anything for another month and a half, we owe it to those people to be honest with them and it was not a day later than what we made our agreement that they were told."
Q) What is your relationship with 5-hour ENERGY?
Bowyer: "With 5-hour ENERGY, it's as simple as this - I've worked really hard in my career to have great partners. I've been with a lot of great companies and been a spokesperson for them. The relationships - very proud of the relationship and the partnership that I have with 5-hour, I think we can all agree how could there ever be a better fit to fit my lifestyle and the way my character and everything, I'm all about. It's a great fit. That being said, they're no different than I am. We're back to we didn't see this coming, we're both in a situation where we've got to see what the future holds for both of us and move forward from that."
Q) How much do you feel this stems from Richmond in 2013?
Bowyer: "I don't think it does at all and this is why. I think what happened in Richmond, that's two years ago. Since then Rob (Kaufmann) and everybody, the management has restructured, reorganized and we're a two-car team. We're not a three-car team, we're a two-car team, which by the way was fully funded on my car moving forward. It was again a business decision by Rob to do this and I'm proud to work for MWR and work for Rob. I'm happy for that experience, but to answer your question I just don't and that's because we were a two-car organization. We were setup and moving forward to a two-car organization. It wasn't like we were forced in a weird situation and that's my honest, legit answer to that."
Q) Are you looking to enter a long term or short term deal moving forward?
Bowyer: "Yes, keep talking and I'll keep telling you yes, absolutely. Those are all systems go. Again, it's like these people, these employees and what I'm telling you, that had to happen. You have to get that piece of the puzzle and the factual information on the table as soon as possible so we can all start working on our futures and what that holds. It's as simple as that. It all goes back to Pocono. We're all in this business together right? I didn't have a whole lot to tell you in Pocono and I really, it goes back to the statement at hand and the reason that we're here - what I'm going to have in the future and what that future holds for me will be another announcement and I'll tell you as soon as possible. It's as simple as that. I'm confident in the sport, I love this sport and the sport has been good to me and my family - had a lot of great partners and a lot of great organizations that I've worked for and I see no reason why somebody that works hard and wants it like I do in this sport can't have a job for as long as they want."
Q) How do you and the team achieve the goals at hand knowing what's ahead?
Bowyer: "I have a good team, we're racers. These guys are all racers at heart. After our announcement Wednesday, every single one of my guys and employees at MWR got up and obviously know the future, but my guys in particular these road guys that are on the road with me every week, all of them said, 'Listen, we have a job to do, you get your damn head straight and let's go after this championship and end this on a bang.' That's the fire, the desire and the passion that racers have and you can't take that from any of us. Very proud of my team and the people that were organized around me from day one at MWR and it hasn't changed today. We're going to do just that."(Toyota Racing)(8-21-2015)
Kauffman says MWR will cease operations after 2015 season: Rob Kauffman, an amateur racer who is a highly successful businessman, said Friday he had enough of pouring his own money into Michael Waltrip Racing without seeing results and announced that MWR would cease operations after this season. Kauffman, who saved MWR from closing in 2007 by purchasing half the team from Waltrip, announced Wednesday that the team would not field Sprint Cup cars in 2016. "Michael Waltrip Racing wouldn't have existed through today without substantial and continued financial support from me," Kauffman said Friday before Sprint Cup practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. "From a business standpoint, that didn't make sense any longer. You can't have a top-10 budget and top-10 resources and not be in the top 10 for a sustained period of time. It's a performance-related business. It's all about performance. It's a great sport but a very difficult business model. From a business decision, it just made sense to not go forward with that organization, which is not commercially viable." MWR expanded from two cars to three in 2012 when it added Bowyer, but that lasted only two years after Bowyer and MWR were embroiled in a race-manipulation scandal at Richmond in the final regular-season 2013 race. "Certainly that was a pretty heavy body blow to our organization," Kauffman said. "It caused a big restructuring; 2014 was at some level a large reset year for everybody, also [on the] financial [side]. As we got into the late spring in 2015, from a performance standpoint, the company wasn't where it needed to be, and that kind of forced some decisions and thought processes over the summer." Kauffman wouldn't say whether a three-car organization would have produced better results. "My crystal ball, unfortunately, is not clear," Kauffman said. "In a parallel universe, I'm not sure what would have happened."(ESPN)(8-21-2015)
Statement from Toyota on Michael Waltrip Racing Announcement: "We want to thank everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing for a great partnership and for being part of our 'freshman class'- one of the race teams that helped us enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series nine years ago. Clint Bowyer has been a valuable member of the Toyota Racing family for the past four years, and we will continue to support him, and the rest of the MWR team through the end of the 2015 season. We wish everyone associated with the team the best of luck in the future and we look forward to closing out the season focused on competing for a championship." ~Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A.(Toyota Racing)(8-20-2015)
5-Hour Energy comments on future plans: In a statement released Wednesday, 5-Hour Energy director of communications Melissa Skabich said: "5 Hour ENERGY has enjoyed a great relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer since joining forces in 2012. MWR and Clint have delivered above and beyond with our partnership and we thank them for their dedication. Clint is a great ambassador for our products, customers and retailers. The MWR team and Clint will continue to remain focused on getting 5-hour ENERGY in the Chase. We will make no further comment until we are ready to announce our future plans."(USA Today)(8-20-2015)
Michael Waltrip Addresses MWR News: On FOX Sports 1's NASCAR Ccamping World Truck Series practice telecast Wednesday morning, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) co-owner Michael Waltrip addressed the morning's news that MWR and #15-Clint Bowyer have mutually agreed to separate at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES season and that the organization no longer will field full-time cars in 2016. Waltrip, on the air Wednesday in his role as a FOX NASCAR analyst, shared his thoughts with play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and analyst Phil Parsons. Below is a transcript from the exchange:
Alexander: What more can you tell us as this news is just breaking this morning?
Waltrip: "Well, it's a sad day for MWR obviously. I love the culture we've built there. Our sponsors - they're not sponsors; they're partners. And our employees are our teammates. We just have the perfect workplace, and unfortunately in 2016, we're not going to be racing there. My hope is somebody wants to have a really nice shop full of really cool people that work together well and want to have a race team and we can provide that for them. Rob is going to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing going forward. Rob and I are best buddies. He's done an amazing job of stabilizing MWR in the beginning and then we raced for a championship -- finished second in 2012. So, my heart goes out to all the employees, all the people that worked at MWR. Hopefully, somebody wants to have a team and they can have it right there at our place."
Parsons: A lot of people may say MWR started in 2007. MWR really started behind your house in the garage back in the '90s. How hard is that for you after being in this as an owner for around 20 years now?
Waltrip: "Our first race was here (Bristol Motor Speedway) in 1994 with Jeff Green. We towed in here with Rodney Silver, a flatbed trailer, unloaded our car and ran third that day. And won Nationwide/XFINITY races behind our house and competed in the Cup Series. We made the Daytona 500 with Kenny Wallace in a car we built in Sherrills Ford (N.C.) behind my house. That grew to Michael Waltrip Racing and we raced for a championship, like I said, Chase berths, race wins. I'm thankful. I'm happy. It's a great run that we've had. We'll just see what's next."(FOX)(8-19-2015)
MWR/Bowyer to split at end of 2015; no full-time cars in 2016: Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer have mutually agreed to separate at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Bowyer, currently 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase standings, will be free to pursue other career options in 2016 and beyond. MWR will continue to field the #15 and #55 Toyotas for the remainder of the 2015 season. Team co-owner Rob Kauffman said MWR will not field a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup entry in 2016.
ROB KAUFFMAN: "MWR will race hard and compete for the remainder of the 2015 season. This decision was made after weighing several different options and scenarios. I felt it was important to make an announcement as soon as we had clarity, so that is what we are doing today. I want to thank all of our staff, partners, sponsors and fans for all their effort and support over the years. Clint Bowyer has done a lot for MWR since joining us in 2012 and we appreciate the energy and effort he has given the organization. After many discussions, Clint and I agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues."
CLINT BOWYER: "I want to thank Michael, Rob and everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that made these past four years special. After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn't align but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner. I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come but for now we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver on and off the track."
MICHAEL WALTRIP: "Rob joined MWR in 2007 and has helped give us the resources to build a competitive race team, and in 2012, Clint Bowyer took us to the doorstep of a championship. From where MWR started behind my house in Sherrill's Ford to winning Sprint Cup races, poles and earning Chase berths, I am proud of what we accomplished. My family has been a part of NASCAR for almost five decades and I plan on being a part of it for years to come. I would not have had the opportunity to start this journey without so many great partners, sponsors and employees and I want to thank each of them for making Michael Waltrip Racing a reality."(MWR)(8-19-2015)
Sabates says no deal with Kaufman yet: When Rob Kauffman announced at the beginning of August he had purchased an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, many in the NASCAR community wondered what it meant for the future. Kauffman is also a co-owner in Michael Waltrip Racing, but it was made clear the two organizations would operate separately throughout the rest of the year. A source close to the situation indicated this weekend at Michigan International Speedway the deal between Kauffman and the Ganassi organization is far from done, something Felix Sabates confirmed to FOXSports.com Sunday morning. "Basically we're talking. We don't have anything concrete," said Sabates. "We'd like to do something with (Kauffman), because I think he can add a lot to our team. We don't have anything signed." With MWR running Toyotas and Ganassi running Chevrolets, Kauffman has a unique predicament on his hands. The source indicated MWR has already been cut off by Toyota in all areas, with the exception of providing motors. Sabates could not speak to how Kauffman will handle the manufacturer situation, but said believes Kauffman eventually will have a decision to make. "I don't think it will work for him to have both (Chevrolet and Toyota teams), but you never know," he said. Sabates said expanding to a three-car organization has no bearing on the on-going discussions with Kauffman, but the overall goal is to expand the team. "Our goal is to expand either next year or the following year," he said.(Fox Sports)(8-17-2015)
Kaufmann talks to the press: A brief statement by Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman raised more questions than it provided answers about the future of MWR. Earlier in the week, a statement released by MWR indicated Kaufmann was buying into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, fueling speculation that driver Clint Bowyer and sponsor 5-Hour Energy would move to Ganassi. Standing behind the hauler of the #55 MWR Toyota driven by David Ragan, however, Kauffman gave the impression that co-owner Michael Waltrip was somehow involved in the process and that there might be synergy between the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizations. "First and foremost, the thing that's important to realize is that Michael Waltrip and I co-own Michael Waltrip Racing together," Kauffman said. "We're business partners and great personal friends, so any idea that I'm leaving or taking anything is actually misplaced. What we're actually doing is integrating the businesses, trying to get the most competitive product on track, do the best for all of our partners-that's really our focus. It's a competitive business, as everybody knows. It's competitive on track as well as off track." Kauffman indicated there are many details still to be determined. "In terms of our plans, whether we have three cars, four cars, two roofs, one roof-that's all yet to be determined, and how we do in the 2015 season will help determine whether that happens," Kauffman said. "If we do a great job, that'll be one outcome. If we do a less great job, probably another." Kauffman stepped into the hauler without taking questions from the throng of reporters clustered outside.(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-2-2015)
Clint Bowyer Statement: #15-Clint Bowyer made a statement Friday at Pocono and answered a question about MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman purchasing part of Chip Ganassi Racing:
Bowyer Statement: "This isn't what any of you guys want. You need to bear with us. There's obviously some change on the horizon. I got the same release you guys did. We've got a new sponsor on the car this weekend. It's a big deal for us. We've been working on this a long time. Got a lot of momentum going into this - we're 20 points out of the Chase and we've got to finish this year strong. Like I said, there's a lot of work to be done in the future and we're all working on it and when I have something to tell you guys you all know me and I'll tell you."
Q) Did you find about the news from a statement?
Bowyer: "No, I said you read the statement that I did. There's obviously change on the horizon and we're going to have to work on the future and see what that looks like, but for right now we're focused on 2015, getting Maxwell House in victory lane this weekend and getting in this Chase. We're close and this can happen and these guys got to stay focused, I've got to stay focused and if we do our jobs we can get in this Chase and compete for a championship."(Toyota Racing)(7-31-2015)
Statements from MWR, CGR, Sabates, Waltrip & Toyota:
Statement from Michael Waltrip Racing: "Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The companies will continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season. They are also currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 season and beyond. More details will follow in due course".(MWR)
Statement from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates "We confirm that Rob Kauffman has agreed to acquire an interest in the team. Further discussions regarding the 2016 season and beyond are underway."(CGR)
Felix Sabates Statement to SXM NASCAR "I'm not going anywhere. This is about making our team stronger, a three car team is stronger than a two car. But the rumors that Rob is buying me out are not true, my last race will be five years from September 9th. I will be 75 years old then and will be done."(SXM NASCAR)
Statement from Michael Waltrip: "My focus is on 2015 and fulfilling the commitment we have made to our partners and Toyota which is placing our teams in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. There are a lot of details yet to be sorted regarding 2016. I will work closely with Rob Kauffman and our sponsors to formulate the best way forward."(MWR)(7-30-2015)
Statement from Toyota on Rob Kauffman Announcement: "We've spoken with Rob Kauffman and understand he has agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Rob has not disclosed the plans for Michael Waltrip Racing past the 2015 racing season. Toyota and TRD remain focused on winning races and championships with our team partners this year." ~Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS)(7-31-2015)
MWR to Chevy? Ragan to return? What about Vickers? UPDATE 3 denied?: What in the world will Toyota Racing's Sprint Cup program look like next year? One persistent, hot rumor features a manufacturer swap of sorts, with Rob Kauffman, currently the principal owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, taking his racing interests and partnering with a Chevy team. Furniture Row Racing is currently eyeing the Toyota camp with an ardor that has progressed well beyond flirtation.
Two potential partnerships mentioned for Kauffman are Chip Ganassi Racing and Richard Childress Racing. Ganassi absorbed Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Martin Truex Jr. into the fold back in 2009. RCR expressed interest in acquiring a minority partner after Chartwell Investments expressed a desire to sell its stake in the company in 2012. Kauffman did not offer a definitive reply when asked about a possible realignment.
Furniture Row's Barney Visser has been more forthcoming. The Denver, Colorado-based team owner hopes to make a manufacturer decision in the next few weeks to accommodate a possible restructuring with Toyota for next year.
Although FRR currently receives no financial support from Chevrolet, the team's move could open the door for Kauffman to enter into a technical alliance with RCR, with whom the #78 currently shares data. However, sources told Motorsport.com that Ganassi appears to be the frontrunner for Kauffman's capital at this time.
Michael Waltrip Racing's driver lineup likely hinges on Aaron's continued support with the #55 team. Both Kauffman and Clint Bowyer, who is in the first year of a three-year contract, are high on driver David Ragan. Aaron's has been a sponsor of Michael Waltrip's since 2000 but has yet to renew with MWR. A decision on the company's involvement could come in the next six to eight weeks.
Last week Brian Vickers expressed interest in returning to racing. Given the unpredictability of Vickers situation, Kauffman isn't sure whether they could accommodate the driver. "...The most important thing right now is his health. I haven't really had a conversation with him regarding coming back to racing and the like. It's a big medical issue that I haven't been involved with up until now.," Kauffman said. "He loves racing, so I'm sure he does (want to return), but I think it would be a challenge to try and figure something out--but I would never say never."(Motorsport)(7-23-2015)
UPDATE: David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday that the manufacturer has its sights set on more teams making the 2015 Chase while also looking ahead to its 2016 lineup. Michael Waltrip Racing with Clint Bowyer's #15 team and David Ragan's #55 are the manufacturer's two highest-ranked drivers without wins, sitting 15th and 24th respectively in the standings. Based on points, the #15 driver is currently in the provisional Chase Grid, but if Busch makes the top 30, Bowyer will be bounced without a win. As the manufacturer attempts to add those MWR teams to this year's Chase, Wilson wasn't certain about the organization's future with Toyota.
"We are talking to a number of organizations about the future, and certainly in the near-term, we're not sure what Michael Waltrip Racing is going to do," Wilson said. "They've yet to announce their plans. Certainly we have had a rich history in the sport together. We got our butts kicked together in 2007, our first year, and you forge very close and personal relationships when you have those trials together. Whatever they decide to do, we certainly wish nothing but the best for them."
Wilson has acknowledged discussions with #78 Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser about the Denver-based team's potential manufacturer move from Chevrolet to Toyota. But the TRD president suggested that Furniture Row, like Toyota itself, was focused on its 2015 Chase efforts. "Regarding Furniture Row Racing, again they haven't announced their plans for next year certainly," Wilson said. "I imagine they're focusing on getting Martin Truex well-positioned in the Chase as well and competitive."(NASCAR.com)(7-29-2015)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing principal Owner Rob Kauffman is close to purchasing Felix Sabates' stake in Chip Ganassi Racing, according to multiple industry sources, which would cause Kauffman to drop his affiliation with MWR if the sale is completed. Kauffman, who has been with MWR for eight years, would take on Sabates' minority stake in the team, while CGR principal Owner Chip Ganassi would continue to retain majority control, according to sources. It is unclear if Sabates will hold onto a small stake to retain his affiliation with the team or if he will be dropping the affiliation entirely.
Sources said that Kauffman would take one of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries at MWR - the #15 Toyota driven by Clint Bowyer - with him to CGR. Because MWR's sponsors, including 5-Hour Energy, Aaron's, Peak, AAA and Maxwell House, have yet to determine their next move, it is unclear whether the operation, which also has the #55 currently driven by David Ragan, would form an alliance or merge with another team, or pursue some other option. CGR execs had no comment; MWR did not respond to e-mails by presstime.
Ganassi Racing currently has two Sprint Cup entries - the #1 McDonald's / Cessna Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray and the #42 Target Chevy driven by Kyle Larson. The combined three-car entity will remain with Chevrolet, which is the current supplier to CGR in the Sprint Cup Series. Kauffman also is chair of the Race Team Alliance, which was founded last year. Whether his role with the RTA will be affected is unclear.(Sports Business Daily)(7-29-2015)
UPDATE 3: Felix Sabates, part owner in Chip Ganassi Racing's NASCAR operation, disputed a published report Wednesday by Sports Business Daily claiming Rob Kauffman was close to purchasing Sabates' stake in the team. "I am not going anywhere," Sabates said. "I am having too much fun. Plus, I have unfinished business. I need to sit at the head table in Las Vegas."(Motorsport)(7-30-2015)
Maxwell House sponsoring MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing and Maxwell House announced a partnership which names the iconic coffee maker as primary racing sponsor for five Sprint Cup races during the 2015 season and the prestigious DAYTONA 500 in February 2016. The 10-month agreement officially kicks off on Aug. 2 with the Pennsylvania 400 at the Pocono Raceway. Clint Bowyer will drive the #15 Maxwell House Toyota at Watkins Glen International, Pocono Raceway, Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in the second half of the 2015 season. Waltrip, a two-time DAYTONA 500 champion, will carry the Maxwell House colors at Talladega Superspeedway in October and in the 2016 DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Maxwell House is no stranger to the racing circuit, having partnered with some of the most well-known drivers in professional racing between 1989 and 2003, including Michael Waltrip. Other elements of the sponsorship will include special appearances by the Michael Waltrip Racing team, exclusive behind-the-scenes access for select fans, special in-season and grocery store promotions and sampling at select races. Maxwell House is also an associate sponsor of the remaining Sprint Cup races.(MWR), see an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(4-10-2015)
MWR announces extensions with Bowyer, Pattie and 5-Hour Energy & a baby: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has signed multiyear contract extensions with sponsor 5-hour ENERGY, driver Clint Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie to race its #15 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series starting in 2015. The trio joined MWR in 2012 and has scored three wins and earned two Chase berths including a runner-up finish in 2012. "This is big news for all of us," said Bowyer, an eight-time winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. "It creates great stability and excitement about what the next few years can bring. MWR is my racing home and continuing this relationship with 5-hour ENERGY was a high priority. It's time to put the paperwork in a drawer and focus on winning."
"Since the first day 5-hour ENERGY, Clint and Brian showed up at MWR, we have been a contender for wins and championships. I am so thankful that we get to continue and add to what we have built," said co-owner Michael Waltrip. "I am most happy for the employees of MWR who are the foundation of everything we do."
The familiar red, black and yellow brand colors of 5-hour ENERGY will adorn the #15 in 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup events each year starting in 2015. Additional primary partners on the #15 include PEAK and AAA Mid-Atlantic. "We have clearly aligned ourselves with one of the most competitive and energetic drivers in racing and we felt it was really important for us to continue the equity we have built over the past three years," said Scott Henderson, president of 5-hour ENERGY. "We love Clint, the people at MWR and the sport of NASCAR. The extension decision was also based on our racing program's success with our sales team and all of our participating retailers." Bowyer celebrates his 300th start Sunday at Kansas Speedway.(MWR). Bowyer also announced on his Twitter that he and wife Lorra are expecting a baby.(5-5-2014)
The decal ran by Michael Waltrip Racing cars (#15, #55) at Martinsville
on March 30th to honor Bobby Waltrip, Darrell and Micheal's brother
MWR cars paying tribute to Bobby Waltrip: Bobby Waltrip, the middle brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner and FOX announcer Michael Waltrip, died of natural causes last Sunday. The middle Waltrip formerly managed Darrell's race team and was best known as a promoter and announcer of go-kart races in both the American Karting Association and the World Karting Association. To memorialize Bobby, the two Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas of #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Brian Vickers are carrying the name "Bobby Waltrip" over their respective driver's doors, as well as decals honoring his memory this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(FoxSports)(3-29-2014)
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Kevin Swindell, Ben Rhodes, Jim Reed, Gene Comstock, Cannonball Brown, Jimmy Thompson, Dave Terrell, Gary Sain, Wayne Jacks, Sean Corr
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Ralph Earnhardt, Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Timmy Hill, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer, Kevin Sharpe, Mike Warnecker
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Noreen Hofmann, Bun Emery, Barney Shore, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo